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What Your Food Cravings Say About Your Needs

What Your Food Cravings Say About Your Needs


Do you ever find yourself digging in the back of the pantry for a sweet treat after a stressful day? Are you suddenly hit with a hankering for a big bowl of pasta or a warm milky beverage? What is it about food cravings that can overtake us so strongly?

Our relationships with food can be complex and interwoven with so many factors. It is important to be gentle and compassionate with yourself when reflecting on your nutrition habits. We are hardwired to seek out dopamine (a feel-good neurotransmitter in our brains), and food can be a major source of that for us, for better and for worse.

Food cravings can be our bodies way of letting us know that there is a need of ours that is not getting met, whether that is a vitamin or mineral need, or even an emotional or physical need. The intelligence of our bodies will do whatever it takes to get that need met, which sometimes leads us down unhealthy avenues. Regardless, we can stop to appreciate the fact that our bodies are responding to us, and it is our job to listen for what our needs are and respond in ways that lead us to more aliveness.

Image is of a woman with a wooden platter of food including a smoothie, croissants, bagels with lox, and blueberries.
Photo by Phil Desforges

Disclaimer: This article offers insights into the potential connections between food cravings, emotional states, and physical needs. It’s important to note that the information provided is for general awareness and educational purposes only.

The content provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any underlying health conditions, dietary restrictions, or concerns about your nutritional needs, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a qualified healthcare provider or registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.

Additionally, the article discusses the psychological and emotional aspects of food cravings. While certain cravings might indeed have emotional triggers, it’s essential to approach this information with an open and mindful perspective. If you are struggling with emotional eating, disordered eating patterns, or other psychological issues related to food, seeking guidance from a licensed therapist or mental health professional is encouraged.

What your food cravings might be telling you:


People who tend to reach for sweets excessively have a really sweet need on an emotional level, which is for joy, the sweetness of life, and appreciation. They are often really busy people who’s daily grind drains the sweetness from their life. It is also said that sugar cravings can point to various different vitamin and mineral deficiencies, most notable is a magnesium deficiency.

Mindful shift: They key for reducing sugar cravings is balancing blood sugar. Start your day with a high protein breakfast and eat regularly throughout the day. Also, plan an activity that you can look forward to during your day, something that brings joy and the sweetness of life into focus.


Salty food cravings are often the result of someone who is feeling stressed, frustrated, or dehydrated. Too much salt, though, can create more tension and stress in the body. The key with salt is balance. We need it to function, and we have to be mindful to not overdo it.

Mindful shift: When you find yourself craving a salty snack, drink some water with a pinch of salt to active electrolytes. Try also doing something to relax you, perhaps an epsom salt bath could be a really nice way to replenish your body and mind.


Those of us who can withstand the pain of level 5 spicy and keep on eating as the sweat and tears flow, are a special breed. The emotional connection here is that folks who look for the thrill in spicy food, are feeling like they are missing the thrill of life. They are seeking action towards adventure and excitement.

Mindful shift: Try something new! Sign up for a new dance class, go on a new and challenging hike, seek the spirit of adventure and give yourself a thrill that won’t cause a belly ache.


Are you yearning for cheese, ice cream, warm milky beverages? Are you also in need of mothering, or are you potentially excessively mothering/care-taking? We all came into this world dependent on milk, so it is no wonder that those of us who need mothering or are mothering others, are seeking that nourishment, grounding, and soothing.

Mindful shift: how can you offer yourself some care and mothering? Sit in meditation with your inner child and ask them what they need to feel well mothered. Those who are caretakers, create some safe space for yourself to rest and feel cared for.


Those of us seeking a warm, comforting hug find our home within carbs. Fresh baked breads, a steaming baked potato, a saucy bowl of pasta, all the best things in life. The need behind wanting to dive into carb overload is that we are looking for comfort. When life gets hard, carbs can give us the hug and the energy we need to keep going.

Mindful shift: Reach out to trusted loved ones for a comforting chat. Talk about what is hard and receive an actual, physical warm hug. Then eat pizza with friends you love. It really is all about balance.

Important Note:

Depriving yourself of foods that we deem as unhealthy – sweets, pizza, salty snacks – only makes you want it more. Think of children with this, make the cookies off limits and they are suddenly shoving them in their mouth as you turn away. There is no such thing as “bad” foods, it’s all just food. Give yourself permission to eat intuitively. It is when you know that you can truly eat what you desire that you can then allow you body to tell you what it really needs.

You can then ask yourself, do you really want the whole box of Oreo’s, or is that craving trying to mask something that you are truly needing? This isn’t about eating less so that we can look like whoever is on the cover of Sports Illustrated, or even eating foods that are deemed “unhealthy. This is about becoming mindful about what we consume so that we are truly caring for our bodies on a deeper level.

What do you feel like your food cravings mean for you? Message us @Maidenfolk on Instagram and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below!

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