Craving.

by danielle on January 31, 2013

Let’s talk about Cravings. Not the chocolate cravings you might be thinking of or those cravings for popcorn at the movies. I’m talking cravings for spinach. Or when you can’t wait to eat chicken. Or a craving for a big ice cold green juice.  Never had that craving? Here’s why…

Our cravings for food work in a funny way. The more we eat something the more we want it. Let me ask you this: if you have never eaten a brussel sprout before do you really think you will want them for dinner one night? Or if all you ever eat for breakfast is a bagel do you think the morning you start your juice cleanse you will wake up craving green juice?…Not a chance.

I’m not trying to discourage you though. I want you to crave these foods because they are good for us. Eat them enough and you too will find them delicious. Now you know I’m not perfect. I crave cereal and chocolate and all those good things you do too. In fact my inspiration to write this post, came when I got myself out of a cereal rut so let me give you my firsthand experience with cravings:

I was having a crappy week. We all have them. I didn’t feel like cooking, didn’t prep my meals as good as I should have, didn’t buy enough groceries. I fell into my own trap. Cereal became my best friend. Dinner for three nights in a row was cereal. I was eating brown rice tortillas. Apples. Smoothies. Bars. But just about zero veggies and very little protein. Let’s talk about how I was feeling. Tired. Lazy. A bit grouchy. But yet I was craving these foods that were making me more tired. Did I really want another bowl of cereal for dinner? Yes I kind of did.

cereal

My new best friend.

Sunday came and grocery time happened. I diverted myself from the cereal aisle and loaded up on fruits and veggies. I spent a long time staring at the greens trying to figure out what exactly I wanted. I bought beef and turkey and chicken. I’ll be honest with you Monday morning I was exactly “craving” veggies, but I knew my body needed them. I needed the energy. I needed the push. So veggies I had. I ate my turkey and spaghetti squash for lunch wishing it was a bowl of cereal.  I sucked it up and had more veggies and meat for dinner. Tuesday I had snap peas, baby carrots, and lean ground meat for lunch. Not the best. But here’s where the change happened. I felt better. My energy went up. I felt good about myself. By Friday as I thought about what I wanted for lunch I was looking forward to turkey meatballs and spaghetti squash for lunch…Um excuse me but this is the meal I dreaded on Monday. Cereal seemed so far superior and now look at me.

mealprep15

This needed to happen! 

Why am I telling you this long drawn out story? Because nutritionists aren’t perfect. I have my weeks when cereal is all I want and how do I get out of it? By eating something other than cereal. There is a big difference between what our mind “wants” (we’ll call this cravings for cereal) and what our body “needs” (we’ll call this cravings for veggies). Feed it junk and it craves more junk but consistently feed it delicious whole foods and it’s going to crave whole foods. So next time you think about that dinner of cereal for the 4th night in a row, try something different. Cook some veggies, have a salad, make a green smoothie. Do it again the next night. By the end of the week I’m sure you’ll be craving veggies in no time.

roasted vegetables
Fun Fact: It can take a child 10-15 exposures of a new food for them to accept and like it. The same may be true for you. Try a need food at least 2 or 3 times before deciding whether or not you like it. You may actually love kale, maybe you just haven’t tried it enough.

Good luck solving your cravings. Any questions, send me an email at dprestejohn@gmail.com

Always here,

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucie January 31, 2013 at 8:35 am

I can totally relate on this. I experience it with my sweet cravings. The more chocolate I eat, the more I crave it. I still eat it, cause I don’t want to restrict myself completely, but try to have it in moderation :-) And since I am in this ‘veggie-routine’ I definitely like it. But cereal days happen, and I think it is totally fine.

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Agreed! Sometimes you just need a little chocolate and cereal. I love that you have found the moderation with your chocolate too. The second I tell myself I can’t have something I want it ten times more!

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Jessie January 31, 2013 at 9:04 am

Great post girl. Just like Lucie mentioned, I can relate to this with chocolate. If I have one piece a night for three days in a row, I’ll more than likely want it the next. I truly feel that you have control of your cravings, and you can fix them in the end :)

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I totally agree! I think we definitely get ourselves stuck in habits and routines with our eating.

