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?

Anna Bailey
Digital Editor

Anna Bailey is the editor of GoodTo. She joined the team in June 2018 but has been a lifestyle writer and online editor for more than 14 years. Anna graduated from Bournemouth University in 2004 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism and went on to gain her NCTJ and NCE  journalism qualifications. She began her career in local journalism, working as a reporter for the Basingstoke Gazette in Hampshire.  As Lifestyle Editor for ITV.com she managed the websites for the broadcaster’s best-loved shows including This Morning, Loose Women, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Coleen's Real Women, and Britain's Best Dish. Before joining Goodto.com she was also a Features Editor at MSN UK and Digital Lifestyle Editor for the broadcaster UKTV. She’s also contributed to The Mirror, The Sun, LoveFood, LoveExploring, and TBSeen.