When PMS Is Making You Crave Sugar, Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With These 7 Healthy Treats
by Julia Guerra

Period cravings are something every woman has to come to terms with, but while we’re on the subject, let’s hone in on the actual issue. Going for that second (or third) scoop of Ben and Jerry's or inhaling an entire Hershey’s chocolate bar is hardly what I’d consider a horrible struggle in comparison to, say, borderline crippling uterine contractions. Curbing the craving isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that craving sugar before your period tends to take precedent over your healthy routine, and half the time, it’s almost impossible to feel completely satiated from a single, pathetic cookie.

According to a 2016 study performed by the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, it's likely that women crave sweets around that time of the month due to a rise in estrogen, and a dip in serotonin. Serotonin, if you're unfamiliar with the term, is a chemical produced by nerve cells that regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood. The act of eating chocolate and other sugary treats produces insulin, which turns blood sugar into energy, which is probably why, right before your period, you're craving anything and everything sweet.

However, nutritionist and founder of Pure Change Dr. Charles Passler tells Elite Daily that processed goodies are actually no good for your system, as they lead to hormonal imbalances and stress on the liver.

"Chemicals and processed foods stress the liver, and high-carb foods stress the pancreas," Dr. Passler explains. "Both situations force the body to work harder and can cause an increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol...decreases cognitive function and energy."

Most of us are well aware that processed sweets aren't great for our digestive systems, but anyone who has ever experienced a sugar craving before their period will tell you it's extremely hard to make the smarter choices when your sweet tooth is ravenous. So, here are a few healthy alternatives to curb a sugar craving when your menstrual cycle is demanding anything but healthy decisions.

Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds

Dark Chocolate Almonds, $3.99, NatureBox

Consider NatureBox's chocolate-covered almonds a two-for-one special when menstruation is making sugar a priority. It's the perfect sweet treat to hoard in your office drawer or kitchen cabinet when cravings are strong.

According to clinician Elisabeth Morray, dark chocolate is packed with magnesium, which can reduce period cramps and enhance your energy levels. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which can also relieve period cramps, in addition to balancing out hormones and menstrual flow.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter, $21.98, Amazon

Even though hazelnut spread is super delicious, and there's definitely nothing wrong with enjoying a spoonful (or half a jar, whatevs) in one sitting, there's been some back and forth over the health concerns of palm oil being one of Nutella's main ingredients.

Wildfriend's Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter is a great alternative if you're on the hunt to curb an early-morning sugar craving. RD/MSN Carrie Gabriel said in a statement to Elite Daily that this brand is particularly amazing for a sugar fix because it has a high-quality taste, with the added benefits of a significant dose of healthy fats and fiber in each serving.

Fresh Fruit

I totally understand if fruit is the last thing you'd turn to to curb an insane sugar craving right before your period, but natural sugars are the way to go, especially if you want to stay balanced through your cycle.

Processed snacks that are pumped with added sugars and are high in fat can cause constipation, and you really don't need to be putting up with pooping issues in tandem with uterine contractions. Fruit, however, satisfies your sugar craving naturally, with the added bonus of fiber to encourage a healthy digestive track.

Cinnamon Raisin Toast
Ezekiel Bread

Food For Life Whole Grain Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread, $7.69, Jet

There are two things I want from life when I'm on my period: sugar and carbs. Personally, I'm a tea-and-cookies kind of girl, but according to Eat This, Not That! premenstrual babes should steer clear of baked goods and, instead, opt for a slice or two of toast.

Ezekiel loaves are derived from sprouted, whole grains, and even though a plain slice is super dry and, well, grainy, this cinnamon raisin variety is super flavorful. Between its impressive fiber content, vitamin B6, and manganese, one serving can ward off sugar cravings and shake you out of a moody funk.

Better-For-You Ice Cream

Enlightened Birthday Cake Ice Cream, $5.99, Ice Cream Source

As previously mentioned, when you're craving sugar before your period, it's not uncommon to indulge in spoonfuls of ice cream, to the point where you look down and realize you've made it halfway through the pint. How'd that happen? *Shrugs*

I'll be the last person to tell you to reign yourself in, especially when PMS cravings are unyielding. Luckily, Enlightened's pints of all your favorite flavors are much better for you. For example, this entire pint of super creamy, batter-and-sprinkle mixture contains a whopping 12 grams of protein, only four grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar, and all the flavor necessary to stop a mean craving.

Smoothies With Flavored Supplements

Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder in Holiday Cookie, $32.29, Amazon

Trust me, I'm no iron chef, but your girl makes a mean protein smoothie that actually tastes good. Since my sweet tooth is the size of Texas, I make sure every nutrient-dense sip is flavorful by experimenting with all kinds of protein and greens powders.

Amazing Grass is by far my number one favorite if you're on the hunt for a greens powder that doesn't taste like a kindergartener just dug up the earth and plopped a handful of dirt in your drink. Their holiday cookie flavor really does taste like a delicious Betty Crocker snack in powdered form, and I've found it tastes best with frozen bananas, raw cacao, and a scoop of peanut butter. (Give Thrive Market's organic creamy peanut butter a try, and notice the only ingredient listed is roasted peanuts — winning.)

Swap Sugar For Natural Alternatives Like Dates
Getty Images

I'll admit, I judged dates by their wrinkly exterior and swore them off before even giving them a taste. They are, however, a favorite natural sweetener I've seen pop up all over plant-based social media accounts, so they're definitely something to consider if you're looking to swap out anything processed.

Tania Van Pelt of The Ageless Diet told Eat This, Not That! that because dates are loaded with fiber and natural sweetness, adding them to smoothies or with a scoop of peanut butter should curb your craving and keep you full for a while.