Top Recipes With the Best Foods to Help Menopause | Stella
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Our recipes with the best foods for menopause

byJane Ready-Webster

Menopause brings with it a list of annoying and sometimes unpleasant symptoms but you can make your transition easier by picking the best foods for menopause. We’re not saying that improved nutrition is a complete one-size-fits-all solution for menopause, but it’s a good place to start if you want to find trigger patterns and alleviate symptoms. On top of this, what you eat at menopause can help reduce the long-term effects of lower oestrogen levels, such as the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

We’ve shared recipes with foods to help menopause, which will take you from breakfast to dinner and packed with the essential nutrients and superfoods to help boost energy, improve mood and help your long-term health. Use them for inspiration when writing your shopping list or planner meals and start experimenting to see what helps you.

Best foods for menopause shopping list

Go shopping for menopause foods that are high in protein and fibre, non-starchy carbs, healthy fats, water and herbal teas, while giving the alcohol and coffee aisle the swerve!

Protein

  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Fish
  • Lean meats
  • Dairy products

These are key foods to help with menopause and more protein is needed at this stage of life than is recommended for an average adult. Try to make at least 1/4 of your plate at each meal a protein source – imagine a fist-sized portion. Eating high-quality protein at each meal will help you:

  • Feel fuller for longer
  • Preserve muscle mass 
  • Support your bone health

Carbohydrates

  • Cauliflower
  • Celariac
  • Aubergines
  • Squash
  • Swede
  • Courgettes

Carbohydrates get a bad press and are a pariah but they are good menopause foods! You don’t need to cut them out of your diet to stay healthy, you just need to eat the right ones. Non-starchy, fibre-rich, carbohydrates keep your gut healthy, support your mood, aid sleep and give us energy so we can move. 

Aim to fill half of your plate at lunch and dinner with non-starchy vegetables. These carbohydrates release slowly into your bloodstream and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is a good idea as they’ve been linked to a high incidence of hot flashes at menopause.

Try to avoid simple carbohydrates, processed foods and those with added sugars ( white bread, crackers and baked goods). These foods cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike which can lead to fatigue, anxiety and weight gain. 

Fats

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
  • Seeds (chia, flax, hemp)

Replace saturated fats with unsaturated, good fats. Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids improve risk factors for heart disease, metabolic syndrome and chronic inflammation. 

Fibre

  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Oats

Fibre is a crucial part of rebalancing our hormones and are essential foods for menopause. They support the detoxing of your liver to stabilize our hormone levels and eliminate old hormones in your gut. Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full for longer. The bonus is a diet high in fibre and wholegrains has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Hydration

  • Tap water
  • Sparkling water
  • Herbal teas

Head for the tap and drink up to two litres of water a day. Avoid caffeine, so loved by so many, as it increases your body’s cortisol and the stress response and triggers hot flushes and night sweats for many women. 

We’re not suggesting you give it up completely but use menopause as an opportunity to become mindful of your alcohol and caffeine intake. Use this time of your life to reset any dependencies you may have to improve your sleep and overall wellbeing. It’s not about removing your favourite things but adding quality to your life.It goes without saying alcohol needs care. It adds calories, makes you dehydrated and disrupts your sleep. It also affects blood-sugar balance and keeps your liver busy when it could be focusing on regulating hormone balance. Eliminating alcohol could be a big quick win in improving your symptoms.

Menopause foods meal planner

  1. Breakfast – energy-stabilising almond pancakes
  2. Lunch – stress-fighting quinoa, roasted veg and tofu
  3. Snack – brain-fog-busting dark chocolate chip cookies
  4. Dinner – healthy cauliflower mac and cheese

1. Breakfast – energy-stabilising almond pancakes

Great for: Tiredness, irritability, weight gain and hot flushes 

Start your day with a boost of foods for menopause, such as almond flour, oats, flax seeds and fruit. This delicious recipe is easy to make and simple to adapt if you are vegan. All you have to do is substitute each egg for a tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with two tablespoons of water.

The secret to this recipe is magnesium-rich flax seeds, or linseeds, which are loaded with nutrients, protein, fibre, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. These power-packed seeds can help reduce your hot flushes, regulate your blood sugar and keep hunger at bay.

Add in oats and you’re in for a great start to the day. Oats are one of nature’s amazing nutrient-dense foods that are rich in not only healthy carbohydrates and fibre, but vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and iron. This gluten-free whole grain can help stabilise your energy levels and make you feel fuller for longer. 

And if that’s not enough, this recipe includes zinc-rich almond flour, which is great for improving your mood, and blueberries which are sometimes nicknamed ‘brain berries’ as they may help improve brain function and memory.

