What your food cravings really mean

Do you lust after savoury snacks or dream of rice puddings and pancakes? Your food cravings can actually say a lot about your current mood.

You crave: Macaroni cheese, rice pudding, bread and pancakes You're feeling: Lonely Instead try: Pasta and tomato sauce, apples, bowl of fibre cereal with milk It's possible we try to fight loneliness with stodgy, stomach-filling foods. These tend to be high in carbohydrate which, combined with low protein, can help with the formation of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps to regulate mood. To be healthier, swap some of the stodgier options for bulky fruits like apples, and go for pasta dishes with tomato-based, not creamy or cheesy, sauces. High-fibre cereal is also a nutritious filler.

You crave: Spare ribs, crusty baguettes You're feeling: Angry Instead try: Lean steak, carrots, celery When we need to take out our anger, textured foods we can chomp and chew may seem more appealing. There's nothing wrong in this, but limit the amount of fatty options (like spare ribs). Go for unprocessed lean meats instead, like steak and chicken, and bite on chewy veg, such as celery, carrots and broccoli. Crusty bread is fine in moderation if it's wholegrain, but don't add lots of butter.

You crave: Trifle, custard You're feeling: Weepy Instead try: Vegetable soup, stewed fruit People experiencing bereavement or divorce may crave soft or liquid textured foods, maybe as a return to the nursery foods they had as children. Instead of trifle and custard, take comfort from nutritious vegetable soups, stews and stewed fruit, or a bowl of fruit crumble.

You crave: Sweet foods and caffeine You're feeling: Down Instead try: Potatoes, spinach, Brazil nuts, oily fish Sugary cups of tea and coffee, cake and chocolate are eaten to boost energy levels when we feel low. Maybe we connect them with love and comfort. Instead, try foods rich in vitamin B1 and folic acid, like potatoes, selenium-rich Brazil nuts, and omega 3 rich oily fish.

You crave: Salty foods like crisps and soy sauce You're feeling: Stressed Instead try: Plain roasted nuts It's not just fatty, sugary foods that hit the spot when we're stressed - some people crave salty snacks, but these raise your intake of blood pressure-raising sodium. Go for natural roasted peanuts, which taste savoury and boost levels of magnesium, a stress-busting nutrient.

Where to next? Try our No-Crave Diet Beat The Blues Diet Is eating making you hungry?

Editor in Chief

Anna Bailey has been the editor of GoodtoKnow since 2018. Before joining the team she was Features Editor at MSN UK, where she oversaw Family Health and Days Out. Previously, she was Digital Lifestyle Editor for the broadcaster UKTV, and Lifestyle Editor for ITV.com. Anna studied Multi-Media Journalism at Bournemouth University and went on to gain her NCTJ and NCE journalism qualifications. Anna is responsible for driving the direction and editorial strategy of Goodto. A mum and experienced baby product tester, she is passionate about providing safe, trustworthy, and relatable advice for families of all kinds.