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Eating in Your Dreams – What Does It Mean?

The human brain is one of the most amazing and mysterious things. They process, consider, weigh, evaluate, analyze and remember every event and detail from the moment we awake to the second we fall asleep. Even when in slumberland, our brains continue functioning but they process and pick through what we experienced.

However, there’s a code within those images our subconscious brings to the fore from the unconscious. This means that the elements and themes we see and experience can be literal but most often they are symbolic or metaphorical.

Dreams about eating food are an interesting subject in this regard. If you’ve recently had such a dream, you’re not alone. People throughout the ages have dreamed about food and eating. Because of this, there’s a wealth of meaning and symbolism involved with this scenario.

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The Dreamer Is the Best Expert

eating in dreams

While there will be an exploration of the many expert opinions on the matter, it’s curious that there haven’t been more official studies or research on the subject of eating in dreams. But one thing many people agree on is that this kind of dream is very individual.

This means the dreamer will be the best expert when it comes to interpretation. This is regardless of what the ancients or modern oneirologists have to say on the matter.

Potential Meanings about Dream Eating

So, a dream about eating will come down to what the person believes about food, their behavior around eating, and what their average diet is in real life. Then, this will weigh against the dream experience of eating, how the dreamer felt and if they received nourishment from it, among many other factors.

The meaning of eating in a dream doesn’t necessarily have to be about actual food. It could represent anything such as media/news consumption, religious beliefs, political ideology or something else that could be equally unhealthy. Given the person’s idea about food, the unconscious is making an equivalency with something else.

For instance, some people believe food to serve as energy and take deliberate steps to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet. When they have a dream about gorging on greasy junk food, it could be a sign that the dreamer is mentally ingesting something unhealthy. Such a person might eat healthy food but they consume junk in the way of news, music, or TV.

Alternatively, if someone uses food as a means for comfort during times of sadness and stress, a dream about food might be a negative omen. This will be particularly true if they have a sumptuous feast they see stretched before them on a long table but aren’t allowed to eat one bite of it. There are a host of interpretations for this depending on what’s going on in the person’s life. Generally, though, it could mean the person’s unconscious is literally telling them to go on a diet.

Unconscious Intelligence & Dreaming

Michael Rohde Olson, a Copenhagen-based scientific researcher who’s an expert at “unconscious intelligence” and dreaming has quite a few things to say on the subject of dream eating. He is a world-renowned psychologist who gives speeches and workshops for companies and corporations all over the globe.

According to Olson, food is nutrition in reality but in the world of dreams, food could indicate some sort of mental nourishment, care, wisdom or even strength. The most important aspect to understanding a dream about eating is the context and type of food the dreamer ate.

Feelings & Sensations During Dream Eating

This means how the dreamer feels during the dream will play a huge role in what it means. If you felt good, comforted and cared for, then such a dream reflects a positive and energetic mental state. But if there was guilt involved with the eating or the dreamer felt undernourished, then it may very well reflect the dreamer’s mental health and wellbeing in waking reality.

This will also include the conditions in which the dreamer eats and with whom. Olson makes a note about Jung’s connections of dreams with nourishment in relationship to the mother archetype in a person’s life.

As an example, there are many people who lacked proper daily nutrition during their childhoods. It’s not uncommon for such people to have dreams of their parents feeding them expired milk or rotten food. Therefore, such a dream could indicate a release of the tension or stress involved with a difficult childhood.

What You Eat Is the Key

What you eat in the dream will also carry great significance. But here is where the dreamer’s feelings about food and certain food items will come into the picture to refine the meaning of the dream.

For example, if you’re a vegan and you eat a big, juicy steak in your dream, the implications could span a huge gamut of symbolism. On the one hand, it could indicate some sort of cognitive dissonance; disparities in believing in two opposing concepts that should cancel each other out, but you accept them as a single truth. Or it could represent hypocrisy with what you say you believe in waking reality but, out of the view of others, you do something very different.

Spiritual Associations with Food

Of course there are always possible spiritual undertones in regards to dreams about eating. Per recently passed Universalist Unitarian minister and dream expert, Jeremy Taylor, the frequency with which we eat is so pervasive to our daily reality, it’s only natural for us to have such a dream.

In his view, what’s important about eating in a dream is if the person actually tastes the food or had a sensation of it in their mouth. What makes this curious, according to his experience, is that with dream eating, so few people remember if they tasted or felt the texture of the food. It’s more often the case that a person is about to eat and then the dream cuts to another scene.

Remembering Texture & Taste of Dream Food

For those that actually do remember eating with a sensation of taste and texture, the activity crosses a fine line between an experience of the self and not experiencing the food firsthand. To put it another way, the food becomes the person.

To Taylor, a dream about eating ultimately means the person is seeking some kind of nourishment, often spiritual in nature. In this state, it’s not actually food but something outside the self that the person either wishes or needs to become part of their being.

This could indicate ideas the dreamer wishes to incorporate in their life, spiritual perspectives or other such concepts as to what the food represents. This is where the taste of the food becomes important to create a deeper understanding of the dream.

Consuming Concepts, Ideas and Beliefs

In general, the food could represent some kind of truth. The person’s experience of that food could indicate how willing or unwilling a dreamer is to accepting or “digesting” the truth. This will also be applicable for the texture or how nourishing it was.

For instance, if someone swallows the food and it’s difficult, tastes bad and left the dreamer underwhelmed, it could indicate that the person doesn’t accept the truth even though they consciously wish to know it. In other words, the truth hurts; it isn’t always meant to “feel good” or be pleasing. And, in this instance, the dreamer finds truth difficult to swallow.

In Brief

If you find yourself eating in a dream, take note of the food and your experience of it. Try to remember how much you enjoyed the food, or didn’t, along with its texture. Whether you want to go with a more spiritual approach to this kind of dream or a more cerebral one, either way, it represents some kind nourishment.

Somewhere inside your being, you’re craving fulfillment. Your brain is transmitting this idea to you in the way of food and your consumption of it. This is where your ideas about food and your behavior around eating in real life come into the picture. Therefore, this is an entirely individual understanding that only the dreamer can decipher based on their specific situation.

Affiliate Disclosures

Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.