Have you ever found yourself grazing the pantry, looking for something to snack on, just minutes after finishing a meal? This feeling of not being fully satiated can be frustrating, especially when you can’t figure out if you’re actually hungry, or just eating out of boredom. There are many reasons why you could still be feeling hungry after meals. Hunger is your body’s natural cue telling you that it needs more food. It’s not something to be brushed off or ignored. Instead, it’s a good idea to examine your lifestyle and eating habits to determine the root cause of your hunger.

Luckily, many of the causes of hunger after meals can be solved by implementing simple adjustments to your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at why it happens and simple things you can do to solve it!

Why It Happens and What To Do

  • Lack of sleep – Getting enough quality sleep is vitally important for our health. Sleep affects the brain, immune system, and almost every tissue in our body. It is required in order for our body to function properly. Sleep is also closely connected with appetite control. It helps regulate ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone. So if you’re sleep-deprived, you may feel hungrier than normal. In order to regulate your hunger, try and get at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Not enough protein – Protein plays an important role in appetite control. It helps you feel satisfied and fuller for longer, without having to eat more, by reducing your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. When you sit down for a meal, make sure you have a good balance of healthy carbs, protein, and fat.
  • Feeling stressed – Excess stress is correlated with an increased appetite. Stress eating kicks in when your levels of cortisol increase. Cortisol is a hormone that has been shown to promote hunger and food cravings.
  • Not enough fiberHigh fiber foods keep hunger well managed, because they take longer to digest than low fiber foods. In addition, “a high fiber intake influences the release of appetite-reducing hormones and the production of short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to have fullness-promoting effects.” Try adding foods such as oatmeal, flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, and oranges into your diet to keep your hunger regulated.
  • Eating too fast – It takes about 20 minutes from the time you take your first bite of food, for your brain to send out signals of fullness. If you are rushing through a meal, you may not have given your body enough time to realize that it’s full. Avoid eating while distracted or watching TV and try eating slower at your next meal.
  • Diet lacks fat – Incorporating healthy fats into your diet plays an important role in keeping you full. This is because fat has a slow gastrointestinal transit time. In other words, t it takes fat longer for your body to digest. Try adding some healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts into your diet.
  • Dehydrated – We all know that drinking water is important and good for our health. However, it is likely that most of us aren’t drinking enough of it each day. Not only is water vitally important for our overall health, but it also plays a role in our appetite. Many times when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty. Before you reach for a snack after finishing a meal, try and drink a glass or two of water and wait and see if you’re hunger pains disappear.

The Science

Dr. Eric Berg shares his thoughts on why people may still be feeling full directly after eating a meal. First, he walks us through a process called insulin resistance. He explains that some people are not able to properly absorb nutrients into their bodies. This can cause your body to feel hungry even after eating. Another reason you may not be satisfied after eating is that your diet is low in nutrients. When you’re eating a diet full of nutrients, you’re less likely to have food cravings, according to Dr. Berg. He says to focus especially on minerals such as potassium and magnesium. He also recommends increasing the amount of healthy fats in your diet.

The Takeaway

Feeling extra hungry now and then is natural. It’s all about being intuitive with your body and listening to what it needs. How much water you’re drinking, how much sleep you’ve had, how much you’re exercising, what kinds of food you eat, and the nutrients you’re getting, are just some of a whole list of things that can affect your appetite. Many changing factors are affecting your body daily, and it’s best to take a look at your overall routine for optimal health.

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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