Some may be shocked to hear this, but pasta has never been a major food group in my life. I understand the obsession with a bowl of creamy goodness, but it’s simply never been something that is on my mind. I even lived in Italy for nine months and only had it occasionally. Tragiquè, I know. Despite this, the other day I found myself daydreaming and nearly drooling about pasta prepared in a parmesan cheese wheel (you know the videos I’m referring to), beautiful decorated with olive oil and pepper. Why was this happening? How had pasta invaded my peaceful mental state?
I did some quick digging, and discovered that when you are hit with an unusual and strange craving, this is actually your body’s way of telling you that you are in need of some additional nutrients. If you’re anything like me, and have been randomly hit by a v specific craving out of the blue (like a cheese wheel full of pasta midday), then fear not friends, we have a guide to decoding the true meaning of your cravings.
Meaning: Have you ever finished a full meal for dinner, and then craved just a little nibble of chocolate? Something sweet to satisfy your cravings? If you’re craving chocolate, this may be a sign that you’re in need of Magnesium, or B-vitamins. Chocolate is very rich in Magnesium, and the highest concentration can be found in 100 percent cocoa. Consider adding 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder into your morning smoothie, or add a few cocoa nibs that are at least 75% cocoa to your oatmeal. Both should satisfy the craving in a healthy way!
Meaning: If you ever have a pasta craving like I did, it is likely linked to low blood sugar levels, or fatigue. This is because your body knows that it can receive a quick spike in blood sugar (and therefore energy) from simple carbs like pizza, ice cream, or pasta. Instead of grabbing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s from the freezer, it’s better to snack on complex carbs that are high in fibre so your body remains full for longer, and maintains a steady energy stream. Some great alternatives include oats (like this oatmeal recipe!), whole wheat (or gluten-free) toast with avocado, or these gluten-free healthy muffins if you’re looking to treat yo’self.
Meaning: Craving sweets is similar to craving carbs since most sweets are simple carbs, and your body is telling you it wants an energy boost. This happens most frequently when you’re tired or stressed and suddenly all you can think of is chocolate, cake and candy. Instead of grabbing the nearest cookie, first try going for a walk for a quick pick-me-up and get your blood moving. If you still need your sugar fix, go for something with natural sugars, like fruit! Grapes, a banana, or berries mixed in Greek yogurt should do the trick.
Meaning: If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about something, or naturally grind your teeth when stressed, then you may be inclined to polish off an entire bag of chips in one sitting. The good ol’ crunch that comes from a bag of chips can easily be swapped for nuts for a tension-relieving crunch and a dose of healthy fat.
Meaning: This is definitely a personal favorite. I will pick salty over sweet any day of the week, but I know how important it is to keep an eye on salt intake— no one likes that bloated, puffy feeling that comes from foods that are high in sodium. When I need a salt fix, I try to make sure there are healthy fats involved as well. Olives, avocado toast with some garlic salt, carrots and hummus, or apple slices with almond butter are great alternatives to a trip to McDonald’s for fries.
Meaning: Sometimes you have no idea what you’re craving, you just want to eat your entire pantry. It’s not just you— it happens to the best of us. First, try drinking water and wait 15 minutes to see if the feeling subsides. If not, try any of the healthy snacks we recommended above and see if it cures the craving!
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