What do we want? CHOCOLATE! When do we want it? NOW! We’re all too accustom to those period-induced cravings, but what actually causes them I hear you ask?
Well, in the lead up to your period, the pre-period stress hormone cortisol spikes along with the hormone oestrogen and the calming hormone serotonin dips — a combo that leaves you wanting sugary, carby, fatty, and salty comfort food.
So here are my top tips on how to manage these cravings:
1. Meet cravings halfway by eating healthy carbs. Whilst the ones we usually crave are those which are refined, sugary and fatty - instead choose healthy, slow-release carbs. Instead of fries, have baked sweet potato, instead of milk chocolate have dark - or some fruit. Although it's important to be kind to yourself during this time, not overdoing it when it comes to junk food can actually help you feel better before and during your period. Think wholemeal pasta, rice, whole grain bread and vegetables.
2. Keep up that iron intake! It is important to ensure you are getting enough iron in your diet to make up for the mineral loss from your period. Make sure you’re getting enough iron by eating lots of meat, fish, poultry, lentils or tofu.
3. Eat frequent, small meals. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, eating 3 big meals a day actually leads to increased hunger, overeating and food cravings. Try and have 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day to keep you fuller for longer and avoid those cravings!
4. Move your body! I know exercising is the last thing you wanna do when you get your period, but getting your body moving works wonders for those period cravings! It can be as gentle as a walk round the block, or a yoga class but anything to get the blood pumping will do the trick.
5. Plan ahead! This doesn’t mean stocking up on the best ice-cream, chocolate and cake - it means buying the right snacks and prepping what and when you’re gonna eat. Also making sure you’ve got a water bottle in your bag wherever you go will make sure you stay well hydrated and help eliminate those cravings!