Whether it’s salty, chocolate, sweets, meat or carbs, you’ve probably experienced the feeling of craving a specific food.
Sometimes cravings are social. For example, when it’s #nationaldonutday and after the 10th image of a donut on Facebook, you’ve GOT to have one. Other times, a craving is a red flag. We crave what our body needs.
Here’s a guide to what these cravings might be telling you and how to satisfy them (without binging on peanut butter pretzels):
What it might mean: Low sodium. This can happen to athletes and active people who sweat a lot. Salt also helps the body retain water, so it’s common to crave salt when we’re dehydrated.
Satisfy with: Start with drinking lot’s of water and electrolyte rich liquids like coconut water. If that doesn’t do the trick, try adding more sea salt or Himalayan salt to your food for a couple days. Instead of salty popcorn or chips, try celery (which has a natural salty flavor) with peanut butter and sea salt.
What it might mean: Low magnesium. Cacao the main ingredient in chocolate is rich in magnesium.
Satisfy with: Chocolate! Try organic dark chocolate with 50-70% cocoa. Add unsweetened cocoa powder to a smoothie or make chocolate chia pudding.
Craving: Carbs (pasta, bagels, bread)
What it might mean: You’re hungry. Carbs are the human body’s preferred form of fuel. So when we get hungry, we crave the quickest form of energy for our bodies to use: carbs. Craving carbs could also mean you’re stressed or sad. Carbs are the ultimate comfort food (hello mac n’ cheese) so if you’re constantly cravings carbs even when you’re fed, take a look at your emotional state.
Satisfy with: If you’re craving carbs because you’re hungry or just haven’t eaten enough carbs, (aim for about 2 cups of whole food carbs per day) try a baked sweet potato. Other carbohydrate rich whole foods are whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. If you’re craving carbs because your stressed, sad or tired ,try a non-food approach like going for a walk, calling a friend or heading out to your BCSF class to sweat it out.
Craving: Red meat
What it might mean: If you’ve been dreaming of a juicy steak or burger, you might be low in iron and/or B12.
Satisfy with: Instead of a greasy diner burger or steak, buy some organic and grass-fed beef or bison at the store and cook at home. If you’re vegan or vegetarian start a B12 supplement and multivitamin with iron.
Craving: Sweets (cookies, candy, sugar)
What it means: See carbs.
Satisfy with: Fresh fruit (apples with cinnamon and peanut butter, tangerines, banana or berries). Click here to see what our BCSF trainers reach for for their sweet tooth (like trainer Valeries’ idea for Trader Joe’s “just dried mango”).
How do you satisfy your cravings? Are you a salty/savory person or a sweet/chocolate person? Tell us in the comments below, we’d love to hear.