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Why Am I Craving Cereal? (What it Means & Simple Solutions)

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 3 February 2022

A recent change in eating habits may have you asking yourself, “Why am I craving cereal, and what does this mean?”

First, acknowledge that cravings are normal and there’s no reason to feel guilty. Food is a source of joy for many people and with or without cereal, eating gives us life.
So when making dietary changes, it’s important to see cravings for what they are – mere desires.

Try not to let cereal cravings get the best of you or ruin your diet but instead, find out why you’re craving cereal in the first place and equip yourself with solutions to cure those desires.

Reasons Why You Crave Cereal

There is a multitude of emotional and physical triggers that cause cravings so it’s important to consider all possible reasons you are craving cereal. Those little cravings can come from random thoughts, be triggered my specific emotions like guilt or shame, certain environments where you’re more likely to eat poorly, or sometimes women may notice they’re eating a lot of cereal while pregnant. 

So why you are craving cereal specifically could be deep rooted in your habits and food preferences, here’s common reasons cravings come about:

  • Stress: Research has associated chronic stress and increased cravings [1]. Taking small steps to reduce stress levels reduces the number of stress-related cravings.
  • Mental cues: Studies show food deprivation increases cravings for foods deemed off-limits [2]. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding restriction leads to greater success in reducing cravings.
  • Mood or emotions: Emotional eating is eating as a result of a mood or emotion rather than due to hunger. Learning to recognize the difference in emotional and physical hunger combats eating during difficult times. And if all else fails, an emotional eating coach can help guide you towards better eating habits.   
  • Insulin sensitivity: Insulin regulates the body’s energy supply by balancing micronutrient levels and any insulin disruption can disrupt the body’s response to food [3]. Exercise combats this, as physical activity positively affects insulin sensitivity [4].
  • Food Addiction: Research indicates the validity of food addiction as a diagnosis, particularly foods high in sugar and refined ingredients [5]. Regular exercise and eating a balanced diet reduce addiction to unhealthy food.
  • Hormones: Fluctuating hormones cause an increase in cravings and a reduction in feelings of satisfaction after eating [1]. Again, regular exercise and balanced diet help with hormone regulation. 
  • Medication: Certain medications (such as antidepressants and antipsychotics) increase appetite and weight due to interference with signals from the brain letting a person know they are full [1]. Discuss these side effects with your doctor to explore an alternative option. 

Sometimes we can mitigate some of these issues and that alone can be the solution, but if you can’t address those matters in particular, a holistic approach can solve cereal cravings from the inside-out. 

Solutions to Deal With Cravings

No matter the situation or craving, it helps to be mindful of solutions available to mitigate cravings when they occur. A few tactics to try when you feel a cereal craving include: 

  1. Substitute with healthier or more filling options. Consider the options discussed above such as oatmeal or lower sugar cereals. 
  2. Eat more or less often. Smaller, more frequent meals help curb cravings. Additionally, not eating enough throughout the day can lead to increased cravings.  
  3. Eat balanced meals. Choosing snacks or meals that are high in protein and fiber can be more filling. Protein-packed meals provide a longer-lasting feeling of fullness and satisfaction [6].
  4. Drink more water. Cravings can often be a result of dehydration and the body confusing hunger with thirst [6]. Increasing water can help curb cravings by preventing them in the first place. 

Healthy Cereals & Alternatives

Some cereals appear healthy on the surface but a deeper dive into their ingredients proves otherwise.

Corn Flakes, for example, seem healthier than Frosted Corn Flakes since they contain less sugar. A deeper investigation of the nutrition label reveals Corn Flakes replace the sugar with extra sodium. 

Next, arm yourself with the knowledge of the best cereals for weight loss. Be aware of healthier options to reach for when a cereal craving hits. Although some cereals are high in sugar such as Honey Nut Cheerios, they can still be good for weight loss if eaten in moderation.  

If you’re interested in a cereal alternative, there are several delicious breakfast options worth trying:

  • Oatmeal is filling and there are several delicious ways to serve it (Learn how much oatmeal to eat in a day for weight loss)
  • Whole grain bread toasted with nut butter and fruit
  • All-natural, low sugar granola and yogurt 
  • Breakfast smoothies (Make these at home to save money and calories!)

When making a lifestyle change, it’s important to recognize cravings are likely to occur and that’s okay. It’s also natural to experience feelings of frustration when experiencing cravings or even if you give in to that sweet bowl of cereal.

The key is to understand what causes cravings and how to combat them when they arise. Do your best to arm yourself with healthy alternatives and solutions to find back the next time you’re craving cereal.  

So the next time you find yourself asking, “Why am I craving cereal?”, keep this article in mind and either have an alternative treat or dial in your diet so you’re not left hungry all the time. 

References

[1] Cravings. The Nutrition Source. (2021, December 14). Retrieved January 29, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/cravings/ 

[2] Meule, A. (2020, September). The Psychology of Food Cravings: The role of food deprivation. Current nutrition reports. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399671/ 

[3] Rahman, M. S., Hossain, K. S., Das, S., Kundu, S., Adegoke, E. O., Rahman, M. A., Hannan, M. A., Uddin, M. J., & Pang, M.-G. (2021, June 15). Role of insulin in health and disease: An update. International journal of molecular sciences. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8232639/ 

[4] HA;, B. L. B. K. (n.d.). Exercise and insulin sensitivity: A Review. International journal of sports medicine. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10683091/ 

[5] Gordon, E. L., Ariel-Donges, A. H., Bauman, V., & Merlo, L. J. (2018, April 12). What is the evidence for “Food addiction?” A systematic review. Nutrients. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946262/ 

[6] NewsWire, H. R. (2020, January 15). Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight. The Hub. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://hub.jhu.edu/at-work/2020/01/15/focus-on-wellness-drinking-more-water/ 

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.