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I can definitely relate to this! My 16 year old self would have rolled her eyes if you told her one day she would crave foods like roasted vegetables and massaged kale salads. But now that they’re a regular part of my diet, I totally do crave foods like that now! Of course, I definitely crave ice cream and cookies sometimes too. ;)

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Love it! I eat so many things now that totally grossed me out as a child!

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Stephanie @itrainthereforeieat January 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Great post Danielle! And I know I’m late on this, but LOVE the new look of your site!! As for this post, I can relate 100%. When I get over tired and stressed, the only thing I want for dinner is cereal. At the end of a long, stressful week, cereal beats grilled chicken with brussels sprouts every time in my brain. But when I pick the healthier meal, I always end up realizing how delicious it is and how much better I feel after eating it. I really believe that cravings are controllable in some capacity, it just takes a little work sometimes!

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Thanks so much Stephanie. I totally agree. Your comments reminds me of the saying “you never regret a workout” I think the same goes for eating. You’re never going to regret eating a healthy and delicious meal.

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl January 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm

It amazes me every day some of the foods that I now crave. Don’t get me wrong, I totally experience cravings for sweet and salty foods, but the fact that I actually crave carrots, sweet potatoes, tofu, mushrooms, roasted vegetables, quinoa, etc., etc., etc. truly amazes me. If you had told me that I would experience those cravings two years ago I would have thought you were nuts. I truly believe that changing your eating habits also changes your taste buds and cravings..and in a good way! I now try foods I never ever thought I would eat or like.

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm

It’s so true. It definitely takes time but it is amazing how we grow to love foods we once despised!

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Miz January 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm

AMEN to the child thing.
I experience that here allll the time.

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

It’s such a great example!

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Linz @ Itz Linz January 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Itz ok not to be perfect :) :) Whenever I indulge, people are like “you eat that?!” Yes, friends. Moderation. :) :) Hope your week gets better! xoxo

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Totally agree! Sometimes some chocolate is necessary :)

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Kim@hungryhealthygirl January 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I never thought of cravings that way, but it makes perfect sense. Very interesting stuff!

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Thanks Kim!

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Laura January 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I LOVE Cheez It crackers. ever since I bought one box and enjoyed a snack now and then I cannot stop thinking about them. Not a healthy snack, but one I want. and to make it worse, they are usually on sale so much easier to buy! I have gotten to the point where I can limit myself to one serving per day (if I’m snacking) after i have eaten all my veggies and healthy food, and I even track it. Tracking this snack was a major turning point for me, I used to conveniently “forget” I ate it then wondered why the scale didn’t budge at weigh in. Eventually I hope to get to the point where I can cut these unhealthy snacks out completely, but this is a start for me. Comfort food occasionally has a place in our lives!

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Excellent! So glad you’re taking the steps. I totally agree that everything can be eaten in moderation!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. January 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm

As much as I love having cereal for dinner, I can only handle so much of it before I can’t bear the thought of eating it anymore, and then my body legitimately starts craving things like veggies and chicken.

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:35 pm

It’s so true! And I’m with you on the cereal dinners. Shockingly after too many of them I definitely want something else!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance January 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm

It’s an amazing transition to begin craving healthy foods. I love it–love how healthy food makes me feel and how it tastes.

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I agree! It’s amazing how our bodies adapt!

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Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm

there is some sort of rule that if you wait 15 minutes after you crave something your craving will disappear. I told that to a co-worker once and it worked for her. She came to my office with a piece of chocolate in her hand and was like help, I dont want this but I want to eat it, I asked her what it was that she really wanted and she said meatloaf, so I told her to through away the chocolate and go make meatloaf for dinner and it worked for her! Usually when I crave things I ask myself what is is that I really want and if its still chocolate or ice cream I will eat it!

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm

That is so awesome that she did that! It’s true though usually I’m craving or wanting something totally different but it’s getting masked in the form of chocolate.

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Kerry @ Totes My Oats January 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

This is so true! Cravings are totally based upon one’s diet!

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Agreed!

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Lisa January 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Great post Danielle! It is completely true that we get cravings based on our current diets! I know in high school when I ate the worst foods, I craved those. Now that I’ve made the switch to healthy foods, I mostly crave them! Because now they are good to me. I also crave those cereals sometimes, hey you only live once;)

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I totally agree! It’s all about a balance!