  • Serves: 2
  • Makes: 8 pancakes
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

Pancake ingredients

  • 75g oats
  • 60g almond flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 175ml unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Coconut oil for frying

Pancake topping ingredients

  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 50g blueberries
  • A drizzle of almond butter and your favourite raw seeds

How to make pancakes

  • Step 1: Starting with the eggs, vanilla and milk, place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Step 2: Heat a frying pan on a medium heat for about five minutes. Add coconut oil to the pan. If your pan is hot enough, it should melt instantly.
  • Step 3: Into the frying pan, pour pancakes that are about 3 inches across.
  •  Step 4: After 3-4 minutes when the pancakes are becoming golden and small holes appear on the uncooked side, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve: Stack the pancakes on a plate and top with blueberries, maple syrup or any other toppings you prefer.

Nutrient profile per serving of pancakes

  • Kcal: 459.5
  • Total fat: 28.38g
    • Saturated: 6.77g
    • Trans: 0g
    • Polyunsaturated: 5.96g
    • Monounsaturated: 12.45g
  • Total carbohydrates: 37.05g
    • Dietary fibre: 9.6g
    • From sugar: 3.83g
  • Protein: 19.05g

2. Lunch – stress-fighting quinoa bowl

Great for: Tiredness, fatigue, hot flushes, digestion and feeling full for longer 

This delicious recipe packs a punch when it comes to foods to help menopause symptoms, and is great for your lunch box when you’re on the go. Set yourself up for the afternoon with hormone-balancing tofu, stress-relieving quinoa and antioxidant-rich vegetables.

Getting enough whole grains in your diet can help reduce menopause symptoms and provide you with essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Quinoa is one of nature’s superfood whole grains – it’s top of our foods for menopause list. This plant-based source of protein is loaded with B vitamins which are great for the nervous system and reduce stress and anxiety. Quinoa also contains vitamin E for heart health, iron for overall good health, magnesium for your metabolism, and it’s high in fibre to make you feel fuller for longer.

  • Serves: 2
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes

Quinoa bowl ingredients

  • 1 small red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • ½ small head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 small  courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 280g block of extra firm unflavoured tofu
  • ½  cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Quinoa bowl sauce

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb of ginger, grated
  • 30ml tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch or cornflour

Quinoa bowl topping

  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Handful fresh coriander
  • ½ fresh lime

Prepare the veg and tofu

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Step 2: Chop all the vegetables and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  • Step 3: Chop the tofu into squares about 1.5cm thick, and chop diagonally to make triangles.
  •  Step 4: To make the sauce, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, honey, garlic, ginger and arrowroot starch or cornflour in a small bowl.
  •  Step 5: Pour half of the sauce onto the chopped vegetables and toss. Space the vegetables out on a baking sheet.
  • Step 6: Pour the other half of the sauce onto the chopped tofu, and arrange on a small baking sheet.
  •  Step 7: Place both baking sheets into the oven for 40 minutes, flipping the tofu and vegetables after 30 minutes.

Prepare the quinoa

  • Step 1: Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer several times, and shake out as much of the excess water as possible.
  • Step 2: Put the olive oil and quinoa into a saucepan, and toast on a medium heat for about two minutes until all water has evaporated. Keep stirring.
  • Step 3: Add 175ml of water and a pinch of salt to the saucepan and cover.
  • Step 4: Bring the heat up to high to boil the water. Once the water comes to a boil, let it simmer for about 15 minutes without removing the lid.
  •  Step 5: Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. If there is any remaining water in the pan, cook on low for a further 3-5 minutes.
  •  Serve: Place half of the quinoa in each bowl, and arrange roasted vegetables and tofu on top. Finish with sesame seeds, chopped coriander and a wedge of lime.

Nutrient profile per serving of quinoa bowl

  • Kcal: 538
  • Total fat: 25g
    • Saturated: 3g
    • Trans: 0g
    • Polyunsaturated: 8g
    • Monounsaturated: 11g
  • Total carbohydrates: 56g
    • Dietary fibre: 9g
    • From sugar:  14g
  • Protein: 24g

3. Snack – craving busting dark chocolate chip cookie

Great for: Depression, digestion, blood pressure, water retention, tiredness, weight loss, itchy and dry skin

When we’re tired and irritable it’s easy to reach for the sugary snacks in the cupboard, but spend a little time making these yummy cookies and you can get the sweet taste you’re looking for, and give your body and brain a boost at the same time.

