Ah cravings. You don't have to be pregnant to deal with them. We've all had that 3pm sugar craving or that post dinner dessert want wash over us. But what causes it? We're about to find out...
1. If You're Craving Sweet...
What You're Craving: Cookies, chocolate, cake
What You're Actually Craving: Happiness, energy
It's all about that serotonin. This is the chemical that makes us feel relaxed and happy. It regulates our moods. When we're stressed or sad, we reach for chocolate or sweets - that's because serotonin helps ease that feeling. When we're tired or hit a slump in the day, we crave a chocolate bar. This is because we associate it with giving us immediate energy. Why not try and eat some fruit, with natural sugars to fill that craving. It has the same effect but is so much better for you.
2. If You're Craving Salty...
What You're Craving: Chips, pretzels, pizza, actual salt applied to other foods
What You're Actually Craving: Catharsis, water, minerals, salt (because you're addicted to it)
We crave salt when we're hungover or dehydrated. If you feel that craving come on, drink as much water as possible and wait to see if it abates. Salt is fine in tiny doses but we're addicted to it so maybe try and replace it with olive oil or even garlic to affect the same satisfaction.
3. If You're Craving White Bread, Rice & Pasta...
What You're Craving: Bread, crackers, rice, muffins
What You're Actually Craving: Energy, calmness
We crave carbs for the same reason we crave sweets - the serotonin levels. They make us happy and give us comfort when we're down. These foods are obviously bad for you. While carbs are of course good, simple carbohydrates like these are actually bad for you as we digest them as if they are sweets. You'd be much better off having wholegrain bread or eating kidney beans and chickpeas for your energy.
4. If You're Craving Meat...
What You're Craving: Steak, burgers
What You're Actually Craving: Protein, iron, vitamin B
Meat craving tend to indicate an iron deficiency. You can usually tell that you're suffering from this if you're extremely tired and lethargic all the time. If you're a vegetarian or just not partial to meat, taking a vitamin B or Iron supplement every day would help a lot, and eating as much spinach and kale as possible. Nuts are great snacks to curb any meat cravings that are plaguing you too.
5. If You're Craving Dairy...
What You're Craving: Pizza, milk, a wad of cheese the size of your skull
What You're Actually Craving: Relaxation and/or vitamin A or D
Dairy cravings can indicate a lack of vitamin A or D in your body and also that good old hunt for serotonin. The latter is more in the case that you're craving ice cream - a sweet treat to lift your mood. Otherwise, look into whether you're are getting enough sun to up your vitamin D - a great excuse to book a holiday to the sun!
Video: Our Late Night Cravings