Cravings are a sign from the body either nutritionally or emotionally. The body is telling us we need something. Sometimes what we are missing are certain nutrients, hence the sign of a craving. Sometimes our emotions influence our cravings. Cravings are not a bad thing, and we should listen to them, but we have to listen carefully. With that being said we can't listen to them all the time.
We do have cravings that are due to advertisements, which probably happens to you more often than you think. Ever watch tv, listen to the radio, or read a magazine and you are aren't particularly hungry and either after hearing or seeing a specific food advertisement you all of a sudden crave that food item or one similar? Well I know it has happened to me!!! More than I would like to admit. The advertisements affect our emotions or we may be in a sensitive emotional state and we see/hear an advertisement which then effects our food choices. These kind of cravings are due to the advertisement, emotions. What happens is that we may go and find this specific food item, eat it, and not feel satisfied. Because what we are feeding either isn't very nourishing or we didn't necessarily need it. This can lead to overeating either that food item or something else because we haven't felt that sense of satisfaction.
The former cravings, nutritional cravings we should feed when we feel them. This means our body wants this food item, needs it feel that sense of satiation that the body is altering us with via a sign of a craving. It can be difficult at times to distinguish between real cravings versus advertisement/emotional or "non-real" cravings. You have to listen to your body and ask yourself, "Do I really want (fill in the blank)?". If the answer is maybe, I can live without eating it, or no then you know it isn't a real craving. If the answer is YES I want this and when you eat it you feel that sense of satiation and satisfaction from the food item then you know it is a real food craving.
I love boxed Mac n' Cheese, always have! I used to live on it during college. I was craving instant mac n' cheese, and I knew this was a real craving, because I asked myself what about making a sandwich, eggs, or some left overs I have in my freezer. Nothing sounded satisfying to me. I wanted the salty and cheesy taste that mac n' cheese has. Another reason I knew it was a real craving is that I am an avid exerciser and living in Miami it is terribly hot, so I sweat a lot. The craving of the flavor of salt I knew that my body was telling me that I may be a bit deficient in salt. So I decided to find a better alternative to the instant mac n' cheese I always used to eat. I found Annie's Gluten-free Mac n' Cheese. It is made without any additives, fillers, and fake colorings. It is gluten free because the macaroni are made out of rice flour. Cravings don't have to be bad for you foods. You can crave good foods, better foods and nourishing foods. Like this one, I decided to not make the former instant mac n' cheese I used to always eat that had a super long list of terrible ingredients for you. Finding the better alternative of the food item you are craving if it isn't a real food is so much better for you. It was just as good as I remember when it was a regular in my college diet but much better for me, and it totally hit the spot!