If youre craving a steak or a burger:
Cravings for red meat can signal a lack of iron, or conjugated linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid that helps your body burn stored fat. A healthier option to replace iron is dark, leafy greens like spinach. This is especially beneficial if your diet is high in fat or carbohydrates. Try incorporating smaller amounts of red meat into your diet so that you dont go overboard when you do indulge.
If youre craving baked goods:
This usually indicates that your blood glucose levels are fluctuating. The stress hormone cortisol triggers the release of glucose, and thereby insulin to regulate it. The sugars and carbohydrates in baked goods raise levels of blood sugar and serotonin, which is a brain chemical that invokes feelings of happiness. Instead, try a piece of fruit or a glass of 100% fruit juice. Not only will the natural sugars help level you out, but they also provide nutrients like vitamin C that you cant get from a brownie.
If youre craving chocolate:
Chocolate contains an amino acid called phenylalanine, which is essential in the bodys production of brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals enhance mood, and reduce pain. A better choice is dark chocolate as it has less sugar and more cacao. Another option is to mix unsweetened cocoa powder with skim milk and add a natural sugar substitute like Stevia.
If youre craving French fries:
This usually means youre lacking sodium, or experiencing a blood sugar imbalance caused by cortisol. The simple carbs in potatoes break down to glucose, and the salt will satisfy your need for sodium. The healthy alternative is salted nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts. These are full of sodium as well as healthy omega 3 fatty acids. The protein found in nuts will help keep your energy up as well.