Every single one of us has had a moment when everything seems clear: we need something specific to eat. What that specific food is depends on us—for some, chocolate seals the deal, and for others Lay’s chips hit the spot.
However difficult it may be to refrain from eating large amounts of these foods, we should be asking ourselves why we want to eat them. Most would be surprised to find that our cravings aren’t telling us to eat loads of Hershey kisses—they’re telling us we’re deficient in an essential nutrient.
Nolan Amos, a sophomore studying architectural engineering, had the realization that when he craves something specific, he instead eats a healthy food, like a banana. “When I’m craving something bad, I know that I probably shouldn’t be eating it, so I reach for a banana and my craving subsides,” says Amos.
Amos is a physically active student on campus, and he is not alone. As a campus that promotes fitness and good health among students, it’s important to avoid even the smallest detours to our own personal fitness goals.
Thankfully, Valley’s looking out for our readers! We did the research and found some interesting facts on what your cravings mean.
You’re missing nitrogen! Eating high protein foods such as fish, meat, nuts and beans will replace those empty carbs.
Fatty Snacks or Carbonated Drinks
Just when you think reaching for that bag of chips or that can of soda will help sooth your hunger, they most likely will only make you hungrier, or feel gross. What you’re missing is calcium, so instead of the Lay’s, eat greens like broccoli, kale and legumes or cheese.
It seems nearly impossible to not make that trip to Starbucks. But if you’re seriously craving it, that usually means you’re missing a multitude of things such as phosphorus, sulfur, salt and iron. That’s a lot of nutrients to make up for, but luckily a lot of foods will help sustain your energy better than coffee. Meats, eggs, dairy, nuts and legumes will take care of the phosphorus, while egg yolks, garlic and red peppers will give you back that sulfur. Meat and greens will also take care of the salt and iron, so keep your protein intake up.
Too much sodium is never a good thing, and can really dehydrate you! It turns out you’re missing chloride if you’re craving anything salty, like an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, so instead of indulging on the salt, go for fish.
Whether it’s a square of chocolate or Sour Patch Kids, you usually can’t eat just one! You could be missing chromium, carbon phosphorus, sulfur or tryptophan. Fresh fruit like cranberries will give you the chromium and sulfur you’re missing, and poultry or greens will replace the carbon phosphorus and tryptophan.
Keeping your fitness and diet goals in mind does involve keeping cravings under control, but thankfully you don’t have to suppress them by simply not eating—keep the fresh and wholesome foods in your system and kick out those nasty cravings.