PMS, Premenstrual Syndrome, is basically a group of changes that happens before your monthly period. It’s completely normal and happens to most women (90% of women have some form of PMS symptoms).
It’s usually caused by hormonal changes brought by the menstrual cycle, and some of its signs and symptoms are mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, tender breasts, and even depression. For a lot of women, serotonin levels drop, which causes mood swings (so it’s important to try to increase serotonin levels in that period). You might also notice a drop in blood sugar.
Food cravings are definitely one of the most common symptoms of PMS. Those are intense food cravings that happen a week or two before your period, and they include hunger and cravings for specific foods.
Depending on how bad your cravings tend to get, and depending on your body and health, the PMS cravings can potentially mess with your diet at that period of time.
However, understanding PMS can help you combat its symptoms, including food cravings.
So, to help you keep your PMS food cravings in order, I’m sharing some useful tips on how to deal with PMS cravings.
How To Deal With PMS Cravings
Opt For Complex Carbs
If you’re craving carbs, eat complex carbs instead of simple carbs. Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and whole grain cereals can help keep your blood sugar levels normal, and it can also help reduce your period cravings.
Eat Small Meals Frequently
Another way to keep your blood sugar levels and your food cravings in line, is eating smaller meals more frequently. Instead of having three large meals, you can have 5 smaller ones. That will help with your PMS cravings because you’ll be eating more frequently, and you’ll have shorter breaks in between meals, so you won’t crave food in the long breaks you usually have between meals. Or, you can eat smaller portions for your three main meals, and then have 2 snacks during the day. See which works best for you, and which option makes you feel good.
Since your food intake will likely be larger than it usually is, working out can definitely help you not gain weight or ruin your diet. If you normally don’t work out, you can work out while you’re in PMS, and if you do work out normally, you can maybe do it a bit more in that period. Try doing cardio as well as exercises with weights, so you burn fat and burn more calories. That way, the extra calories you’ll intake during your PMS cravings won’t mess with your fitness goals. Working out can also help increase serotonin levels, which will help with mood swings.
Eat Portion-Controlled Amounts Of Your Cravings
PMS cravings are most definitely a real thing, and it can really be torture sometimes if you stop yourself from eating those cravings. So, when you have a craving and you need to eat something unhealthy you’re craving, try eating portion-controlled amounts.
That way, you’re still satisfying your craving, but you aren’t messing with your diet too much.
Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods
One of the most common PMS cravings is chocolate. But, if you’re craving chocolate, it might mean your magnesium levels are low. So, try eating magnesium-rich foods, and see if your chocolate craving goes away.
Some healthy magnesium-rich foods are leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, peanut butter, etc.
If your chocolate craving doesn’t go away, eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. It’s still chocolate so it will satisfy your craving, but it’s healthier.
Eat Healthy Foods When You’re Not Feeling Cravings
Since PMS usually lasts at least a week, you probably won’t have food cravings all day every day during that period. So, if you see you don’t have any cravings at a time, take advantage of that and eat healthy foods. That way, when you do get the cravings, it won’t be that bad, since you ate healthy before, so that unhealthy meal won’t affect you that much.
Find Alternatives For Your Cravings
When your cravings are too strong to ignore, apart from eating smaller portions of those unhealthy things, there is another thing you can do.
You can find healthier alternatives for your cravings that will still satisfy them, but be better for you. For example, when you’re craving carbs, eat complex carbs like whole grains. When you’re craving chocolate, eat dark chocolate. When you’re craving ice cream, eat a healthy homemade version. When you’re craving pizza, try making pizza on a low-calorie tortilla instead of on pizza dough, or use a cauliflower crust. When you crave sugar, eat something healthy fruit-based. There are many alternatives to unhealthy foods, so try to think of some that will satisfy your craving while still keeping you healthy.