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Have a savoury start – Starting the day with a high-protein brekkie is always a good idea. Protein is one of the most satiating nutrients helping to keep you full and avoid mid-morning munchies. The real trick with breakfast though is to choose a savoury option. Often when we have a sweet breakfast, even a healthy sweet breakfast, it makes us crave sweets throughout the day. Instead of having fruit smoothies or porridge with honey, try having eggs on toast, omelettes or even try a savoury porridge with an egg on top!
One of the most common cravings at that time of the month is for carbohydrates. Don’t deny yourself carbs – choose high-fibre or whole grain carbs and eat them regularly throughout the day. Restricting carbohydrates can increase cravings and lead to overeating or choosing poor quality carbs. Instead, aim to add one good quality carb to each meal. Foods like oats, quinoa, rice, fruit, wholemeal pasta, potato, sweet potato, grain and seed crackers, and breads make great, healthy choices that will keep cravings low.
One of the biggest drivers of food choice is what we have available to us in our environment. Aim to have healthy snacks available and if possible limit the availability of less healthy snacks. Keep fruit, pre-cut vegetables, bliss balls and other healthy snacks ready to go at home or in the office.
Magnesium can be useful to manage symptoms of mood fluctuations, sugar cravings, and headaches associated with PMS. Foods rich in magnesium include dark chocolate, avocado, pepitas, cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts.
This is key. Maybe you eat more than you’d like to, or eat foods you don’t typically see as healthy. But please know it’s okay! It’s important to give yourself a break – beating yourself up can lead to guilt and perpetuate the cycle. Know that, as females, our appetite and energy intake is intended to fluctuate monthly with cyclical hormone changes. Relax a little and don’t beat yourself up for having some chocolate.
By Marika Day
Accredited Practicing Dietitian