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Selection of  deserts in a box, with fruit and popcorn in surrounding containers.

Just about everyone experiences food cravings so does this make cravings a normal part of a healthy appetite or are they something to fight or fear?

In a recent Healthy Tasmania survey people told us food cravings was a top nutrition concern.

We must eat to live and it’s normal for food to give us pleasure.

A food craving or an intense desire for a particular food or foods can be a result of many things:

  • they are our body’s way of telling us what we need. It’s good to start exploring what the message is really telling us. For example, a desire for sweet or high fat foods could mean we may not have eaten for a while and need a quick energy fix
  • restricting food or foods can actually increase our desire for them
  • cravings can also be linked to emotions like happiness. Your desire for a food may be you actually trying to recreate a positive feeling such as eating ice-cream on a beach holiday
  • cravings can also be based on what’s around us: the smell of a restaurant or an advertisement you see.

So next time you get a food craving, take a moment to think about what the cause may be.

While cravings are normal, here are several ways to reduce them:

  • nourish yourself with regular meals and snacks
  • eat foods you enjoy
  • keep hydrated
  • do pleasurable things not based on food such as going for a walk, reading a book or spending time in the garden
  • reduce stress. Selfcare is important, if you need help emotionally seek support
  • try taking a neutral approach to food, with no foods off limits. Healthy eating is based on a healthy relationship with all foods and eating.

Remember, if you have uncontrolled and unsatisfied cravings, check in with your GP for a check-up.

For more information about living a healthy life visit Healthy Tasmania

By Alison Ward
Community dietitian
Department of Health


image: Incorporate regular times when you include sweet and savoury foods or those foods you crave.