Photo by Ava Sol
I know exactly when I am about to get my periods. Right before that time of the month rolls around my cravings go haywire, as I find myself consuming anything and everything in the pantry from cereal to chips. And it doesn’t stop there, my pre-menstrual cravings continue well into the 5 days of my cycle, where I become a human version of the Cookie Monster.
While you might get instant gratification by reaching for a canned soda or greasy fries, in the long run you will end up feeling worse and will regret your choices. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. The best way to avoid over-indulging while on your period is to pre-plan for your time of the month by analysing exactly what each craving means, and how to create a healthy substitute for it.
There is a science behind period cravings, with each specific craving sending you a message as to what you are lacking. If you are craving salty foods chances are your body is lacking in minerals and water. Instead of turning to refined salts try to incorporate foods that have sea or pink Himalayan salt as a natural alternative. Craving candy & sweets? You may be experiencing low blood sugar, which can be balanced through natural sugars found in fruit and raw, natural nuts.
By planning ahead and curating the proper menstruation menu you will notice an improvement in period pain, bloating, and a reduction in mood swings, all while having some delicious snacks – win-win!
Chocolate is a great food to help period cramps, but not just any chocolate will do. Dark chocolate is an excellent source of magnesium and contains antioxidants – the higher percentage of dark chocolate the better, as that means less sugar. Magnesium is known to assist with regulating mood swings, reducing breast tenderness and also helps to manage serotonin, the happy chemical! So keep your frown upside down by chewing on a few pieces of delicious dark chocolate. Recipe: Try out these insanely good Dark Chocolate Almond Bars that are vegan, gluten-free & refined-sugar-free for a healthy, tasty snack. If you’re a fan of coconut give these Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites a go, trust me you’ll be addicted
Make a summery fruit salad out of bananas, oranges and watermelon and top with a squeeze of vitamin-rich lemon – four fruits that contain the perfect combination of nutrients to help out with your period woes.
Bananas should be called the happy fruit, as they contain all the goodies such as potassium and B6 vitamins to make you smile! They can also assist with constipation, which can be an issue for a lot of people on their periods.
Got a case of the blues while in bleeding mode? Throw a couple of slices of oranges down your hatch and wait for the positive effect to kick in. Oranges contain both vitamin D and calcium, which when combined helps to battle depression and anxiety.
The natural sugars in watermelon can help reduce bloating, while providing the nutrients needed to fight the natural fatigue that comes from menstruation. Watermelon will also help keep your body hydrated due to its high water content, which will reduce cramping and increase energy.
We all know that veggies are good for us any time of the month, but there are a few golden greens that are particularly beneficial for that time of the month such as leafy greens and broccoli.
Leafy greens such as kale are incredibly high in iron and can help to replenish the supply your body has lost during menstruation. Consuming this vegetable will also help with boosting your general immunity, reduce pains and therefore increase your mood. Try out this Green Smoothie recipe or these addictive gluten-free Kale Chips.
This wonder-vegetable is high in magnesium, potassium and fibre, and will help to ease all of those horrible PMS symptoms. Similar to kale, broccoli is also a great source of iron, something that you will be losing a lot of through bleeding, so be sure to stock up on this nourish veg and whip up some tasty treats, such as Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic or these Healthy Broccoli Tater Tots, for something a bit more fun.
Get ready for a night at the movies, in the comfort of your own home with a big bowl of popcorn. Yes, you read that right. Just like other whole grains popcorn is great for your cycle as it boosts the production of serotonin. The main thing is to steer clear of salty toppings and get creative with healthy alternatives, such as this homemade alternative to caramel popcorn, which is free of corn syrup and dairy-free, meaning you can enjoy tasty snack guilt-free. Cinnamon Maple Caramel Popcorn recipe
For a more substantial snack get some juicy salmon on your plate. It’s the perfect period snack being rich in vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help out with calming your muscles and reducing some of the pain from those nasty cramps. Plus, it’s so delicious! Check out this healthy, low-carb recipe for Chilli Salmon Bites with Zucchini Noodles, or for something more bite-sized try this recipe for Salmon Tartare Cucumber Bites. Note: If you’re not a fan of fish or are vegetarian then stock up on walnuts or avocado, both perfect Omega-3 substitutes. Try out this tasty Avocado & Walnut Spread with the Kale Chips we mentioned earlier!