5 Nourishment Do’s During Menopause

By Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN

If you search "diet and menopause," you'll find countless websites offering guidance. Let's face it, this transition period for women sucks and comes with endless unsavory symptoms. As someone currently going through it, I know this all too well. It's completely normal to desperately search for that “one hit wonder” that can make it all better. Whether it's a magic pill, a superfood, or a must-follow diet, the allure is hard to resist. Even as a highly qualified culinary and nutrition professional, I've been sucked in. My current body feels foreign to me!

But let's be clear: there is no panacea for menopause. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Menopause is associated with an increased prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis.” Therefore, it's essential to do everything we can to get healthy and stay healthy. What we eat is foundational. Here are five nourishment do's during menopause. They aren't the ultimate solution, but they are crucial for keeping your body, mind, and spirit healthy:

Know Your Nutrient Needs

Seek the care of a qualified medical doctor (MD), osteopathic doctor (OF), naturopathic doctor (ND) or qualified nurse practitioner (NP) who can measure your serum levels of vitamins (ie. vitamin D) and minerals (ie. calcium) to determine if you are low or deficient and need supplementation. Any of the above noted medical professionals should be able to create a supplementation protocol for you with detailed dosing. Don’t be shy; absolutely advocate. If you do need supplementation, welcome to the world of unregulated “drugs”. Therefore what you take, the dosing and the brands you choose matter. A great resource to learn about supplement brands and their products is Consumer Lab, providing information and independent test results on health, wellness, and nutrition products.

Foods to Include

At WTFork we may sound like a broken record but truth be told that choosing a plant forward food lifestyle rich in the following is foundational and the way to go if getting healthy and staying healthy is your thing:

  • Fresh fruits + vegetables; un sulphured dried fruit OK too

  • Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa

  • Lean proteins like legumes (beans, tempeh, tofu), fish and poultry

  • Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, and seeds

  • Calcium rich foods like organic dairy (ideally) or some dairy-free options (many of which are enriched with vitamins and minerals)

Foods to Avoid or Limit

Repeat after me, “Ultra processed foods suck and do nothing to support health, rather destroy health.” So let’s nix from your nourishment plan. Other foods to avoid or limit:

  • Sugar, including alcohol, are pro inflammatory

  • Caffeine can increase incidence of hot flashes and night sweats

  • Sodium can also contribute to increased symptoms and for hypertensive women, it must be limited

  • For dairy, while it may be beneficial for many, it can also be pro-inflammatory; I see a marked difference in how I feel without it

Meal Planning and Recipes

On July 18th, we will be offering Fork Menopause, a one-hour virtual workshop from my kitchen to yours (only $30) where we will explore three menopause supportive (really just good ‘ole health supportive) recipes including: the Goddess Smoothie, a Quick Cobb Salad, and a Basic Buddha Bowl. Being open and willing to explore new culinary ideas and recipes will lead you to simply prepared food that is nutritious and delicious. All of our recipes and those in What The Fork Are You Eating support your journey into and out of menopause. In addition, some favorite resources include: 

Having great recipe resources can be the starting point for building a menu that fits you! 


Since night sweats and hot flashes promote fluid loss, it’s super important to stay super hydrated. Water is ideal. Coconut water is also a good choice. Sugary drinks and those “zero sugar” drinks are not ideal—you don’t need the sugar and you don’t need the artificial or novel sweeteners that are Generally Recognized as Safe for human consumption—substances that are considered harmless under "prescribed conditions of use". That said, the companies that make these chemicals are the ones doing the “prescribing”. Read What the Fork Are You Eating if you want more intel on this. 

Also, please don’t discount the role of regular exercise, sufficient sleep and stress management. Everyone’s “formula” is different. Since I am not the menopause expert, opt into The Pause Life by Dr. Marie Clare Haver for the latest science based intel and more.

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