eating disorder dietitian discusses why you never feel satisfied after eating
  • May 12, 2023

Why Do I Never Feel Satisfied After Eating? | Imbodi Health Eating Disorder Dietitian Clinic

Have you ever found yourself finishing a meal, only to feel dissatisfied and craving something more? If so, you’re not […]

Have you ever found yourself finishing a meal, only to feel dissatisfied and craving something more? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with never feeling satisfied after eating, which can feel frustrating.

This article will go into detail about why you may find yourself struggling to feel satisfied after eating and strategies to help you overcome this.



Fullness vs satisfaction

It’s important to know that feeling full isn’t the same as feeling satisfied. Fullness is a physical feeling that tells the body it has had enough food. When we eat enough food, our bodies release hormones that signal to the brain that we are full (1). However, fullness alone does not necessarily lead to satisfaction. One may feel physically full, but still crave something more.

Satisfaction, on the other hand, is more complex and subjective. It involves the emotional and psychological response to the food eaten. This can be influenced by factors such as the taste, texture, and presentation of the food. It can also be influenced by your mood or surroundings (2).

 While we aim to feel physically full and mentally satisfied from a meal, this may not always happen. Let’s deep dive and talk about why you may feel full but not satisfied.


eating disorder dietitian discusses why you never feel satisfied after eating


Are you actually eating enough?

One of the most common reasons people don’t feel satisfied after eating is simply because they’re not eating enough.


How do you know if you are not eating enough? Ask yourself if you resonate with the following signs:

  • Constant hunger (3)
  • Dieting (always choosing the lowest calorie option)
  • Low energy levels (3)
  • Feeling tired and fatigued (3)
  • Difficulty concentrating (3)


If any of this sounds familiar, it could be a sign you’re not eating enough. So, what does eating enough mean?

Ultimately, the right amount of food is going to be different for everyone. This is because we have different requirements to fuel our bodies. These requirements will vary depending on your age, biological sex, height, weight and activity levels (4).

For some, knowing their caloric requirements may be helpful. For others, knowing these numbers may not be beneficial e.g. if you are sensitive to calorie counting or going through eating disorder recovery.


How can you tell if you’re eating enough?

Eat often – We use the rule of 3’s: 3 meals, 3 snacks, eating every 3 or so hours.

Listen to your body – When you feel hungry, allow yourself to eat something. Being in tune with your hunger and fullness cues can be beneficial to ensuring you’re eating enough.

Unfollow unhelpful social media accounts – social media is rampant with unsolicited dietary advice. Often, this advice comes from unqualified people. ‘1200 calorie what I eat in a day’ videos can spread harmful narratives that everyone can ‘thrive’ off minimal calories and can influence people to chronically under-eat. Instead, follow accounts that celebrate fuelling your body, like an eating disorder dietitian at Imbodi Health.

Talk to a professional – If you are struggling to know whether you are eating enough, speak with a health professional such as an eating disorder dietitian to discuss your personalised requirements and strategies to achieve this.

Are your meals nutritionally balanced and satisfying?

A balanced meal that includes protein, carbohydrates, and nourishing fats can help promote feelings of satisfaction and fullness while also providing the nutrients needed for overall health and wellbeing.


eating disorder dietitian discusses why you never feel satisfied after eating


Building satisfying meals

As mentioned before, when building a satisfying meal we want to aim to include a combination of food groups:


Protein – known to be the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it can help you feel fuller for longer. This is because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and fats.
It also helps to regulate the hormones that control hunger and fullness (5).

Carbohydrates – provides a source of energy and also triggers the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can contribute to feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Carbohydrates also contain fibre which helps to keep us fuller for longer and to keep our digestive system healthy. Carbohydrates are often found in wholegrains, legumes, fruits and vegetables (6).

Fats – contributes to feelings of satisfaction during a meal, as they slow down the digestion process and help to keep you feeling full for longer. Additionally, fats are important for the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Also they provide a rich and satisfying flavour to foods (7).


build balanced meals to help you feel more satisfied after eating


So, how can you tell if your meal is nutritionally balanced?

