what to do when you’re desperate for carbs

Fitness guru Sam Wood is equipping us with the tools to get through cravings and stick to our fitness goals.

Food cravings are normal. In fact, they’re incredibly common. Food cravings can be triggered by the simplest things. It might be an ad on tv or the scent walking past your local pizza shop. Here are some examples of common cravings, why you might be experiencing them along with some healthier alternatives to help you curb them.

Like what you see? Sign up to our newsletter to read more stories like this.

Carb cravings, for example, can be the result of not eating enough. They can also arise when our meals aren’t nutritionally balanced and we’re not getting a good mix of protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. It’s also common to crave carbs when we’re stressed or lacking energy. Eating 3 balanced meals every day and reducing stress are great ways to combat carb cravings.

What to eat when you’re craving carbs/five seconds away from consuming a whole pizza and a loaf of bread:

  • A slice of sourdough toast with nut butter or avocado
  • Homemade sweet potato chips
  • Hummus with pita bread
  • Cheese and crackers (I love Carman’s seed crackers)
  • Veggie loaf or savoury muffins
  • Roast chickpeas or fava beans

If you’re craving sweet foods, your body probably requires fast energy. One of the quickest things that our body can break down for energy is glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar and is found in many sweet foods (hence the sweet cravings). To combat this, we should keep our blood sugar levels balanced with healthy meals and snacks. However, if the cravings take control there are some healthier options to your typically treats and lollies:

  • Gelatin Gummies – good for your gut health and a sweet fix coming from fruits
  • Frozen berries or grapes
  • Sliced apple/pear with nut butter
  • Banana or other fruit
  • Medjool date stuffed with nut butter
  • Yoghurt and berries
  • Small chia pudding
  • Liquorice or cinnamon tea

Easter might have just passed but chocolate cravings don’t just come about when the bunnies do. Chocolate cravings might be out of habit, your body’s desire for sugar/energy, because you’re low in magnesium or because it’s linked to other cravings such as sweets or caffeine. Here are some healthy options when you’re craving choc:

  • 85% dark chocolate
  • Healthy hot chocolate
  • Chocolate covered nuts
  • Strawberries dipped in chocolate

Salt cravings can be a result of dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance, so it can be a good idea to hydrate. Drink a glass of water, have a cup of herbal tea, sip on some coconut water or add a splash of lime juice and Himalayan salt to a glass of water to stay hydrated. If you’re really craving salty food but want a healthier solution, try some of these:

  • Tamari almonds or pepitas
  • Popcorn with sea salt
  • Olives or olive dip
  • Seaweed or seaweed crackers
  • Homemade kale chips
  • Miso soup

It’s important to acknowledge that we all experience cravings but when you do, make smart choices, keep control of your portion sizes and of course maintain some level of willpower and discipline.

Sam Wood is a Melbourne-based fitness expert and founder of 28 by Sam Wood online fitness program. He has worked in the health, fitness and business industries for more than 19 years.