Meal Ideas for Menopause

Eat real food for lunch

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In this blog, we’ll make nourishing yourself in menopause easier to achieve. Beat the overwhelm and gain confidence in strategies that really help.

The menopause diet

When it comes to what to eat during our journey into menopause, feeding ourselves a nourishing balance is often low down the list of priorities. We tend to have other people to consider and can’t just please ourselves. Hello the midlife to-do list!

Many of the women I work with really struggle with decision fatigue. Planning the week’s meals for the family takes such an effort, that they have no energy to think about themselves in the mix.

There’s also the added dimension of diet culture, which has left us feeling flawed and confused as to what the ‘right’ things are to eat. We don’t trust our decisions anymore and we’re not sure where to focus our attention.

A common problem that stems from this distrust, is meals during the day often pass by in a blur.

Lunch, for example, frequently morphs into just picking at bits or is skipped altogether.

How to eat better for menopause

You’ll find loads of blogs promoting fancy food lists and claiming certain foods have magic powers to ‘balance your hormones’. I’m afraid food doesn’t have the power to do that. Specific foods can’t control what our hormones do – they run in a vast network and intricate mechanisms exist beyond our conscious control to regulate them.

Having said this, food can do something – it can harness us to cope with these fluctuations better. It can anchor us in the day quite significantly and make a real difference to have we feel and function.

So, with this in mind, let’s make a case for putting lunch back on the table – quite literally.

What would it take for you to #leanintolunch and feel the benefits?

Get curious about the factors that influence your attitude to lunch. It could be a time factor, or people-pleasing tendencies that make you feel it’s not ok to take a break. Or that the value you place in productivity is so strong, you’ll bypass almost any bodily function requirements to get sh*t done. Sound familiar?

Getting stuff done

Alongside the sales pitch we must make to allow ourselves permission to have lunch, let’s get clear on what it should contain.

What should I eat for menopause?

Bigger picture points to a mediterranean style of eating being beneficial for menopause for a number of reasons:

  • It protects us against future health risks, for example heart disease and stroke.
  • It plays a role in creating an anti-inflammatory environment, which counteracts the loss of the anti-inflammatory properties of oestrogen.
  • It’s rich in nutrients that support us through menopause, for example magnesium and iron.
  • It has the potential to be high in fibre which supports our gut microbiome.

It’s also linked to cognitive function and improved mental wellbeing.

We delve into diet and the menopause in more detail here, but for now let’s get super practical about how to bring this approach to life, especially at lunchtime!

What is the best food to eat for menopause?

Let’s draw our attention back to lunch – this pivotal meal in the day which can have such an impact on our food choices later in the day.

The trick is to think about the nutrient building blocks that can be brought together in endless combinations to entice our taste buds, stabilise our blood glucose levels and satisfy us for hours.

Often, we feel overwhelmed by having to follow specific recipes, that we resort to the alternative – a soggy sandwich. But what if we could throw something together that was:

  • Balanced
  • Tailored to our likes (and to what’s in the fridge)
  • Quick to pull together…

Enter the Nourish Bowl for Menopause

This fantastic concept really helps us to help ourselves without getting bogged down in food rules that leave us exhausted. One such rule is the message we often hear about having protein-rich meals in menopause. Let’s explore this…

nourish bowl to help moods

What is a high protein lunch for menopause?

Protein is important, particularly as we head into menopause as loss of oestrogen impacts our muscle mass. By eating enough protein, we can guard against this, especially when we combine with resistance or weight bearing exercise.

The research shows that when women increase their protein intake, they fare better in terms of muscle mass and therefore functionality into older age. We delve into protein and the menopause in detail in this blog.

In practical terms, when thinking about lunch options that give us enough protein there are a couple of things to be aware of:

  • Firstly, lunch can be an opportunity to get more plant-based protein in, which might be a harder sell for the rest of the family at communal meals. This Nourish Bowl Guide gives lots of examples of these sorts of proteins and the best ones to choose.
  • Secondly, we could also use lunch as an opportunity for more oily fish – the daddy of anti-inflammatory options to support our hearts and brains.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, if we ensure a protein source is present, and in the case of plant-based sources, a combination of them, then we can easily hit our protein targets.
  • What seems to be happening in midlife nutrition narratives though is we’re applying food rules to protein, and it is being eaten at the expense of other important nutrients in the diet, namely carbohydrate.

A lack of carbohydrate will increase cravings for sugar and leave us drained of energy. The balance of nutrients is key, and we don’t need to demonise some of them – they all play an important role in the body.

Easing the overwhelm of food choices in midlife and menopause

Lunch doesn’t have to be complicated.

I’ve created this visual resource complete with shopping list, to help making a Nourish Bowl tailored to your menopausal needs easy to do.

A nourish bowl can even start to come together the night before as we start to think of the needs of our future selves. Yes, we’re worth it and small wins can add up to us feeling a whole lot better.

Follow this proven strategy to take the headache out of lunches and make them worth taking a break for.

Download your Nourish Bowl Guide now.

#leanintolunch #menopausemeals #nourishbowl #highproteinlunch #foodformenopause

More To Explore

Fancy getting some clarity around what to eat and easing the stress in your head?

Download my menopausal meal planner and access Nourish Lounge seminars for education and inspiration in all things midlife health.