As if it isn't difficult enough to manage hunger on a normal day, during your period hormones work against you to create cravings and mood swings that lead to a desire to eat more. In many cases, the cravings are for unhealthy foods such as sweets and other high-carb snacks. However, hunger can be managed with planning, healthy eating and exercise.
Eat protein for breakfast. Research from the University of Missouri, published in the journal "Obesity," suggests that a high-protein breakfast helps you feel full longer and reduces your brain's desire to eat as a reward. Eggs have been proven effective for helping you feel sated and controlling weight, according to a study published in the "International Journal of Obesity." Other high-protein breakfast options include protein smoothies and peanut butter on whole-grain toast.
Eat complex carbohydrates. Carbs are not bad for you, despite what many diets suggest. What's bad are sugars and refined carbs. But complex carbs found in whole grains, legumes and fresh fruit and vegetables not only have important nutrients, but supply fiber to help you feel full.
Eat water-rich foods. Like complex carbs, water-rich foods such as watermelon, cranberries, kale, squash and cabbage provide nutrients and fiber to make you feel full, but for very few calories.
Exercise regularly. Exercise can serve as a distraction, as well as help control hunger. Further, exercise can improve your mood. This can counter feelings of depression that sometimes accompany menstruation and lead to emotional eating.
- ScienceDaily.com: Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast to Reduce Food Cravings, Prevent Overeating Later, Researcher Finds
- International Journal of Obesity: Egg Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss
- Pomona College: Nutrition 101
- ScienceDaily.com: Reduce Calories, Stave Off Hunger With Water-Rich Foods -- Not Water
- Med-Solver.com: Control Hunger
Leslie Truex has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994. She wrote the "The Work-At-Home Success Bible" and is a career/business and writing instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Truex has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Willamette University and a Master of Social Work from California State University-Sacramento. She has been an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness instructor since 2001.