You just got home from what seems like a never-ending day, and all you want to do is eat. The second you plop on the couch, you’re overwhelmed with cravings. Whether it’s the urge to down a whole jar of Nutella (story of my life), or the actual need to devour a bag of salty chips, it’s pretty natural to have these cravings. And we've all been there. So it’s important to be aware that (in most cases) cravings are our body’s way telling us something.

cake, sweet, cookie
Photo by Eugene Ang

Obviously things like pizza, chips, candy, bacon, and chocolate sound very appealing—but wanting them and craving them are two different stories. Research has shown that food cravings may be a sign that we are deficient in a particular nutrient, or lacking something crucial in our daily routines. So when you're craving certain foods—here's what your body is actually trying to tell you. 


sweetmeat, cream, cookie, goody, sprinkles, pastry, cake, candy, sweet, chocolate, doughnut
Virginia Myers
WHY: Craving foods that are filled with sugar could mean that you’re deprived of energy or sleep. You may be burning the candle on both ends, PMS-ing like no other (sorry boys), or just having a horrible day and sugar seems to be the only thing giving you life. The problem is that a sugar high only lasts so long before you crash and burn, and the side effects of eating too much sugar (like heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes) can be severe.

HOW TO CURB: Instead of constantly surrendering to your sugar cravings—try drinking green tea or infusing your water with fruit. If this doesn’t work for you, try eating an apple or a banana mid-day, or berries as dessert.

#SpoonTip: Because sugar is addicting, it can be helpful to lower your sugar intake throughout the day to lessen the cravings. The tricky part here is that sugar hides in a lot of the foods we eat so find out how sugar savvy you are and put that knowledge to work.

CRAVING: Chocolate

WHY: While most people think that chocolate cravings are linked to their sugar cravings, it's actually two separate cases. Research has shown that when you crave chocolate, you are most likely deficient in a nutrient known as magnesium. Since there is a small amount of magnesium found in cacao, people think that their cravings can be cured after eating a chocolate bar, when it's really just a temporary fix.

HOW TO CURB: To curb a chocolate craving, eat things like pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, dark leafy greens, tuna, white beans, bananas, and quinoa. All of these foods are high in magnesium, and by adding them to your daily diet you should be relieved of your chocolate cravings. But sometimes we just really need chocolate in our lives. 


tapioca, dairy product, sweet, rice, cereal, flour, salt
Julia Gilman

WHY: If all you can think about is wolfing down a bag of chips, a bucket of fries, or even a jar pickles, it could be your body’s way of telling you that you’re dehydrated. Eating the recommended amount of salt—which is no more than 1,500 mg per day, according to the American Heart Association —is acceptable because salt helps the body retain water. But if your sodium intake is unbalanced and you find yourself craving salt, don't be too quick to overlook it.  

HOW TO CURB:  When you find yourself craving salt, try drinking more water or eating water-dense foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, watermelon, or green peppers. Or just refer to these seven easy ways to incorporate more water into your daily diet.


WHY: Craving carbs like bread or pasta can be a daily struggle. Like when you go out to eat and can’t help but eye the breadsticks. But wanting carbs and craving carbs are two different things. According to Web MD, some researchers believe that when people crave carbohydrates, they may be experiencing low levels of serotonin (aka a chemical in the body that affects our mood). 

HOW TO CURB: If you're unhappy or in a bad mood and all you want to do is eat a whole pizza by yourself (it happens, no judgement) you may want to pause and reconsider. Try eating hard boiled eggs, pineapples, tofu, or salmon—all of which are known to boost serotonin levels. If that doesn't work, try taking a long walk, exercising or socializing. While these options may seem like the last things you want to do, they may help put you in a better mood. Here are some 10-minute workouts for those of you who shuddered at the thought of exercise. 

CRAVING: Caffeine

mocha, cream, espresso, cappuccino, milk, coffee
Julia Broome

WHY: You may feel like you need coffee or a caffeinated drink simply out of habit, but if you crave it throughout the day than your body is trying to tell you something. According to Stephen Cherniske’s book, Caffeine Blues, craving caffeine is a sign that you’re lacking energy or that you’re physically exhausted. Things like coffee and soda trigger a temporary adrenalin rush but once it wears off, your body experiences the repercussions and wants more.

HOW TO CURB: Most research recommends that you eliminate caffeinated drinks entirely from your diet.  Try eating foods that will boost your energy levels, like apples, nuts, and dried fruit. If that doesn’t work, here are more tips on how to successfully live a caffeine-free lifestyle.


WHY: Research shows that when we crave a juicy hamburger or a perfectly cooked steak, our bodies are trying to tell us that it is deficient in iron, b12, or is lacking conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid that helps your body burn stored fat).

HOW TO CURB: Red meat is not something that we should be incorporating into our daily diets. But if you’re hardcore craving it, try eating dark leafy greens like kale, raisins, or beans, which will help replenish your body with iron, while also staying healthy. 

Obviously we all have our days where we need nothing more than to just satisfy our cravings, trust me. But when you're not desperately craving something, try noticing what your body is trying to tell you and curb the craving with a healthy alternative.