Period cravings are common for most women, and they can be hard to manage if you aren’t prepared. When you’re coming up on the holiday season, it can be even harder to resist the temptation of sweet, carb-loaded treats when those cravings hit.
As Halloween comes closer, and it brings candy and goodies with it, you may be wondering how to navigate your period cravings or if you should give in to whatever your body says you want. Knowing why you have cravings and having healthier alternatives can help you successfully navigate Halloween.
Why We Have Period Cravings
The leading cause of period cravings is your body’s imbalanced hormones during PMS or your period itself.
One hormone to blame is estrogen. Your body’s estrogen levels increase in the weeks leading up to your period, and with that increase, your cortisol level increases. Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone and reacts to the estrogen level in your body. Higher cortisol levels are connected to an increased appetite due to your metabolic system working in overdrive. As your appetite increases, so does your desire for carbs and fatty foods.
Another hormone that increases period cravings is serotonin. Serotonin is the feel-good hormone, and your levels drop during PMS. When your serotonin levels drop, your body will begin craving carbs because carbs are used to create serotonin.
If your cortisol levels are high and you have low serotonin, you’re likely craving simple carbohydrates with lots of sugar, like chocolate. On the other hand, if you have high cortisol and normal serotonin levels, you’re more likely to crave fatty, high-carb foods during your period.
Another possible cause of period cravings is blood sugar. Blood sugar often drops during PMS and your period, leading to your body craving sugar to get your levels back to normal. Low blood sugar may also cause irritability during this period as well.
Healthier Halloween Treats that Satisfy Cravings
If you’re among the many women dealing with period-related cravings during Halloween, you may wonder how to indulge in the treats without going overboard. Your best course of action, of course, is moderation. Don’t be afraid to dig into the trick-or-treat candy or the spooky baked goods at a party.
To ensure you don’t go overboard with processed sugar and simple carbs, consider some of these healthier alternatives to common period cravings.
If you’re craving something sweet during your period, you may think navigating the Halloween holiday is impossible. However, some trick-or-treat candy is healthier than you may realize.
Consider opting for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate because it’s healthier. You may also want to choose candy with nuts to get a protein boost, like Snickers or Dove Dark Chocolate Almond.
Dark chocolate-covered frozen or freeze-dried fruit is also a great alternative to traditional Halloween candy. Fruits like bananas, strawberries, and raspberries taste great dipped in dark chocolate and will give you the sugar fix you’re looking for.
If you crave salty foods during your period, some festive options are still healthy for you. A common Halloween activity is carving pumpkins – consider saving the seeds from your pumpkin to roast. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack you can customize to the flavor you’re craving.
Consider following a recipe online or creating your own. Roasted pumpkin seeds give you an easy salty snack that is much healthier than potato chips or other common party snacks.
Some women might want the best of both worlds when their period cravings hit. If this is you, consider mixing the two together. A popular Halloween treat is chocolate-covered pretzels. You can make your own version of this with dark chocolate to have a healthier option than the ones you can buy in the store.
Another great choice is making your own trail mix. Combining dark chocolate chips, popcorn, and assorted nuts can give you a fun treat that’s easy to snack on while handing out Halloween candy.
Remember, Moderation is Key
Don’t be afraid to grab that fun-sized bag of M&M’s calling your name at the end of a long night of Halloween fun. No rule says every treat you have needs to be healthy. Instead, remember to indulge in moderation. Eat only one bag of M&M’s instead of three. Doing that and mixing in healthier alternatives will allow you to navigate your period cravings responsibly.
It can feel impossible to navigate Halloween treats if you’re dealing with period cravings. Too often, it’s easy to lose control and over-indulge in the name of handling the craving. Knowing why you’re craving something is important, but considering healthier alternatives is also good. Don’t let your cravings ruin your fun; lean into them responsibly and festively! And don't forget to grab some maeves sanitary pads for more comfortable period days.