Something happens when my period comes on. All I want is to eat greasy, sugary food and watch crappy reality television.
It’s normal to have these types of cravings, but while junk food (and toxic TV) feels comforting when I’m menstruating, I know that it’s not the best thing for me.
Snacks filled with sugar make my energy crash when I’m already struggling to get things done, and the grease from fried foods makes my cramping stomach hurt even more.
And not to be gross or anything, but let’s not even talk about what it does to my bowel movements. Yuck!
Sugary treats are comforting, but I have to fuel my body with nutritious foods, too.
Now that I’m older, I value feeling good long-term over a short sugar rush.
Here are some of my go-to foods and snacks, and ideas for what to eat when your period is on:
Foods like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and tofu are great options.
Protein gives you steady energy, which can help counteract cramps and fatigue.
I like to make a hearty veggie omelet with spinach and lots of spices for breakfast, or really anytime. I add tons of spices so I can skip the cheese. So delicious.
Spinach, kale, and other greens are packed with iron to replace what you lose through bleeding.
Low iron levels can make you feel super sluggish, especially if you have anemia and fibroids like I do.
I love to sauté greens with garlic and olive oil or add them to an omelet.
You can blend them into a green smoothie with ginger to ease nausea.
I have noticed that too many raw leafy greens can make my stomach hurt when my cycle is on, so make sure to monitor that.
Raspberries and blueberries contain compounds that can help relax your muscles and decrease cramping.
They’re also full of antioxidants to help beat bloating.
I like to sprinkle some into oatmeal, and non-dairy yogurt, or eat them straight out of the bowl.
Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce menstrual cramps and discomfort.
Baked or grilled salmon with some sautéed veggies is one of my favorite period meals.
The healthy fats are soothing and satisfying.
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats give you steady energy.
Pair them with plant-based protein like beans or tofu.
The complex carbs and fiber will help fill you up without causing unwanted bloating.
Foods containing unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil can help lessen cramping.
like to add nuts to oatmeal or salads.
You can’t go wrong with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Water, herbal tea, and coconut water will help you stay hydrated.
Dehydration can make period symptoms feel way worse.
Infuse your water with fruit or sip on ginger tea to ease stomach issues.
Hot tea also does wonders for cramps.
Quick snacks to eat when you’re on your cycle
- Yogurt with granola – One of my favorites! Try non-dairy yogurt made of coconut milk and add low-sugar granola.
- Fruit smoothies – Blend yogurt, milk, bananas, berries, and spinach for a cold sweet treat.
- Energy bites – Make no-bake treats with oats, nut butter, chocolate chips, and honey.
- Pudding cups – Grab some ready-made chocolate or vanilla pudding for calcium and protein.
- Popcorn – Go for a healthy popped snack with olive oil and seasoning.
- Trail mix – Toss together nuts, seeds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips for a crunchy snack.
- Guac and veggies – Dip carrot and celery sticks into guacamole filled with healthy fats.
- Apple and nut butter – Sliced apples dipped in nut butter pack protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
- Cheese and crackers – Cut off a few chunks of cheese and eat with whole grain crackers for calcium, carbs, and protein. Add turkey pepperoni for an extra protein boost.
- Hummus and pita – Spread chickpea hummus onto whole wheat pita wedges for an easy protein pick-me-up.
- Hard-boiled eggs – Make a batch of eggs ahead of time for an easy protein snack.