A question i have recieved numerous times over the years is, “i never feel satisfied after eating”. This is especially related to a plantbased diet.
This is something i have felt before… where you feel a physical fullness and not really that you are hungry, but you aren’t satisfied. Something is missing.
And the fact is… there most likely is something missing from your diet in total which is giving you that feeling of not being satisfied.
Many people who ask this question i have noticed are either 1) eating very restrictive diets with very little food, or 2) eating big portions but alot of vegetables either raw or cooked.
To feel satisfied after a meal it is not just about eating a huge volume of food or feeling physically full, but it is about getting in all the food groups and even different textures and tastes help with satisfaction.
Example, if you eat a raw food meal that is mostly salad and watery vegetables you will be lacking in both healthy fats and protein and even relatively low on carbohydrates and salt (unless you season with salt). So even if you feel full from the huge salad you ate, you haven’t actually gotten alot of energy into you and neither have you gotten energy from all the macronutrients.
And the same goes if you eat a monomeal example just fruit, or just potatoes, or even eating a simple meal like beans and rice may leave you feeling unsatisfied but full. And that is because you are lacking both in macronutrients but even different tastes and textures that can help satisfy you.
So first off… eating a monomeal or rawfoodsalad from time to time is not a problem, somedays you just want a fresh salad for a meal or you just want to eat fruit. You don’t have to have all tastes, textures and macronutrients in each meal. The important thing is what you do overtime. So even if you just eat fruit for a whole week or just raw food for a whole week it is “ok”… maybe not the most optimal nutrition and in the long term can cause issues with nutrient deficiencies, digestive issues or huge cravings which i will talk more about below.
If you are eating restrictevly in some way, whether it is retrictive in food groups or restrictive in calores, or both… eventually you will begin to get cravings. You won’t feel sastisfied after a meal.
So if you are in this situation, my best recommendation is to:
1) Eat varied with foods. Eat from all food groups meaning you get carbs from example oats, beans, lentils, whole grain bread and pasta, rice, quinoa and the list goes on
2) You get protein from ex: tofu, seitan, tempeh, beans, lentils, peas, oats, soy protein etc
3) You get fat from healthy sources such as: avocado, nuts, seeds, rapeseed oil, olive oil
Eating more regular meal times and not eating huge amounts of low energy, high volume foods such as salad/raw vegetables, and instead making sure to actually eat foods that provide more energy and different flavours can give you more satisfaction after a meal.
Remember that fats provide you with energy which is needed for a healthy body, but also help you feel full for longer. Not to mention it adds flavour to your meals. (Read more about why you need fat here)
And protein is important for your whole body and even to help you feel full (which may not be the actual problem when you feel full but not satisfied. However, protein can also help you feel more satisfied after a meal as it adds essential nutrients and energy to your meals) (More about protein here &food combining as a vegan )
And carbohydrates provide energy, nutrients and fiber and can leave you more satisfied than if you example eat zoodles instead of noodles or use cauliflower rice instead of rice . By cutting out carbs you also cut out important vitamins and minerals and you lower your energy intake which can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry. Of course… for some situations maybe cutting down on carbs a little or doing 50/50 rice and cauliflower rice or 50/50 zoodles and noodles maybe beneficial, but completly cutting out carbohydrates for a long period of time is not recommended. Post about: carbs and why we need them
And lastly… adding more textures to your meals can help with satisfaction, as well as combining sweet and salty. Granted, not everyone likes sweet and salty in the same meal… but sometimes if you eat a very sweet meal you may notice you crave something more savoury and salty afterwards. Thoiugh this is individual, not everyone gets salty cravings after a sweet meal. However, note… constantly having sweet cravings can be a sign of not getting enough energy or carbohydrates, or maybe you are not getting enough sleep. (Post: Constantly craving sweets and chocolate )
So, to end this post. Look over your diet and how you eat….. are you lacking in a food group? Are you eating high volumes of food but very little energy? Is there a certain taste that is lacking from your diet (salt, sweet, bitter, sour, umami)?
Hopefully this post helps you and don’t be afraid to change your diet or way of eating and see if that works better! If you constantly have cravings or you never feel satisfied after eating, then you need to make a change to your diet or look over how you eat and see if something is missing!
Other posts that may be relevant: