What Food Cravings Can Tell You

Crush the Cravings

Vanessa Lennick, Registered Dietitian

“Ohhh I could really go for a ____”

We all have cravings – but have you noticed we often crave the food we’ve banned from our diet? It’s not just in your head either, there are reasons why this happens.

  1. We often want what we “can’t” have – if you look at a specific food as something you have to eliminate from your diet, it often only makes you want it more. This isn’t a matter of willpower either 😉
  2. Cravings occur when the body instinctively yearns for a food that fulfills a nutritional need or neutralizes an imbalance in the body.

Thus, cravings sometimes seem sensible and obvious, or unexpected and beyond nutritional understanding. 

Have you ever craved citrus foods when suffering from a cold or flu? It’s easy to justify this biologic desire considering the vitamin C content of oranges and grapefruits and the cleansing effect of fruit on the body.

The bottom line here: the body craves because the body knows. When you have a food craving instead of trying to ignore it, stop and think about what you body might be needing. For example if you’re craving a particular food, consider it as a sign:

  • Signs you need more protein: fatigue, forgetfulness, poor memory, poor cognition, poor attention span, moodiness, hunger, overeating, binge eating, inability to lose weight, hair loss, brittle hair, brittle nails, poor muscle tone, poor digestion poor circulation, bloating, sleep issues
  • Signs you need more essential fats: poor digestion, inability to lose weight, fatigue, irritability, constipation, dry skin, redness around the eyes, constant hunger, cravings for fried food or fatty foods or junk food, binge eating
  • Signs of you need to carbohydrates: intense hunger, constant hunger, craving for various foods, irritability.

The challenge isn’t to ignore the craving, it’s to make the healthiest choice you can at that moment in time to give your body what it needs!


Vanessa Lennick is a Registered Dietitian in private practice at Proximal50 Life Center in Bismarck, ND. As a private practice Dietitian, Vanessa is able to work with anyone & everyone (you don’t need a diagnosis or referral from your doctor) and isn’t limited to the number of appointments set by insurance. Plus, as a working mom, wife to a shift worker, and member of the ND National Guard she’s got real-life strategies that are actually doable! For more information on nutrition-based services, click here.