Possible Causes for Cravings

According to Healthline, food cravings are very common and difficult to ignore, especially with a wide variety of snacks easily available to us. Here are some possible causes for your cravings:

Hormonal Imbalances

Cravings can be caused by imbalances in the hunger and fullness hormones – leptin, which decreases your appetite, and ghrelin, which increases your appetite. During pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), there are changes in the estrogen and progesterone hormones that can also cause food cravings.

Bad Habits

Lack of or poor-quality sleep can disturb hormone levels and sleep-wake cycles, possibly intensifying cravings, especially in the evenings. Another cause is poor hydration, which is why it’s important to drink enough water every day. One way to help curb cravings is to do some physical activity.

Diet issues

Protein and fibre keep you fuller for longer. Without these nutrients, you will feel hungry even if you eat enough calories. A nutrient-poor diet, and eating too many highly processed foods are possible causes of cravings. Refraining from eating the food you are craving completely may cause you to binge and repeat the bad diet cycle, so the best way is to have a little of it. For instance, if you are craving chips, eat a small portion of it with a sandwich instead of binging the whole bag.

Eating context

If you eat when you are stressed, in a bad mood, or doing something idle like watching videos, you will associate snacking with those feelings and activities and treat snacks as comfort food. Be mindful of when you are eating and especially what you are eating to gain control of your cravings.

Assortment of unhealthy junk food. Burger, french fries, hot dog, snack and sweets

Healthy Snack Options

We all love a good snack now and then, but the problem is that many of our go-to options are often packed with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, salt, and saturated fats. If you’re looking to snack more healthily, it’s time to replace some of those not-so-great choices with healthier alternatives.

Craving something salty?

Try eating some salted nuts or some pretzels. Nutwalker has a huge variety of nuts that can be a tasty snack on its own or it can be mixed with granola and seeds to make trail mixes. If you are craving classic potato chips, opt for those that are baked or kettle-cooked, because they use less oil. You could also try chips that are made of alternative ingredients such as vegetables or tempeh instead of potatoes.

Craving something sweet?

Ditch the refined sugars for natural sugars like the ones found in fruits. You can also slowly transition with flavoured types of nuts like dark chocolate pecans or coffee caramel almonds. Yoghurt is also a great option because it’s a great source of calcium, protein, and probiotics. You could add some berries and freeze them to make yoghurt bites – a delicious and healthy sweet treat.

Craving something crunchy?

For low-calorie snacks, opt for natural foods. Try fresh vegetables like sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, mini tomatoes, or baby carrots. They’re crunchy, packed in fibre, and hydrating, making them the perfect alternative to processed snacks. Eat them plain or dip them in greek yogurt or some hummus. Get all the nutrients from the veggies and stay fuller for longer with the plant-based protein from hummus.

Portion control

Rather than cutting out your favourite snacks completely, make little care packs that include a mix of your favourite “unhealthy” snacks and healthy foods so you have a balanced snack and will not over-eat. Nutritious snacks with natural ingredients will keep you satiated as well, so you won’t go crazy on a whole bag of processed foods.

Healthy school lunch box with fresh vegetables and fruits. Top view flat lay

Choosing the Healthier Snack

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, start with small changes. Choose some crunchy tempeh chips instead of overly processed potato chips. Opt for alternative snacks that use all-natural ingredients. Skip the typical snacks and choose to eat raw snacks like vegetables for some natural goodness. With a wide range of flavours available, it can be tempting to indulge in snacking. However, the key is to create a balance so you can enjoy the perfect snack without sacrificing your health.