Who hasn't experienced chocolate cravings at one point in their life? They're notorious!
(If you haven't, I'm not sure if you're human...joking but seriously...how? Tell me your secrets!)
I'm all about balanced eating and enjoying your favourite foods but I'm sure you know that feeling when your chocolate addiction has gone a little crazy! haha
And while it's no crime to love and enjoy this tasty treat, your cravings could be more than a desire to devour an entire block in 5 seconds.
1. Your Cycle
For all my amazing women out there, I'm sure you are all to familiar with chocolate cravings around your time of the month.
This is because when your oestrogen drops – approximately we (aka your happy hormone) also drops, while your cortisol (stress hormone) starts to rise.
Therefore, you'll naturally find yourself reaching for foods that will increase your serotonin e.g. CHOCOLATE!
However, complex carbohydrates are also great for serotonin so try reaching for something like brown rice or sweet potato to satisfy those cravings.
2. You're Not Eating Enough Fat or Protein
Carbohydrates are amazing but be sure to also enjoy them with a source of good fat or protein.
When you eat a high starchy meal, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for a guaranteed chocolate craving.
The energy from carbohydrates can be absorbed very quickly, keeping you from feeling full or satisfied.
Combat this by choosing complex carbohydrates - slower release of energy - and adding healthy sources of fats and proteins to your meals.
3. Your Emotions
Apparently a lot of eating and snacking is emotional! When we're having a bad day or want a reward, it's easy to fulfil those emotions with food.
Stress is also a big one! Because when our body gets stressed, it starts producing cortisol.
This hormone not only increases your appetite, but also you motivation e.g. your motivation to stuff your face!
And it's not surprising that chocolate is high on the list for stress-related cravings.
For a short time foods, like chocolates, will stop the part of the brain producing these stressful emotions and make you feel better however, it’s often only a short-term solution.
Stress and emotional cravings are better dealt with through exercise, meditation, having some time to relax properly or taking the time to see what else is going in your life and why you may be feeling the way you.
E.g. If you're feeling lonely, why not give a friend or family member a call for a nice chat?
4. Your Deficient
While the research isn't 100% certain, chocolate is naturally high in magnesium and therefore it is thought that cravings for chocolate could indicate that your body is needing more magnesium.
The solution for this is easy!
Simply enjoy healthier alternatives that are high in magnesium such as raw almonds, black beans or whole grains.
5. You Developed A Habit
Just like some people bite their nails or others crack their knuckles, your craving for chocolate at 3pm or after dinner every night could simply mean that you've developed a habit.
The best solution for this is awareness. Each time you fill your habit starting to kick in ask your self - Do you really want this? Are you really craving it? Are you really hungry?
If you're not eating enough during the day, then a 3pm chocolate bar is going to be hard to kick!
So be sure you're eating enough through out the day and filing your meals a combination of complex carbs, fats and proteins. (Check out these for more information 5 Rules To Building A Nourishing Meal, and Your Ultimate Guide To Portion and Size Control)
Also having healthier alternatives on hand such as your favourite herbal tea - e.g. lemongrass, peppermint or rooibos - or my raw Reece Peanut Butter Cups are a life saver!
So the next time you get a big chocolate craving be sure to come back to this guide, and determine what your body is telling you.
But ALSO remember that it's totally ok to enjoy your favourite treats here and there! Food is to be enjoyed!
Be sure to let me know your thoughts, opinions and ideas. I always love hearing from you.