Cycle Syncing

Here’s Exactly What to Eat During Each Phase of Your Cycle

Sync up!

By Casey McKee
Grapefruit avocado salad menstrual cycle recipes.

I live by the phrase “food is fuel.” As I enter a new personal era of more awareness around my overall health, I’ve started taking note of the foods I consume and how they affect my physical and emotional well-being. One of the most impactful methods of eating and meal planning that I’ve recently adopted is consuming foods that support the different phases of my menstrual cycle. This can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with the idea, but we’re here to share with you easy, adaptable, and delicious menstrual cycle recipes to make the transition a bit easier.

While many of us are learning to unlock the transformative power of cycle syncing, it can be challenging to know where to start. Below, we highlight each phase of your cycle with recipes to support your hormonal shifts throughout the month. If you’re ready to feel more aligned with your body and its ever-changing state, look no further.

Why You Should Cycle Sync

Think of cycle syncing as an invitation to integrate. During each phase, everything from your supplements to your social life has a specific rhythm. This practice is an opportunity to embrace phase-specific self-care practices, foods, and workouts. If you experience intense PMS, frequent mood swings, and relentless cravings, cycle syncing could be just what your hormones are calling for. Intrigued? This guide has the answers to all of your cycle-related questions, plus the best menstrual cycle recipes for each phase.

Camille Styles menstrual cycle recipes.

Menstrual Phase

This phase occurs the moment you start your period. Hormone levels—like estrogen and progesterone—are low during this time, so it’s a good opportunity for self-care and rest. Low-impact movement is ideal to prevent any extra stress on the body.

During the menstrual phase, the lining of your uterus sheds, and your body loses blood and iron, as well as the prostaglandins (which cause cramping) peak. You’ll likely feel more inward, slow, and restful during this time. In terms of cycle syncing during your period, the aim is to truly nurture your body.

Foods to Eat During Your Menstrual Phase

During your menstrual phase, you’ll want to focus on warming ingredients that build iron, assist in iron absorption, and are anti-inflammatory. Some of these ingredients include:

  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Citrus fruits
  • Animal protein
baked chili miso broccoli

Menstrual Phase Recipes

Green Sauce Pasta. This recipe makes it easy to get your leafy greens in a way that isn’t salad. To make this homemade green sauce, we recommend spinach but feel free to throw in any leafy greens in your fridge. Pair with pasta of your choice and creamy burrata.

Baked Chili Miso Broccoli. This miso broccoli recipe made me fall in love with the veggie. It’s baked and perfectly crunchy, with an incredible blend of savory and spicy flavor.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. These stuffed mushrooms have it all. Packed with savory ingredients like parmesan and spinach and topped with breadcrumbs and basil, they make for the ultimate comfort food for this phase of your cycle.

Winter Kale Citrus Salad. Citrus fruits are a great way to pack your diet with vitamin C. This citrus salad with crunchy kale is perfect if you’re looking for extra nutrients and plenty of flavor.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken. When it comes to marinating your chicken, this recipe is a game-changer. Pair this chicken with a side salad or carb-rich comfort food for an added bit of protein to support your menstrual phase.

Woman in kitchen.

Follicular Phase

Estrogen starts to rise, and your energy increases during your follicular phase. This is the time to start new projects, exercise, and be social. As the weather begins to warm up, this could look like a light walk, a picnic outdoors, or a DIY home project.

As your energy begins to pick up, you’ll feel more confident and social. Estrogen is an anabolic hormone (meaning it helps things grow), so we are at our strongest during this phase.

Foods to Eat During Your Follicular Phase

During this phase, you’ll want to focus on consuming foods that help with the replacement of iron and ingredients that increase iron consumption, such as the following:

  • Lean meats
  • Spinach
  • Lentils
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits

Follicular Phase Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Braised Short Ribs. While I’d never turn down these braised short ribs, they’re a great lean meat to support growth and iron replacement during your follicular phase. Win-win.

Spinach and Artichoke Tart. Spinach is an iron-rich veggie, making it versatile for supporting your diet during this phase. These spinach tarts are everything you love about the spinach artichoke combo in a pastry form.

