What do your cravings mean?

(Part 1)

by Bianca Baker, RHN

A craving is a powerful desire to have something and food is no different in this case. We have all craved a certain food at one point or another. If you are sad, you may wish to eat chocolate and ice cream, if you are tired you may crave coffee and coke or if you are hungry, you may crave something like a burger or a pizza. This is all normal! Today, I am going to discuss some of the most common cravings you may have and why you are craving these foods. I hope that once you understand what your body wants from these foods, you will be able to make a healthy and educated decision regarding what to eat.


Red Meat

Many people will crave red meat when they are tired or are trying to refrain from eating it. This may be due to an iron deficiency in your body. Your body is craving the iron found in red meat and associates red meat with iron. Now, there is nothing wrong with eating a steak if that is your lifestyle, just ensure you’re eating lean, red meat as animal fats can contribute to other problems in your body.

Other good sources of iron include spinach, broccoli, legumes, pumpkin seeds and organ meat such as kidneys and livers.


This is my craving of choice! I know that I struggle with craving chips and do my best to stay away from that grocery store aisle. A chip craving is usually your body wanting salt (otherwise known as sodium). Your body may also want something crunchy. I know a salted piece of avocado will not satisfy this craving as it needs to have a crunchy element. A rice cake with hummus will always do the trick for me though. Please remember that salt will dehydrate you, so remember to drink more water.


Many people will crave chocolate when they are sad. This is because chocolate includes the chemical tryptophan that causes the release of serotonin into the brain. Serotonin is the happy hormone. This is only one reason you may crave chocolate. Another reason could be that your body is looking for magnesium. Magnesium is found in good-quality dark chocolate. Next time you have a chocolate craving, try some good quality dark chocolate or magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.


Ice cream is a girl’s go-to when feeling down because it too has tryptophan in it. This chemical is found in milk and releases your happy hormone, serotonin. Other reasons you may be craving ice cream is the body looking for calcium, healthy fats, sugar or even its association with something frozen. In this case, find healthy, frozen ideas to combat this craving such as low sugar ice cream, nice cream (banana ice cream) or even frozen fruit. If you are not after the cold, healthy fats such as avocados and nuts may help or even a healthy smoothie that incorporates it all.

Cheese and other dairy products

A lot of the time when craving cheese and other dairy products, your body may be looking for fatty acids, usually Omega 3 fatty acids. Sources high in Omega 3 include oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and leafy greens. Try having some chia seed pudding or salmon the next time you have a craving for a cheese toastie.

Keep a lookout for Part 2 where we will discuss 5 more common cravings and what they mean!

If you would like to dive deeper into your cravings and get to the root of where your cravings come from, feel free to book a complimentary consult today and let’s see how we can work together to overcome your cravings!

Bianca Baker is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and offers appointments at Local Health Integrative Clinic Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Click here to book an appointment with Bianca.