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GiGi Eats Celebrities January 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I crave FAT and SALT! So bring on some salmon!!! ;)

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Perfect! Love those healthy fats!

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Jessie bear January 31, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Oh that’s interesting how many times you have to try food to see if you really like it!

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danielle January 31, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Isn’t it! Makes me want to try so many things again that I already ruled out!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset February 1, 2013 at 1:40 am

Loved this Danielle, thank you for sharing your thoughts on such a delicate matter! I can relate with the chocoalte and sweet thing in general… once I start I literally feel like I am unable to quit! It’s both a mental and physical thing and also the idea of “ahh the hell with it, I have already given in!” and then eat more and more. But in what I just wrote is an issue…. “giving in” to cravings is just incorrect because it’s not a weakness. It’s our bodies telling us we need something here

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danielle February 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Very true! Sometimes when we need something it may be totally unrelated to food too and I think it’s so important to learn how to discover what you need. I’m writing a post on that concept too!

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish February 1, 2013 at 2:43 am

You really nailed the mystery behind cravings on the head, Danielle. When I was in college, I was consumed by the “diet mentality,” and therefore chose to fuel my body with “diet” foods. My favorites? Zone bars, sugar free jello, salt-laden Lean Cuisine dinners, and–my favorite–100 calorie pack Hostess mini cupcakes (three little ones to a package! ;) ) I truly CRAVED those foods all day, every day, so that’s what I ate. Sure, I threw some spinach leaves on my plate, too, but it was the sugar, salt and chocolate (in diet form) that I turned to over and over again. Now, when I go one or two meals without vegetables and lean meats, they’re all I want to eat. But that’s because they play a huge role in my regular diet! I can definitely relate to the cereal/ice cream/chocolate-only days though; there were plenty of them last semester (when I was reeeeally stressed), and I found that the more I ate, the more I craved! Great post! :) xoxo

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danielle February 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Thanks Sara. Good to know I’m not alone in feeling like this too. I lived off of diet foods in college. Fiber one cereal was probably 25% of my diet and it was all I craved.

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables February 1, 2013 at 3:13 am

Thanks for being so honest girl! I have def been eating bad after stopping my New Year New Rules challenge. I need to get back to veggies and fruit b/c I’m sluggish now. I do find myself craving healthier foods when I’m eating better. My cravings for junk disappear when I’m eating well

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danielle February 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Agreed! You will get out of it in no time!

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Melissa @ Fit 'n' Well Mommy February 1, 2013 at 6:48 am

When we come back from a trip where we have allowed ourselves to splurge, i.e. eat dessert, enjoy some french fries, a few too many cocktails, etc, all I crave is veggies. I just want a big bowl of salad with every veggie imaginable and grilled chicken when I get home. My husband usually feels the same way, since our bodies are used to eating “clean” and not consuming junk. We usually eat big salads for dinner the first couple of days of returning from vacation, just to get our bodies back to our regular routine.

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danielle February 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I totally agree! Last time I went on vacation all I wanted was a plate of veggies for the next couple days! It’s amazing how our bodies work.

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Jessica @ Prayers and Apples February 1, 2013 at 6:58 am

I’m notoriously bad at trying new things! But I think I need to take the child advice and give it 10-15 tries… instead of just ruling something out before I even have one lol :)

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danielle February 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Yes!!! Try it several times and several different ways. You just never know ;)

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Caitlin February 1, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I am SO the living example of that Fun Fact! I always have to go back to trying something new. I hated olives, onions, cucumbers, apples, and seafood for so long. Now I’m utterly OBSESSED!

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danielle February 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm

That’s too funny! You not liking seafood?! Now way.

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Meredith February 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm

So true! Awesome point. I never ate Brussels sprouts until 2 years ago and now I can’t get enough. But, as you point out, if I go a whole without em or other veggies.’x I stop craving them. But after a week of clean veggie-packed eating, they’re once again all I want. Outta eat good stuff to crave good stuff! Great post

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danielle February 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Thanks so much Meredith!

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Damjana February 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I haven’t thought of it but it’s true. I was eating salads almost every day in December for lunch. The sweet tooth left me about a year ago so I never have cravings for chocolate or similar.

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danielle February 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm

That is so great to hear!

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