As the weather cools and the days get shorter, it’s natural to want to cozy up inside with your favorite comfort foods. But as you go through menopause, the recipes that used to hit the spot may not leave you feeling your best anymore. Spicy foods, for example, can trigger hot flashes, while processed snacks can make you feel bloated and fatigued.
Still, food can be the fuel that helps you keep menopause side effects in check, especially when combined with a natural daily supplement. And plenty of fall favorites can still be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Here, we’re sharing four ways to cook for menopause relief this season—and pointing you to plenty of crave-able recipes along the way.
Stay cool with colorful autumn salads.
Summer may get all the attention when it comes to farmers’ market produce, but fall crops offer their own vibrant bounty. Fruits like apples, figs, and cranberries offer crucial antioxidants, sweet potatoes provide a tasty source of complex carbohydrates, and leafy greens like kale and collards promote bone strength with calcium and Vitamin D.
Make the most of these seasonal delights by whipping up a colorful salad. This California Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad from Ambitious Kitchen pairs healthy fats from avocados and nuts with the immune-boosting power of sweet potatoes and the antioxidant boost of dried cranberries, all atop a bed of crisp kale greens dressed in a tahini vinaigrette. For a fruitier dish, try Martha Stewart’s Kale-and-Apple Salad, a great go-to autumn side dish that complements its namesake produce with celery, parmesan, and a lemon-honey vinaigrette.
Kale’s crisp, firm texture promises to hold up in the fridge for several days even with dressing, so these dishes make great meal prep ideas for busy weeks. And since salads are best eaten cold, they’re also a great choice for women who are battling hot flashes. Look forward to cooler days ahead by adding them to your routine along with a circulation-boosting daily supplement, such as Kindra’s Core capsule.
Dip into the benefits of dairy.
When your estrogen decreases during menopause, your bone health can suffer, so upping your intake of calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium is more important than ever. Most dairy products contain these nutrients in high magnitude, so integrating milk, cheese, and yogurt as part of your balanced diet can be an easy (and tasty!) way to nurture your body.
This Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip, courtesy of Tasty, offers a creamy, savory pairing for your favorite crunchy vegetables. Adjust the recipe to fit your personal needs with cow, goat, or sheep yogurt. Many women find regular cow dairy very inflammatory and/or hard to digest. If using dairy, I recommend full fat. Or don’t use a recipe at all. This guide from Bon Appetit offers three loose, riffable ways to use the probiotic-rich ingredient, and plenty of folks love the stuff on its own with a sprinkle of granola or a drizzle of honey. For a fall twist, try pumpkin seeds or cinnamon.
Set it and forget it with satisfying slow-cooker recipes.
A daily supplement like Kindra’s energy-boosting capsule can help manage brain fog, nervousness, and anxiety, but taking steps to reduce stressors in your everyday routine can go a long way, too. One way to simplify your day—or at least your mealtime—is to fire up the slow cooker. With just a little morning prep, you can easily craft cozy, crave-able dinners that cook while you’re away at the office, with a fragrant minestrone or show-stopping chicken cacciatore ready to greet you as soon as you arrive at home.
These recipes can help you achieve your nutrition goals, too. This Football Sunday Turkey Chili from Food52, for example, offers fiber, heart-healthy legumes, antioxidant-rich tomatoes, and lean protein—just be sure to watch your spice level. Slow cookers aren’t just for soups and stews, either. This Soy-Citrus Chicken, from Food Network Magazine, serves up a one-two punch of menopause relief: Citrus, an essential food for menopausal women, and soy, known for its beneficial isoflavones, can both help stave off night sweats and hot flashes.
Balance hormone changes with phytoestrogens.Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds that can mimic estrogen’s effect on your body. You can find phytoestrogens in foods with soy—think tofu or edamame—as well as many vegetables, grains, and legumes. They can help with a whole host of menopausal woes, from hot flashes to bone loss, and with so many places to get them, you certainly won’t get bored with your menu.
Flaxseeds, for example, are loaded with lignans, a particular kind of phytoestrogen that has been known to reduce the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Add them to your breakfast lineup with this customizable granola, a recipe that offers the added benefits of sunflower seeds, walnuts, and almonds , too. For a more savory approach, throw together an edamame salad like this Greek-inspired number from Eating Well, a cooling stunner loaded with fresh veggies and topped with a simple homemade dressing. Or try your hand at these banh mi-inspired spring rolls by Minimalist Baker, a handheld plant-based bite filled with crispy fried tofu and bright pickled veggies.