By Carolyn Malcoun , March 10, 2011 - 11:03am
If you’re like many women, I’m going to venture a guess that you fall off the healthy-eating bandwagon once every, say, 28 days, give or take a few. Am I right? You know what I mean. PMS cravings. Even my super-clean-eating friend told me, “I’m not big on food cravings, but that’s the only way I know that I’m PMS-ing.” Ain’t that the truth. As I write this blog, I’m working my way through a bowl of spicy baked cheese puffs and waiting for Aunt Flo’s monthly visit.
So what’s a girl to do when she wants to “be good,” but every hormone and emotion in her body is screaming, “BE BAD! BE VERY BAD! EAT THAT!”?
I started off by asking my favorite gal pals what they craved most when they’re PMS-ing. Although a heated debate took place over which potato chip rocks the world most, every response was something I had craved before. The foods all fell into at least one (or more) of the “traditional” PMS food categories: potatoes, chocolate, salty, sweet, cheesy. And lucky for women everywhere, EatingWell has healthy recipes to satisfy all those cravings.
I usually have a salty-fatty tooth, but I know PMS is in full swing when I crave chocolate. Before I reach for that king-size Snickers bar, though, I make a lighter chocolate treat instead.
Make It: Indulge that craving with Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles . Just combine 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter and 1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Roll into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour. Microwave 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips in a small bowl on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. 64 calories per truffle.
Need a Salt Lick?
I know PMS is in full swing when I can’t walk by the snack aisle without snagging a bag of chips. But I hardly feel good after polishing off an entire bag.
Make It: Chile-Lime Tortilla Chips  are just perfect for satisfying my craving for something crunchy and salty. Position oven racks in the middle and lower third of oven; preheat to 375°F. Coat both sides of 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas with cooking spray and cut into quarters. Place tortilla wedges in an even layer on 2 large baking sheets. Combine 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder in a small bowl. Brush the mixture on each tortilla wedge and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake the tortillas, switching the baking sheets halfway through, until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the tortillas). 142 calories for 8 chips.
Mmmmmmm, Ice Cream...
If I’m not craving chips, then I’m craving a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. If I have a jar of my favorite hot fudge in the fridge, then I’m really in heaven. But probably not fitting into my skinny jeans the next day (or even my regular jeans).
Make It: Luckily, it’s easy to make an ice cream sundae that satisfies but still lets me stick to my diet. I love making Strawberry-Raspberry Sundaes . Just puree 1 cup strawberries and 1/2 cup raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice in a blender. Drizzle some of it over vanilla frozen yogurt and sprinkle with sliced strawberries and raspberries. 130 calories per sundae.
With Cheese Please!
I love cheese all the time, but I particularly crave things like mac and cheese and pizza when it nears my time of the month.
Make It: Skip the boxed stuff and whip up No-Bake Mac & Cheese  in the same amount of time. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook 2 cups whole-wheat elbow noodles for 4 minutes. Add 1 10-ounce package frozen broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk 1/4 cup milk, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and 1 teaspoon mustard until the cheese is melted. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the cheese sauce. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until heated through, about 1 minute. 412 calories for 1 1/4 cups.
Pass the Potatoes
I don’t care if they’re baked, fried, mashed or whatever, there’s something about potatoes that is just so darn satisfying.
Make It: Mashed potatoes are easy, go with just about everything I make for dinner and I don’t need anything fancy to make them. And what makes everything better? Bacon! To make Bacon Mashed Potatoes , scrub 1 pound new or baby potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Crumble when cool enough to handle. Mash the potatoes with 1/3 cup low-fat milk (or buttermilk), 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper with a potato masher until the liquid is incorporated but some chunks of potato still remain. Fold in 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 2 sliced scallions and the crumbled bacon. 140 calories for 3/4 cup.
What do you crave most when you're PMS-ing?