No matter how committed you are to eating clean, food cravings are something that everyone experiences. Maybe your most potent craving is pizza or a burger. What about sweets or just about anything made from potatoes? Whatever food is “prohibited” from your diet that you occasionally yearn to indulge, know that you are not alone. 

Believe it or not, your food cravings may not be exactly what you think they are. In reality, when our bodies tell us they want something in particular to eat, it may actually be our minds associating a specific food that we enjoy to what our bodies are looking for. 

For example, if you are craving a burger and a big basket of fries, chances are your body is simply looking for something dense, salty, and protein-packed. So, instead of driving to your local burger joint for a juicy quarter-pounder and fried potatoes, try and satisfy your craving with something that offers the broader pillars of that same meal. Eating a leaner meat instead will offer you a healthy alternative without compromising the protein your body is looking for. Eating edamame or another veggie-based salty snack may fool your body into satisfying its craving for french fries. 

Check out the following 5 common cravings and healthier alternatives that will leave your mind and body happy you made the switch. 

POTATOES 

Potatoes. Potatoes. Potatoes. A guilty pleasure of the masses. Next time you are craving this savory and versatile carbohydrate, consider swapping it out for a sweet potato dish or even sauteed vegetable with spices and salt. Oftentimes, our craving for salt can result in “craving” foods like potatoes. Be experimental the next time you are looking to dive into some fries and figure out what healthier alternative settles your craving. 

PIZZA 

The next time that you are craving pizza, consider the plethora of healthier alternatives that you can chow down on that won’t be as compromising to your health goals. Switching out cheese for a dairy-free alternative or subbing out crust for a cauliflower base are just two ways to satisfy your pizza craving while still staying on your health and fitness track. 

OH SO SUGARY SWEETS 

If you have a vibrant sweet tooth, you may find yourself reaching for ice cream or cookies more times that you would like. Thankfully, there are countless ways to satisfy a sweet tooth without the consumption of carb-heavy, refined sugar-loaded sweets. From coconut-sugar based baked sweets and dairy-free ice creams to protein shakes that taste more like milkshakes, be sure to explore guilt-free sweets next time you are craving a sugar fix. 

WINGS 

You may think that chicken wings doused in sweet and spicy sauces pose a craving that can’t be curved. Well, you thought wrong. Whenever you are craving a basket of wings, consider going down the cauliflower route. While there couldn’t possibly be more differences between chicken and cauliflower, when baked and tossed in the sauce of your liking, you will be surprised at how quickly your craving subsides. 

RED MEAT 

Red meat has become increasingly controversial over the years. If you are someone who is looking to reduce their consumption of red meat, but are still battling some intense cravings, try and go with leaner meats or even plant-based alternatives to satisfy your cravings. From burgers and ground beef to bolognese and breakfast meats, you will be surprised by the amount of tasty plant-based options that are out there!

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