Vegetarian Lentil Chili. On rainy days, I love nothing more than to cozy up with a warm bowl of chili or soup. The addition of lentils is a great way to pack in nutrients to help your body regain strength.

Green Fruit Salad With Ricotta and Herbs. Supporting your diet with fruit and berries helps your body feel its best during your follicular phase. This fruit salad is a great blend of sweet and savory to pair with any protein.

Chaat Masala Citrus Salad. If you’re tired of salads that lack a “wow” factor, you’ve found the right recipe. This citrus salad with chaat masala spices is one of the most impressive sides I’ve ever seen.

friends talking outside

Ovulatory Phase

Estrogen peaks during the ovulatory phase, meaning that you’ll likely begin to feel at your best. Your social life can thrive, and you’ll be at your most extroverted.

Around the halfway mark in your cycle, you’ll likely ovulate. As estrogen peaks, most women feel vibrant and sensual. Libido peaks around ovulation, too! Cervical fluid changes. It’s possible to experience some fluid retention around ovulation, as well as mild constipation, crampiness, or nausea.

Foods to Eat During Your Ovulatory Phase

During your ovulatory phase, focus on foods rich in nutrients that support potential fertility.

  • High-quality protein
  • Leafy greens
  • Whole grains
  • Avocados
  • Berries

Ovulatory Phase Recipes

Spicy Turkish Egg Bowl. Eggs are one of my favorite ways to pack in protein first thing in the morning—especially when paired with Greek yogurt, which is also a great source of protein. Not only are these Turkish-inspired eggs delicious, they’re a great way to mix it up from your typical fried or scrambled eggs in the A.M.

Winter Kale Salad with Apple and Gruyere. With crunchy apples and nutty gruyere, this kale salad is an all-around winner. Plus, it doesn’t require a long list of ingredients, making it easy to toss together in a pinch.

Spiced Peach and Pecan Baked Oatmeal. Oats are whole grains that, due to their abundance of nutrients, can help support your ovulatory phase. This oatmeal bake is also a one-bowl recipe that keeps kitchen time to a minimum.

Sunday Night Avocado Toast With a Jammy Egg. I could eat avocados every day, and avocado toast is one of the easiest ways to enjoy this fruit in its purest form.

Berries and Cream Layer Cake. If you’re craving a dessert that still supports your cycle, this berries and cream layer cake is savory and sweet—and it has only five ingredients!

nourish bowl, veggie bowl, grain bowl, healthy lunch

Luteal Phase

Progesterone rises and can bring PMS symptoms with your luteal phase. This is a good time for reflection, self-care, and creativity. Try your hand at a vision board, or maybe whip out your pen and journal to take note of your thoughts and emotions during this phase.

Progesterone is our fat-burning, temperature-regulating, pro-gestational hormone. Because of this, hunger levels increase, and we tend to crave salty, carb-rich foods. (Yes, this is no coincidence!) On the flip side, estrogen is declining—as is serotonin. More often than not, PMS comes knocking at the door.

Foods to Eat During Your Luteal Phase

During the luteal phase, prioritize foods that support hormone balance and help alleviate PMS symptoms.

  • Leafy greens
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Luteal Phase Recipes

Smoky and Spicy Cauliflower Salad. This recipe calls for kale and romaine, but any leafy greens you choose pair well with this spicy and smoky cauliflower bowl.

Squash Hummus With Tahini and Pumpkin Seeds. If you’ve never tried your hand at making hummus from scratch, give this recipe a try during your luteal phase. Pumpkin seeds are a perfect ingredient for fighting PMS symptoms at their root by supporting your hormones.

Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Carbs should never be feared, especially when they can be as delicious as these crispy roasted sweet potatoes. Topped with a bit of Greek yogurt or sour cream, these are sure to satisfy even your most severe hunger cravings.

Mediterranean Nourish Bowl. This nourishing bowl is fresh and vibrant, combining all the colors of the rainbow while boasting a variety of textures and flavors. The addition of hummus makes for a creamy base for the veggies and legumes in this bowl.

Apple Walnut Salad. The walnuts in this salad are more than just a tasty crunch—they’re a great way to keep hormone levels stable during your luteal phase.

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