We like to use the plate model.

This model is a good template when building any meal, at any time of the day. The healthy plate model looks like this:

  • ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables (green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, tomato, capsicum etc) and/or fruit (berries, oranges, apples, kiwi fruit)
  • ¼ plate of carbohydrates or starchy vegetables (breads, rice, pastas, potato, sweet potato, carrot)
  • ¼ plate of protein (meats, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, lentils)
  • A small amount nourishing fats (olive oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters)


To help you implement this strategy, here are a few examples of nutritionally balanced meals using the plate method.


Breakfast – eggs on toast

  • Eggs/baked beans (protein source)
  • Toast (carbohydrate source)
  • Cooked mushrooms, spinach and grilled tomato (non-starchy veg, fibre)
  • Avocado/olive oil to cook eggs or vegetables (fats)


Lunchburrito bowl

  • Rice (carbohydrate source)
  • Beans, chicken, beef, shredded tofu (protein source)
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion, corn, cucumber (non-starchy veg, fibre)
  • Cheese/sour cream/avocado (fats)


Dinnerstir fry

  • Noodles/rice (carbohydrate source)
  • Tofu/fish/chicken (protein)
  • Broccoli, bok boy, onion, capsicum, mushroom (non-starchy veg, fibre)
  • Cooked in sesame or olive oil (fats)



  • Banana/strawberries/sliced apple or orange (fruit, fibre)
  • Yoghurt (protein source)
  • Nuts (healthy fats)


Eliminating entire food groups from your diet can lead to a reduced range of food options which can result in mealtimes becoming boring and unsatisfying. This may cause you to crave foods from the restricted food group, leading to feelings of deprivation.

Additionally, when you cut out entire food groups, you may miss out on important nutrients that are essential for your health.



Are you allowing yourself permission to eat all foods? 

Allowing yourself permission to eat all types of food can be essential in feeling satisfied after mealtimes. When we restrict certain foods or entire food groups, it can lead to feelings of deprivation and/or bingeing on the restricted food.

For some, you may be struggling to know if you are allowing yourself permission to all foods. If this is you, reflect and think if you relate to any of the following:

  • Don’t eat a certain food group because of the calories
  • Replace your rice with cauliflower rice or pasta with zoodles (zucchini noodles) because you don’t want to consume carbs
  • Choose a salad without no protein or fat source (to keep calories low)
  • Ask for no dressing or sauces on meals when eating out
  • Don’t eat fun foods in fear that you will binge


If any of these resonate with you, you may be struggling to allow yourself permission to all foods. Working with a professional, like an eating disorder dietitian may be beneficial in working through your personal restrictions and overcoming them.

Additionally, it’s important to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and to honour your cravings without judgement. When we allow ourselves to eat what we truly feel like, we are more likely to feel satisfied after eating.


dietitian discusses why you never feel satisfied after eating


How can you feel more satisfied after eating?

There can be many reasons for you not feeling satisfied after a meal. Here are some strategies to increase satisfaction at mealtimes:

  • Eat meals that are nutritionally balanced –it may be useful to use the plate method to ensure you are including a variety of foods at mealtimes.
  • Eating enough volume of food/not undereating – as previously mentioned, undereating can lead to low energy, chronic hunger and dissatisfaction when eating. Ensure you are eating enough food to fuel your body.
  • Allow yourself permission to eat all foods – not restricting yourself and allowing yourself to honour cravings without judgement.
  • Prepare meals in ways that are more desirable – this may include roasting veggies instead of steaming them, using seasonings, sauces and experimenting with new recipes.



There are many factors that contribute to satisfaction when eating. Whether it’s eating enough, eating balanced meals or preparing meals in ways you enjoy, these all contribute to feeling satisfied after a meal.

If you’d like to learn more, you can book in with an online eating disorder dietitian for a free 15-minute discovery call to discuss how we can help you feel satisfied after every meal.  


Written by: Student dietitian Leanna Fyffe

Reviewed by: Eating disorder dietitian Jade Wrigley

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