My daughter came home the other day and said she wanted pancakes for dinner. She’s normally a very healthy eater and wants vegetables and high fiber foods, so I knew something was up.
I asked her if she was going to get her period, and she said, “Oh, probably!” and sure enough, by that evening her monthly visitor came. I do know the strong pull to simple carbs during that time of the month and know that giving in to a sugar crush never ends well. I myself remember caving to my very own family sized bag of M&M’s and it only brought me more bloating, zits and moodiness. Not worth it!
I sat down with my daughter for about five minutes and we reviewed foods that would be a better choice during her period and came up with a simple meal plan. See meal ideas below!
Foods to avoid during period time:
- Salt – Too much salt just makes period bloating WORSE. Avoid overly salty foods and snacks.
- Sugar – Too much sugar makes us moody during period days and can make those period breakouts worse. Sugar and other high glycemic foods cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. That results in inflammation throughout the body – and puts you at risk or developing acne and other skin problems.
- Caffeine – Too much caffeine can also contribute to bloating, or worse digestion issues.
- Spicy Foods – Unless you’re a seasoned spicy food eater, avoid too many spicy foods as it can contribute to nausea and digestive issues.
- Red Meat – During your period, your body produces prostaglandins. These compounds help your uterus contract and get rid of the uterine lining, resulting in your menstrual flow. However, high levels of prostaglandins cause cramps. Red meat may be high i
10 Foods to include during period time:
- Water – Staying hydrated helps prevent water retention and bloating.
- Fruit – Sweet fruit can help ease that sugar craving without the heavy glucose spike that cane sugar causes.
- Leafy green vegetables – boost iron levels naturally because low iron levels can lead to fatigue, pain and dizziness.
- Fish – Rich in iron, protein, omega 3 fatty acids. Omegas have been shown to decrease menstrual pain.
- Turmeric – Anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce PMS symptoms.
- Nuts – also rich in omega fatty acids which can help with those menstural cramps!
- Quinoa – nutrients such as iron, protein, and magnesium and low on the glycemic scale. Complex carbs are definitely a better choice than pancakes!
- Lentils, tofu & beans – rich in protein and iron.
- Everything fermented – from yogurt to kombucha, healthy probiotics or good bacteria can help keep your digestive system healthy during a period.
- Peppermint tea can soothe the symptoms of PMS. Specifically, it can relieve menstrual cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Some women, especially teens, experience bad nausea and can even throw up during the first days of their period. Try sipping mint tea in the morning before school or work.
Mild Coconut Chick Pea Curry with Spinacy & Zucchini – served over a hearty bulgur wheat (can sub in any ancient grain)
Turmeric, chick peas, greens and ancient grains can satisfy that carb craving, but reduce inflammation, bloating and provide value nutrients to restore the body.
Simmer sauce first for 5 minutes:
- 2 tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 White Onion chopped
- 1 Zucchini chopped
- 1-1/2 cups Spinach chopped
- 1 can washed Chick Peas
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Heat for 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Serve over a hot grain like bulgur wheat or quinoa.
Lentils and Greens
This easy to make dinner is satisfying and lentils with greens are a great source of protein and iron.
- Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve under the faucet. While rinsing, make sure to pick out any bad lentils or other debris.
- Add four cups of low-sodium vegetable soup stock and one cup of lentils to a pot.
- Bring the pot to a boil. Then reduce to a very low simmer, cover and set your timer for 20-30 minutes.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add in one cup of chopped celery, one cup of chopped carrots. one diced red or white potatoe and 2 cups of raw spinach.
- Add more water to the mixture if it’s getting to dry. Continue to simmer until vegetables are soft.
Salt and pepper, and serve!