What This Gynecologist Says You Should Snack On When Period Cravings Hit

Assistant Managing Editor By Abby Moore
Assistant Managing Editor
Abby Moore is an assistant managing editor at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Asian woman in a kitchen looking into fridge

There's a lot of unpredictability when it comes to menstrual cycle cravings—one month you may be hankering for salty potato chips, and the next, you may have ice cream on the mind. But if eating either of those foods (or another period craving of choice) leaves you feeling hungry just 10 minutes later, your body likely needs something a bit more satiating.

So, what should we add to our plate instead? "A high-protein snack, followed by a few squares of 85% dark chocolate," says functional OB/GYN Wendie Trubow, M.D. And here's what each does for you:

1. A protein-rich snack

"Sometimes when there are sugar cravings, it's often because someone is hungry, so starting with protein can be helpful," she explains. Research shows that protein helps to moderate insulin secretion, which leads to a more gradual rise of blood sugar levels rather than a quick spike. 

This keeps you feeling fuller longer so those hunger cravings won't feel quite so insatiable. Need inspiration? Registered dietitian nutritionist Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN, craves creamy protein-rich foods, like hummus, Greek yogurt, and nut butters during her period.

If your cravings lean toward salty, pair the hummus with seedy crackers; and if you're craving something sweet, opt for the peanut butter with a banana, or Greek yogurt with berries.

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2. Dark chocolate

If you're still craving something sweet after your protein-rich snack, that's where the dark chocolate comes into play. 

Keeping the cocoa percentage high (85% or more) is a good way to ensure the main ingredient in your bar is heart- and brain-healthy cacao rather than added sugar or other unwanted ingredients. 

Unless you're making a homemade dark chocolate treat, like this seeded chocolate-tahini bark, consider opting for these ethically made chocolate bars.

Summary

When period cravings strike, Trubow recommends eating a protein-rich snack followed by a square of 85% dark chocolate.

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