Do you find you’re still hungry after eating a meal?

There are a couple reasons why you might still be hungry. Some of the more common reasons for this are,

    • You’re not eating enough during a meal
    • You haven’t eaten a balanced meal
    • You’ve had an active day
    • You’re ignoring cravings
Some reasons why you still have hunger after a meal.

You Have Not Eaten Enough 

Not eating enough is one of the most common reasons why people are hungry after finishing their meal. 

Remember, the amount of energy your body needs changes from day to day. This means that you may need to eat more food on some days to feel full, while on other days you feel full from less food. 

People trying to lose weight often try to eat smaller amounts of food throughout the day. This can lead to two problems. The first problem is that it creates a “starvation mentality.” Secondly, eating smaller amounts of food can leave you feeling hungry after meals, which often results in snacking and future overeating.

You Did Not Have A Balanced Meal 

This is another pretty common reason why people feel hungry shortly after finishing a meal. If your meal was carbohydrate-based with only a sprinkling of protein and fats, such as a bowl of pasta, then you are likely to feel hungry soon after. 

Proteins can be animal- or plant-based and include foods such as lentils, chickpeas, tofu, eggs, meats and fish. While some sources of fat can include, oils and cheese, as well as some vegetables and fatty fish. 

Adding proteins, fats and fibre to your pasta can help slow down digestion and stop you feeling hungry after meals. When it comes to pasta, adding proteins such as chicken and fish as well as vegetables can help your meal be more filling. 

Including vegetables and protein with your pasta can help to balance your meal, and help you feel full for longer.

You’ve Had a High Energy Day 

Your body’s energy needs change from day to day. Some days, like those slow weekend days, your body will use less energy than others. For the most part, your body will compensate for the unused energy on slow days, and the extra energy on busy days. This means you do not need to consciously adjust the amount of food you eat on a day depending on your activity level. However, on some particularly active days you may find that you’re hungrier than normal. 

Maybe you went for a hike, or tried a new high-intensity workout class, these high-energy activities can leave you feeling a little hungrier than normal. On these days, adding some extra to meals, or including snacks throughout the day can help curb your hunger. 

You Have Not Satisfied Your Cravings 

Feeling full is not just about eating enough and getting all of the macronutrients on your plate. It also encompasses satisfying your cravings. Although you may have eaten a balanced meal recently, you may still be hungry because you have been ignoring your body’s cravings. 

Although we often think of cravings in a negative light, they can be beneficial. In some cases, your cravings are a reflection of your body’s needs that are missing from you diet. 

Other Reasons You’re Still Hungry

Now, there are still other reasons why you might be hungry. It is possible to have eaten enough of a balanced meal, and satisfied your cravings but still be hungry. Some other reasons why your body may be hungry after a meal include, 

  • Medications 
  • Stress 
  • Exercising 
  • Dehydration
  • Thyroid problems 

If you’re continuously feeling hungry after meals, speaking with your doctor or registered dietitian can help identify factors contributing to your hunger, and potential solutions. 

Reasons to Address Your Hunger

Addressing your hunger benefits you (and even the people around you). Addressing your hunger can help to curb your edginess. Some of the hormones (chemical messengers) that are related to hunger are also linked with your mood and ability to concentrate. Studies have found that an increase in gherlin can lead to a decrease in our dopamine levels, which can make it harder to control our anger.

But, addressing your hunger goes deeper than fixing your hangry mood. In fact, there are many health benefits from eating when you are hungry. Eating when you are hungry provides your body with the energy that it needs to do your daily activities. Hunger is one of the ways that our bodies signal the need for more energy. Ignoring our hunger signals, forces our body to rely on energy stored for “a rainy day”. Unfortunately, our bodies do not know the difference between starvation, and our conscious decision not to eat. As a result, continuously ignoring our hunger signals, as often done by people trying to lose weight, can trigger your body into a state of starvation where our bodies hold on to energy as much as possible by down regulating our metabolism. 

Our bodies convert the food that we eat into

Finally, addressing your hunger can help you differentiate between your body’s natural hunger and fullness signals. Our bodies naturally produce hormones which signal to the brain that we either need to eat, or we need to stop eating. With eating disorders, these natural signals are overridden by our “willpower” and we lose the ability to properly identify “hunger” and “fullness” signals. 

Tips for Crushing Hunger

There are 3 key elements of a good hunger-crushing snack. They are complex carbohydrates, fats, and protein. 

Together, these nutrients ensure your snacks are balanced and provide your body with the fuel it needs, while also fulfilling your hunger. 

If you need some inspiration, some of my favourite hunger-busting snacks include, 

  • Whole wheat bagel + peanut butter + bananas 
  • Grapes + crackers + cheese 
  • Hummus + veggies 
  • Popcorn + chocolate chips + nuts 
  • Apples + peanut butter + trail mix (or other nuts) 

These balanced snacks are great for your busy on-the-go (or at-home days) and can help you fend off hunger until it’s time for your next meal. Some options, such as trail mix can be a staple that you can keep on you at all times! 

One of my favourite hunger-busting snack combinations for a busy day!

Crush Your Hunger, While Achieving Your Health Goals

Take the guessing out of your health. Book a FREE discovery call and learn how a registered dietitian can help you address your hunger this summer, and still reach your goals! 

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With a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science, Rachel has over 15 years’ experience helping people address their health through nutrition.