Skip to content

What Your Food Cravings Are Trying to Tell You

What Your Food Cravings Are Trying to Tell You

The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.

Your body is in constant communication with you and has its own language to tell you what it wants. What does this language sound like?

  • A growling stomach
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Exhaustion
  • Food cravings

Some of these calls are bullhorn-loud and evoke a kneejerk reaction. When you’re thirsty, you pour yourself a glass of water; if you’re struck with a temperature of 102 degrees, the obvious response is to go back to bed!

In other cases, it’s more of a whisper and we face a fork in the road with a few possible options. Here, the immediate consequence of making the wrong choice isn’t so obvious until we repeat it so often that it becomes a habit.

For example, we’re overworked and yet continue to push through our exhaustion because, well, we can! Eventually we fall ill with the flu because our immune system is suffering due to lack of sleep. 

In other cases, we can misinterpret what our body is trying to tell us. This is often the case with food cravings.

Food Cravings: Your Body’s Way of Speaking to You

The diet industry has taught us to suppress our cravings; to “power through it”. This advice is misguided because cravings are the body’s way of demanding certain nutrients.

Take for example, a salt craving after a sweaty workout, or carb cravings while following a low carb diet. Sodium and carbohydrates are important nutrients and our body knows it! Without sodium we can’t maintain normal electrolyte balance; without healthy carbohydrates, our brain, muscles, heart, and central nervous system will lack much-needed energy.

Our response to food cravings should be straightforward: when you crave something, eat it!

That’s exactly what happened in the days of our ancient ancestors, only they ate from the earth. Junk food didn’t exist, making it easy to do the right thing.

Today the foods we crave aren’t necessarily good for our health. Many of these highly processed foods trigger an addiction-like behavior that we can’t turn off, and so we end up compulsively eating more and more of that food until it’s all gone.

How to Correctly Interpret What Your Body is Saying

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: your body craves what you feed it most.

If the foods you’re craving are not supporting good health, you can change this in a matter of weeks by changing what you put in your body. This is also the only way to gain a clear understanding of what your body is really asking for. In other words, you must pull the weeds and clear the land before you can get to the root of the craving.

You can accomplish this by slowly reconditioning your palate to prefer real food and eat those foods until you are pleasantly satisfied. No calorie-counting or measuring of food needs to be involved. In fact, both behaviors block the line of communication between you and your body. Why? Because they are unnatural!

Real food is whole, minimally processed plant-based food. I’m talking fruits, veggies, leafy greens, whole intact grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa, etc.), nuts and seeds. Check out our starter list of Fx-approved foods for an entire library of real food options.

Overhead view of an assortment of fruits, veggies, leafy greens, whole intact grains, nuts and seeds

Signs that You’re on the Right Track

The more real food you eat, the easier it will be to read your body correctly. Here are a few signs that you’re on the right track:

  • Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips to quench your salt craving after a sweaty workout or spending time in the sweltering sun, you’re drawn to healthier sources of sodium, like an electrolyte replacement drink, a few olives, a spoonful of naturally fermented vegetables, or a handful of sprouted sunflower seeds with sea salt.
  • Your go-to solution for evening carb cravings is a whole food source of carbohydrates, like a few scoops of quinoa, half of a sweet potato, or a nice ripe banana. Ordering a pizza no longer seems like the right choice.
  • A candy bar doesn’t satisfy your craving for sweets, but a ripe, juicy peach does the trick every time. Besides, you’ve been down that road enough times to know that one candy bar always leads to a few cookies, and so on.

3 small bowls of assorted olives

Key Takeaway

Your body knows what it needs, and food cravings are one of its many languages. Ignore its gentle whispers and they will haunt you until you give in!

The key is to give in with the right foods. If you make your personal food mantra “what I feed my body most, it will crave”, and you commit to choosing foods that support the health of your precious body, I guarantee that your days of craving cookies, candy and potato chips will soon be over.

Melanie Jatsek RD, LD

By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD

Heinen's Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. As a published author with over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking, Melanie offers expert guidance through Heinen's Club Fx program to help customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in without giving up their favorite foods.

Leave a review!

Your name will be displayed if entered. Email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Related Recipes & Stories