Is coronavirus stress giving you weird cravings? You're not alone

The coronavirus pandemic has caused us all a lot of stress and anxiety and if that has manifested itself into giving you some bizarre cravings – you’re not the only one.

Do cravings for certain types of foods increase with stress?

Virtually all stresses trigger a neurotransmitter called CRF (corticotropin releasing factor) in the hypothalamus, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. These are parts of the brain associated with craving-circuitry.

Most stress-related cravings are for highly palatable foods that are also high in calories, so things like cakes, burgers and other junk food favourites. But what about the more weirder, seemingly random cravings you might have been experiencing? Well that’s probably associated with psychological cognitive processes and memories having to do with the notion of comfort as we try to navigate this extremely stressful and extended disruption to our normal routines and way of life.

Basically, your brain chemistry is pushing the craving button in your brain due to stress, and the things you associate with happier times, home or people you love that make you feel secure is making you crave specific but seemingly random things. For example, that one type of Mr Kiplings cake your Grandma used to give you that you haven’t thought about in years.

How to beat stress related cravings

Try meditating

Meditating if practiced for as few as 10 minutes each day, can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation. There are apps you can download to help you get started.


The gyms might not be open yet but there are plenty of stress-busting exercises you can do at home or outside. Running, walking, or at-home HIIT sessions are great at getting you moving, clearing your mind and reducing stress.

Get organised

Having your meals planned out for the week or the month can really get you in a positive mindset and keep you from straying off the path. Investing in a meal prep delivery service is a fantastic way to do this if the thought of venturing to the supermarket tand cooking a week’s worth of meals seems too daunting right now.

Treat yourself

And remember to treat yourself to the things you’re craving every once in a while – it’s good for your mental and emotional happiness and can actually help you stick to your goals long-term.