Why Do I Crave Chicken? Top 4 Reasons

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why do I crave chicken

Do you ever find yourself wondering, “why do I crave chicken, day and night?” 

These food cravings could be the result of a variety of different things happening in your body. You might crave meat because your body is lacking protein or other nutrients like iron or zinc.

Or you may be suffering from an illness that causes cravings for certain foods to ease digestion and control nausea. The list goes on!

This blog post will explore why some people crave chicken in more detail. We’ll discuss why this happens and what we can do about it!

1 – Protein Deficiency

When we don’t get enough protein in our diet, this can show up as food cravings for meat or other high protein foods like eggs or beans.

Make no mistake, if you are protein-deficient then your body will send cravings for meat so that you consume more protein. Why? Because protein is really important to your body!

Protein serves vital functions such as:

  • building and repairing muscle tissue
  • keeping our hair, skin, nails healthy
  • making hormones like insulin that regulate blood sugar levels

In fact, the list goes on. Protein is one of the most important nutrients in your body. It’s the most likely the reason you are craving chicken! You are actually craving protein!

Now why would you be protein-deficient in the first place? There are many reasons:

  • You could have increased the intensity of your workouts and now your body is falling behind on it’s protein reserves
  • You don’t eat enough in general
  • When you do eat you mainly eat carbs (which temporarily fill you up but then you’ll get hungry a short while later)
  • You think you are eating enough protein but you actually are not.

What does craving meat mean?

In fact, generally speaking, a meat craving is a sign you’re protein deficient!

Perhaps the strongest sign of being protein-deficient is when you don’t care what type of meat you eat, as long as you get any type of meat. You’re craving meat, no matter what type.

For example, if you are craving chicken but steak or pork sound equally good, then this open-ended food craving suggests you are protein-deficient.

(There are other reasons too … like perhaps you are iron deficient … but the most likely reason is lacking protein)

Tips to eat more protein

30g of high protein rich food examples like 5 eggs, strips of bacon, protein powder scoop

If you think you might be protein deficient then your strategy is simple:

Try increasing the amount of protein-rich foods that you eat, which will help with your food cravings.

You might want to add in things like nuts/seeds and legumes into your daily diet so that you have enough protein. This should decrease those cravings considerably!

You can also try adding in more high-protein sources like:

  • chicken, beef, turkey
  • eggs
  • beans and lentils

Additionally, you can try eating more whole grains. Not only are they high in protein but they also are a healthy source of fiber which will help keep things moving through your digestive tract and reduce cravings for chicken (and other meats).

Ultimately meat is one of the best sources of protein out there so why not make it part of more meals? 

While various meats do contain different amounts of protein, in general meats are one of the best sources of protein.

Stir-fries work well with lots of vegetables and some leaner cuts like beef or pork. 

Chicken can help provide much needed lean protein and also deliver key amino acids like tryptophan which helps to boost serotonin levels in our brain.

Find recipes online to see what works best for you! Remember, as obvious as this may sound, hunger is one of the main why you’re hungry.

2 – Want Full Satisfied Feeling

eating satisfaction content feeling stomach

You know that feeling you get after a nice, hearty meal eaten slowly while enjoying the company of friends?

Where you feel comfortable and satisfied after you finish eating? And the meal was so good that you didn’t even get hungry or think about food for hours?

We all crave this nice, full, satisfied feeling.

Ideally we’d like to get this feeling every time after eating, however various things can block us from this food satisfaction.

There are many obstacles which prevent you from having satisfying meals such as:

  • Being rushed and not having enough time to eat
  • Eating too many carbs and sugary foods
  • Being stressed out in general
  • Eating distractedly

And … another major reason you may not feel satisfied after eating is … you are missing protein!

That’s right! For example, you don’t have that nice, full satisfied feeling after eating and instead you are now craving red meat.  Perhaps you are craving chicken because chicken is a great source of protein. 

If you are lacking protein in your diet then you will not feel satisfied after eating.

Please note again: if you are truly lacking protein in your diet and are craving meat, then the craving can  be more general. You could eat steak, pork, chicken – any type of meat would satisfy you. This is a sign of protein deficiency.

However, if you are just craving chicken specifically this could mean you’re engaging in emotional eating …

3 – Chicken Comfort Food

binge eating disorder picture of woman binge eating tons of food in front of her on the table

If you are craving chicken, but would be fine with a different type of meat, this again signals protein deficiency.

But, what if you only crave chicken specifically?

If you are only craving chicken and don’t care for any other type of meat then this situation is different.

What does this mean?

It’s what we call “emotional eating.”

For example, if you only want chicken then I am guessing you also only want fried chicken, or chicken from a fast food restaurant like KFC. Am I right?

Sometimes people have go-to comfort foods that they turn to in stressful times. In fact sometimes people start craving chicken when they get stressed!

Is chicken your comfort food you habitually turn to in tough times?

If you are habitually used to eating chicken for comfort food when stressed, then your chicken cravings are not signals of protein deficiency!

Rather, your cravings for chicken are more a sign of an unmet emotional need.

A common sign of emotional eating is guilt, because deep down you know you had to face your sadness and food was only a temporary short cut. 

4 – B Vitamins

vitamin b12 foods

Chicken is also rich in B vitamins, which are essential for energy production.

If you are lacking in B vitamins then it could mean that your cravings for chicken will be stronger.

For example, if you struggled with energy levels throughout the day and decided to eat more protein-rich foods, but still struggle with low energy despite eating this way … perhaps you need to look at whether your body isn’t getting enough absorbing B Vitamins.

B Vitamins can come from many different sources such as:

  • meats like chicken
  • vegetables like spinach or broccoli
  • beans & legumes
  • seeds/nuts and whole grains!

If any of these food groups don’t make up a large part of your diet . . . why not?  Include them now!

Why do you crave meat on your period?

The mystery behind increased meat cravings while menstruating is pretty simple.

To explain, allow me to first talk about iron.

You need iron in your bloodstream because iron helps the body make hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is a protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of your body and carbon dioxide back to the lungs where it can be exhaled.

So because of iron, you breathe out carbon dioxide, which is why you breathe out CO2 after inhaling O! Pretty cool huh?

Now if you are losing blood then your iron blood levels are going to decrease.

As iron is an important mineral to your body, your body will send you cravings to get you to eat more iron!

Cravings for certain foods like meat or dark leafy greens which also contain iron are simply your body’s way to satisfy it’s need for iron!

And now here is where meat comes in … meat contains lots of iron!

One of the reasons vegetarians can develop iron deficiency anemia is because they stop eating meat but then fail to replace their iron consumption.

Ok, hope this answers this final question!

Final Food Cravings Thoughts

As you can see, protein is an essential nutrient for the body. If you’re asking yourself, “why do I crave chicken?” well… I hope you got your answer now!

Action steps…

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to get enough protein in your diet through both animal and plant-based sources.

If you are feeling hungry or craving things like chicken all of the time, this could be because your brain needs more protein!

However, emotional factors are complex. There could be emotional factors as well. For example, did you know sunlight impacts your mental health? Not getting enough sunlight could potentially impact your cravings.

Yet overall, the primary causes of chicken cravings have to do with protein, hunger and fullness.

Luckily there are plenty of high-quality options out there that will keep you full without breaking the bank.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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