It’s a feeling many of us are familiar with, so what on earth is going on?
According to Geraldine Georgeou, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Director of Designer Diets and 40/40/20 founder, there’s a number of factors that could be to blame, and it all starts with a certain morning habit.
1. You skipped breakfast.
We all know we shouldn’t do this, but too often it can get to 11am and we realise we never did eat that muesli or smoothie we’d planned to. Not only will you be feeling very hungry in this instance, but you’ll also mess up your appetite for the rest of the day.
“Skipping breakfast, eating a small size lunch and no formal balanced snack, particularly in the afternoon, can lead to coming home from work starving and running the risk of evening bingeing on sugary foods after dinner,” says Georgeou.
Watch: Dani Venn shares her delicious lamb rendang curry recipe. (Post continues after video.)
2. You’re not snacking right.
Not snacking at all, or not picking the right snacks can cause havoc with your glucose levels which regulate our appetite.
“Not including small health snacks such as reduced fat yoghurt, fresh fruit and nuts or reduced fat cheese and wholegrain crackers in between meals throughout the day can cause glucose levels to rise and fall quickly (instead of being stable) which could stimulate excessive hunger at main meals such as dinner leading to the “nibbles” after dinner,” says Georgeou.
3. You’re dehydrated.
The feelings of dehydration are actually similar to being hungry, meaning it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. If you’re not feeling satisfied after dinner, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 minutes to see if you are still hungry.
Drinking more water throughout the day will also reduce the risk of compulsive snacking or eating when you’re not actually hungry. (Post continues after gallery.)
4. You’re not eating enough throughout the day.
It sounds obvious, but even two big meals might not be enough.
“It is important to eat low GI carbohydrates, balanced with lean protein and good fat meals throughout the day to keep your blood glucose levels steady, avoiding those peaks and troughs,” advises Georgeou.
“You should be aim to eat every three to four hours.”
5. Your dinner isn’t up to scratch.
No, not your cooking skills, but your meal’s ability to properly satisfy you and fill you up.
“If you’re not maintaining a balance of healthy fats, lean proteins and unrefined or including vegetables at each meal you’ll feel dissatisfied, which can lead to a risk of overeating and ultimately weight gain,” says Georgeou.
6. You're not eating enough carbs.
"Many of my patients are consuming meals without some form of carbohydrates, which causes them to feel hungry and lethargic leading to snacking on junk food often late at night," she says.
But that doesn't mean you should be eating piles of pasta with a side of mashed potato each night. (Sorry!)
Georgeou advises including low GI carbohydrates in your meals such as a lean beef steak with baked sweet potato and steamed green beans and broccoli to provide that delicious feeling of satisfaction.
Watch: Nigella Lawson discusses society's obsession with thinness. (Post continues after video.)
7. You're bored.
In the age of hours in front of a screen, this is a major culprit.
"It is very easy to over-indulge when bored as we tend to eat mindlessly either when watching TV or on the computer. It takes our brains roughly 20 minutes before we register that we’re full," says Georgeou.
"Particularly if you're snacking on high saturated fat and sugary treat foods before you know it you can easily have consumed half of your entire calorie intake for the day in one snack so try and be mindful of what you are eating."
Do you find you're always hungry?
Featured image: iStock