This is a common problem I hear people complain about. They feel hungry soon after eating and sometimes even feel hunger all of the time. They may try to do the best they can to eat better, but they find they get hungry soon after eating, which causes them to end up overeating. We will review some of the reasons why, as well as some strategies that can help.
Why do I Feel Hungry After Eating?
There could be many reasons why you feel hungry after eating. You may have physiological imbalances, such as high or low blood sugar, insulin resistance or other issues.
It could be related to stress levels. Some people find they are much hungrier when they are under a lot of stress. Take our stress eating quiz here.
It also could be related to what and how much you are eating or drinking. Certain foods and beverages can make you feel fuller than others.
Hungry After Eating? Try these Strategies
If you are always hungry after eating, try some of the following:
- Get a full workup by your doctor and work on any issues.
It’s important to see if there is an underlying reason for your hunger, such as issues with blood sugar control, insulin resistance or other concerns. There are medications that can help with hunger.
- Stay well hydrated.
If you are not well hydrated, you may be confusing your hunger for thirst and searching for more fluid through food intake.
- Get enough fiber.
If possible, always try to always choose grains in their natural form for more fiber. You could also fill up your plate/bowl with non-starchy vegetables. This can help you feel fuller and more satisfied by bulking up the volume of your meal without causing excess calorie intake.
For additional fiber, some people find success with adding a scoop of powdered fiber or a tablet with 8-16 oz. of water 20 minutes before they eat their meal, to help them feel more full.
- Add some fat.
Some people tend to find a low fat diet to be unappealing and not satisfying. Fat can be part of a healthy diet and adding moderate amounts to your meal may help you to feel more satisfied. Examples include extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish & avocado.
- Make sure you are meeting your protein needs.
Protein is associated with feeling fuller and more satisfied. Pay attention to how much you are eating and see if this may be an area you could work on. For other ways to make sure your nutrition is on point, check out this list of 7 healthy eating habits.
- Limit foods that tend to contribute to hunger soon after eating.
Some people find that certain items actually make them feel hungrier. Many of these foods have added sugars or ultra-refined and processed grains (i.e. snack cakes, candy, cereal, white bread, etc.).
Many times it takes a large volume of these items to make people feel full and due to a spike in blood sugar and insulin release, they may cause hunger soon after eating.
There is a link between exercise and increasing feelings of fullness. Excessive exercise may cause hunger, while moderate exercise is associated with less hunger. For more ideas on what to do instead of eating, check out these 20 ideas.
- Plan ahead and identify food combinations that make you feel more satisfied.
Keep a food journal and make note of when you feel fuller. Repeat those meals or snacks that help you with your hunger and take note of the reasons why they were more satisfying.
- Don’t wait too long to eat!
Some people find that they go long periods without eating and then will eat and become hungry again soon after. This may indicate that your body is not getting enough nutrition.
Fasting can be a helpful tool, however everyone’s needs are different and a regimented fast definitely is not for everyone. If you find that you are waiting too long to eat, experiment with shorter fasting windows to see if this helps regulate your hunger better.
- If you are truly hungry, have something decent.
It’s okay to eat if you are truly hungry, even if you ate a meal within an hour or two ago.
Sometimes it’s better to have a decent wholesome snack and be satisfied, rather than risk a binge.
Have something to drink and a snack that is a good source of protein, fat or fiber (or a combination) to make sure your hunger is satiated.
Be aware that sometimes it takes time for your body to adjust to new eating habits. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately see a big difference in your hunger and satiety levels. Keep trying and experimenting with different strategies. In time, you will find ways to help you feel fuller and more satisfied.