One of the surprising ingredients in these tasty cookies is antioxidant-rich courgette, which not only makes them moist and yummy but is also one of the best foods for menopause. These versatile veggies contain vitamin C for your immune system, fibre for gut health, potassium which helps your muscles work properly, and folic acid for healthy blood pressure and water levels.

Add good quality dark chocolate, which is at least 70% cacao, and you’ll be getting an excellent source of essential magnesium to help you sleep better and feel brighter. The fantastic news is that chocolate has also been proven to increase your serotonin levels which stabilise our mood, feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

  • Makes: 24 cookies
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 12-15 minutes

Wet cookie mixture ingredients

  • 160g  finely shredded courgette from about 1 medium courgette
  • 85g coconut oil at room temperature
  • 100g coconut sugar
  • 60ml maple syrup or honey
  • 60ml greek yogurt at room temperature
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Dry cookie mixture ingredients

  • 225g spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 100g oats
  • 1½  tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp sea salt
  • ¼  tsp baking soda
  • ¼  tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g dark chocolate chips or roughly chopped dark chocolate bar

How to make cookies

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Step 2: Finely grate and weigh the courgette so you have 160g, and then remove as much water as possible by pressing it down with kitchen paper.
  • Step 3: Mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  • Step 4: Cream together the coconut oil and sugar using a whisk or hand beaters, and then add the yogurt, vanilla, honey/maple syrup and egg. Fold in the grated courgette.
  • Step 5: Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture in the large bowl, and then fold in the chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate bar.
  •  Step 6: Make dough balls by using a tablespoon or ice-cream scoop, and place on a greased baking sheet.
  •  Step 7: Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Nutrient profile per cookie

  • Kcal: 137
  • Total fat: 6g
    • Saturated: 4g
    • Trans: 0g
    • Polyunsaturated: 0g
    • Monounsaturated: 0g
  • Total carbohydrates: 17g
    • Dietary fibre: 2g
    • From sugar:  8g
  • Protein: 2g

4. Dinner – healthy cauliflower mac and cheese

Great for: bone health, balancing your hormones, blood pressure and weight gain

When comfort food is healthy. This version of macaroni and cheese swaps traditional bechamel sauce for a healthy and scrummy cauliflower-based puree and protein-rich lentil pasta.

Loading up on veg from the cabbage family during menopause is a great way to protect against cancer and heart disease, and these clever veggies are high in nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and folic acid which supports bone health. Cauliflower is the key ingredient in this recipe and contains vital phytoestrogens, which balance your hormones and regulate your oestrogen levels. This type of vegetable can help with your mood and memory function, boost your immunity and reduce your blood pressure. It’s a great choice when buying foods for menopause.

By swapping traditional macaroni with lentil pasta you can enjoy a healthier alternative which is a good source of fibre, protein and iron. Plus, there’s tasty garlic which also contains phytoestrogens to keep your hormones happy.

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes

Mac and cheese ingredients

  • 300g cauliflower florets
  • 150ml stock
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced thyme
  • 1 tsp english mustard
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 250g lentil pasta
  • 250g cheese of choice
  • 25g dried bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Cracked pepper

How to make mac and cheese

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°c and fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Step 2: Fry diced onion, garlic and thyme, until soft and golden and add the mustard and nutmeg.
  • Step 3: Once the water comes to a boil, add the cauliflower florets and cover. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft and cooked, and then strain.
  • Step 4: Place the cauliflower and sauteed onion, garlic and herbs into a blender, add stock and blend to make a rich sauce.
  • Step 5: Prepare the lentil pasta using the directions on the pack, cooking to the lower end of the suggested cook time, so that the pasta is al dente.
  • Step 6: Mix the cauliflower sauce with the strained pasta and transfer to an 8×10 baking dish.
  • Step 7: Top with grated cheese, breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast (optional) along with a generous crack of black pepper.
  • Step 8: Bake for 35-40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes and removing from the oven when bubbling and golden on top.

Nutrient profile per serving of mac and cheese

  • Kcal: 435
  • Total fat: 17g
    • Saturated: 9g
    • Trans: 0g
    • Polyunsaturated: 1g
    • Monounsaturated: 2g
  • Total carbohydrates: 39g
    • Dietary fibre: 7g
    • From sugar:  3g
  • Protein: 30g

Find out more about the stages of menopause, and much more on our blog. Or learn about weight gain in our symptoms library.

Gradual weight gain, hot flushes, the dreaded night sweats, being tired during the day, getting grumpy for no reason, I got it all. But I found that what I ate affected how I felt more than ever. The hot flushes would stop for a while and I’d realise that I’d eaten more greens and grains. If I ate a lot of sugary food I felt terrible. So I definitely look out for healthy recipes to keep me happy”

Laura