Combat Pesky PMS Cravings With These Bloat-Fighting Foods

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PMS_Recipe_1Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Amie Valpone, an NYC-based personal chef & culinary nutritionist, decided to adopt a "clean" lifestyle after she was diagnosed with a host of serious health issues. Now, she spends her days curating The Healthy Apple, a blog that discusses everything from food intolerance tests to her favorite go-to meals — all gluten-free, of course.

Is it that time of the month again? Does gorging on a bag of greasy potato chips, sugar-laden candy, and an entire pizza all by yourself sound familiar? Dealing with PMS isn't easy (hi, cravings!) but there are ways to stop yourself before you reach the last crumbs of that box of cookies. By following the grazing method, you won't be at the licking-crumbs-off-fingers point. Instead, you'll aim to eat five to six small, but nutritious meals a day to keep your blood sugar stable. For some quick, small meal or snack ideas, try organic Greek yogurt with a sliced banana and chopped almonds on top. Or, try organic grilled chicken breast with a baked sweet potato cooked in coconut oil. Sure, it’s okay to splurge once in a while. But, because those annoying PMS symptoms can show up as early as two weeks before your menstrual cycle, ditching those inflammatory foods all together is your best bet in alleviating PMS symptoms.

You can also ease your symptoms of PMS by upping your potassium intake. Increase your daily dose by adding fresh, organic fruits and veggies to every meal, or snack on them throughout the day. Try freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast with a fresh fruit salad or simply add a sliced banana to your oatmeal.

RELATED: A Seriously Delish Almond Mango Smoothie (Dairy Free!)

Although it might sound counterintuitive, beat the bloat by drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods filled with lots of water like celery, cucumber, and carrot sticks. Bloating occurs when the kidneys sense a lack of hydration (often triggered by high salt intake), and in turn, retain water. Feeling tired and lethargic? For increased energy, skip the processed sugar and get it the natural way through organic fruits. Vitamin E and magnesium can also be helpful in trying to combat PMS symptoms. A bowl of steamed brown rice and asparagus, topped with roasted pecans, can be just the fix. Don’t forget to add calcium and vitamin D to your diet with foods such as asparagus, broccoli, beet greens, and other leafy greens.

Here are four easy recipes that are packed with PMS symptom-fighters that will have you feeling great and are sure to give your taste buds a little party, too. As a bonus, they're all gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free.

Green And Gold 'Mashed' Sweet Potato Salad With Honey Basil Yogurt

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 lbs sweet potatoes
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coconut milk yogurt
2 tsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 ripe pear, diced
1 large ripe avocado, diced
2 tbsp dried cherries, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Barlean's organic chia seeds
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest

Directions
Place sweet potatoes into a large pot of cold water; bring to a boil and cook until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. Drain, then lightly mash potatoes with a fork.

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, yogurt, basil, sea salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine mashed sweet potatoes with diced pear, avocado, dried cherries, and chia seeds. Add yogurt dressing; gently toss to combine. Garnish with fresh lemon zest. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
PMS_Recipe_2Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Asparagus Quinoa Salad With Orange Parsley Dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
3 cups mixed greens
3 chives, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh orange zest

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place almonds on a baking sheet; toast for eight to 10 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

In a large pot, boil 2 cups of water. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat; fluff quinoa with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Cut asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces; add to a large bowl with cooked quinoa. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk honey, orange juice, sea salt, pepper, and oil. Carefully pour over quinoa and asparagus mixture; gently toss to combine. Top with parsley, spring mix, chives, and orange zest. Serve chilled.
PMS_Recipe_3Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Rosemary Walnut Baked Potato Chips

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 lbs sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely crushed walnuts
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a shallow bowl, combine olive oil, crushed walnuts, rosemary, and sea salt with potato slices; gently toss to coat.

Arrange potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, approximately 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20 minutes; rotating half way through to ensure even cooking. Bake until golden brown and crispy.

Remove from oven; set aside to cool for five minutes before serving.
PMS_Recipe_4Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Cranberry Mint Chicken Salad With Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup dried cranberries
1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups mixed greens

Directions
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook chicken breasts on each side for five minutes or until no longer pink. Remove chicken from heat and set aside for five minutes to cool.

Cut chicken breasts into thin slices and transfer to a large mixing bowl with remaining ingredients; gently toss to combine.

Serve warm atop mixed greens.
PMS_Recipe_5Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Arugula, Apple, And Black Bean Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients
1/3 cup cashews
3 small McIntosh apples, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp coconut milk yogurt
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz organic arugula
4 stalks organic celery, diced
1/4 tsp fresh lemon zest

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cashews on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from oven; set aside to cool for five minutes, then finely chop. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine apples, balsamic vinegar, yogurt, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and toasted cashews; mix well to combine. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil; add potatoes; cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Combine arugula, celery, and cubed potatoes in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with yogurt dressing; gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

NEXT: The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Grocery Guide

Amie Valpone, an NYC-based personal chef & culinary nutritionist, decided to adopt a "clean" lifestyle after she was diagnosed with a host of serious health issues. Now, she spends her days curating The Healthy Apple, a blog that discusses everything from food intolerance tests to her favorite go-to meals — all gluten-free, of course.