What Does it Mean When You Dream About Food?

Have you dreamed about food in the last few weeks? We show you what it can mean, according to the experts.
What Does it Mean When You Dream About Food?
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 13 July, 2022

Dreaming of food is a common experience. Experts claim that this type of dream varies according to cultural influences. Indeed, the context, the foods that appear, and what’s done with them are subject to the paradigms of each culture. This is why there are many interpretations of dreams about food. Today, we’ll look at the most popular.

Evidence indicates that dream experiences revolving around food are common in people with eating disorders. Not all of our explanations of dreaming about food point in this direction, although it should be taken into account when assimilating them into reality. In fact, this is something that must also be done when interpreting other kinds of dreams: they should be contextualized according to the dreamer’s life.

Dreaming about food

Whether or not they’re food dreams, researchers have found that 33 percent of men and 40 percent of women recall their olfactory and taste experiences upon awakening from their dreams. Scientists also suggest that women tend to manifest negative dream experiences, while men have positive ones.

Since the dawn of psychoanalysis, various interpretations of dreams about food were proposed. This meant that the scientific field became interested in the interpretation of dreams. Let’s look at seven explanations of dreaming about food that tend to have a universal symbology.

Sleeping woman with the light on
Dreaming of food is a reflection of how we are on an emotional level.

1. Emotional states

The first interpretation of dreaming about food is that it’s a reflection of your current emotional state. If the taste or smell of the food you eat in the dream is sweet or pleasant, then it’s symbolic of positive emotions. On the other hand, if the taste or smell is sour or bitter, then it signifies negative emotions.

There’s evidence that mood conditions our food choices in reality. During wakefulness, some emotions may prevail over others, due to stress, the current situation, the relationship you have with others, among other factors. These emotions can also be transferred to your dreams.

2. Economic abundance

Dreaming of food in abundance is a direct symbol of economic prosperity (or personal prosperity in general). For this interpretation to make sense, you must be able to access the food in front of you.

If you can’t eat it, touch it, or get close to it; then it symbolizes an abundance that’s there, but that’s being obstructed and you’re unable to reach it. The more food there is on the table or in the place where you are, the greater the related abundance.

3. Good connections or relationships with others

If you dream that you’re eating or buying food with your family, your dream experience can be interpreted as a symbol of your good relations with them. If you can’t make out the faces of the people you’re with, take it as a good sign in general. It means you’re in a good place, with those who you hold in high esteem and who feel the same way about you.

If you recognize the people in your dream, you can take it as a consolidation of your relationship with them. That’s because food isn’t only a means of survival or sustenance for us, but also a tool to relate to others. Indeed, thousands of rituals, ceremonies, and other similar events have had food as the main protagonists.

4. Unlucky moments in the present or the future

In all the previous explanations, the food was in good condition. However, if you dream of rotten food, it can symbolize unfortunate events in your present or near future.

You may be dealing with a stressful, unpleasant, or uncomfortable event right now or maybe you’ve received news that you’re going to face events of this type in the future.

5. Independence, freedom, or autonomy

Depending on the context, dreaming of refusing food can be interpreted as a symbol of freedom, independence, or partial or total autonomy. The rejection can be direct or indirect. Whatever the case, you’ll choose not to eat the food from the person who’s offering it to you.

An example of how this could be translated into reality is that you’ve just got a better-paid job, have become independent from your parents, or have started a business.

Freedom, independence or autonomy: some of the meanings of dreaming of rejecting food.
Dreaming of refusing food is a symbol of freedom.

6. Sensuality or eroticism

Food also has a sensual or erotic component, so we can’t miss this kind of symbolism off our list. It all depends on what foods appear in the dream, how and where you eat them, and their taste. For example, some fruits have a clear symbolic allusion.

Strawberries, bananas, grapes, peaches, or watermelons are just some of the fruits with a powerful erotic charge. If you eat any of them in a room with sensual decorations or in front of someone, then you can take it as meaning that, in reality, you want to explore your erotic side.

7. Difficult relationships with food in reality

As we mentioned earlier, most people with eating disorders have experiences with these types of dreams on an occasional basis. Consequently, if you’ve had to deal with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, food restriction, and so on, then the symbolism is more likely to point in this direction. They may also highlight any kind of special relationship you have with food.

For example, people who are overweight, obese, or who’ve set themselves a goal of losing weight may be finicky or picky about the foods in their diet. This obsession can be transferred to dreams so that they become nothing more than a reflection of their relationship with food in reality.

Keep in mind that all of these interpretations are referential. It’s really important that you read them and assimilate them alongside any other relevant criteria. Furthermore, your dreams won’t necessarily always have an underlying meaning. So don’t let yourself be conditioned by these interpretations. Just take them as a guide as to why you may be experiencing these kinds of dreams on a regular basis.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Gardner, M. P., Wansink, B., Kim, J., & Park, S. B. Better moods for better eating?: How mood influences food choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2014; 24(3): 320-335.
  • Hamburger, W. W. The occurrence and meaning of dreams of food and eating: I. Typical food and eating dreams of four patients in analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1958; 20(1): 1-16.
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  • Zadra, A. L., Nielsen, T. A., & Donderi, D. C. Prevalence of auditory, olfactory, and gustatory experiences in home dreams. Perceptual and motor skills. 1998; 87(3): 819-826.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.