Food Cravings: What do they mean and how do I fix them?
At one point or another, we have all experienced a craving or an urgent and intense desire for a particular food… something deliciously sweet like your favourite caramel slice, savoury like a mouthwatering cheesy pizza, or perhaps fresh and juicy like a nice big bowl of fruit salad. Often, we will quickly give in to our cravings without a second thought. But, have you ever wondered why you crave these particular foods? Is there a reason you feel like your body needs this?
When it comes to food cravings, there are many contributing factors. So, what are some of the reasons we experience those must-have, yet highly inconvenient food cravings?
Hormone imbalances and fluctuations are a common contributor to food cravings, particularly during pregnancy or hormonal change periods. Women may experience estrogen and progesterone fluctuations, triggering mixed signals within their bodies and intensifying hunger or specific cravings. Lack of sleep, increased periods of stress, and prolonged inactivity may also contribute to hormonal imbalances. Often, it's during these times we feel soothed and comforted by giving into those pesky food cravings.
2. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Ever wondered why you are craving something specifically salty, sweet, or perhaps, juicy? The body may develop cravings for foods with specific vitamins and minerals that it is lacking from your diet. For example, Magnesium, a mineral used in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body, is one of the most common mineral deficiencies. Research suggests when your body is deficient in Magnesium, you may crave specific foods like dark chocolate, peanut butter, or bananas!
Struggling to fit enough Magnesium-rich foods into your diet? Evolve Magnesium'sdeliciously sweet and powerful formula might be just what's missing from your health regime!
3. Highly processed foods
Have you ever tasted food that you can't seem to get enough of? It's almost euphoric, and you just can't give it up no matter how hard you try… maybe it's the newest burger on the menu at your local takeaway restaurant, the latest gourmet biscoff donut at your favourite donut shop, or perhaps a particular soft drink? Research suggests that these kinds of processed foods, high in added fat and sugar, may stimulate the feel-good centre in your brain, triggering increased cravings and addiction-like symptoms...so naturally, we want more and more!
Short term pain for long term gain… we know meal prep can be time-consuming when taking into consideration the shopping, planning, and cooking. But, when it comes to being prepared and ensuring you are fuelling your body with healthy options, the juice is worth the squeeze!
Having healthy snacks on standby to curb those urgent cravings will not only eliminate the temptation to reach for the office cookies, but will encourage you to create and maintain healthier habits. Simple hacks are your key to success. For instance, try bulk cooking your protein sources (i.e. beef, chicken etc.) at the start of the week and freezing them in ziplock bags. Alternatively, cut up your vegetables and pop them in a container in the fridge so you have quick access to a healthy meal, even on your busiest days (or the days where those cravings won’t subside).
Struggling to find the time to fit it all in? We totally get it, preparation is often easier said than done. If you’re struggling to plan your healthy meals ahead of time, simply join our ASN Life platform and we’ll take care of the guesswork for you. Our ASN Life subscription service contains personalised meal plans tailored to your goals (and taste buds), and a carefully designed workout program suited to your needs...it’s time to live your life your way, with a little extra guidance!
5. Increase your protein
Including more protein-rich foods in your diet may help your body feel satisfied and full for longer. Nuts, seeds, lean meats, and eggs are great ways to get your protein in with every meal; however, if you prefer more of a sweet fix, you could look at a creamy high protein, low-sugar dessert-style snack. Evolve Pro-Treat is a perfect low-calorie snack to whip up and have for a mid-afternoon treat or post-dinner guilt-free dessert!
Turning to sugary snacks to re-energise due to a lack of sleep is a habit most of us have experienced when feeling tired and lethargic. The pick-me-up from that afternoon square of caramel slice, or rich chocolate muffin is enough fuel, we think, to get us through the rest of the day...right? Sleep deprivation is another common cause for those high sugar and fatty food cravings that generally lead to a harder energy crash later on. Research suggests that improving the quality and length of sleep may improve your energy, mood, and ability to focus better throughout the day, which in turn may have a positive effect on behaviours and choices surrounding food.
7. Healthy alternatives
We love learning and sharing new and innovative ways to eat our favourite foods without compromising our health and our waistlines, so we’ve put together a graphic for you with some of our favourite and easy, healthy food swaps!
Now that you have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to keep those cravings under control, go ahead and self-assess how you can incorporate these into your routine for a more balanced and convenient lifestyle!