Sports Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist and Gennev Health Coach, Stasi Kasianchuk has updated some favorite recipes to accommodate the realities of menopause symptoms. You don’t have to give up or miss out when you can modify it! 

It’s the holidays, and the indulgences of the season are part of the fun! But when you’re dealing with menopause symptoms, you might be better off setting yourself some limits.

Reducing sugar and alcohol intake during menopause can help you manage symptoms such as hot flashes, disrupted sleep, headaches, and irritability. However, the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is not the easiest time of the year to forego sugar and alcohol; attempting to eliminate them entirely can quickly tip you into frustration and, ironically, over-indulgence. 

The holiday season tends to mean an increase in foods and beverages that are higher in calories, fat, sugar, and alcohol. While all of these ingredients can fit, excessive amounts can have consequences, especially during menopause

Instead of limiting your holiday fun, check out the following recipes which help to modify the amount of sugar and alcohol. Sharing these at your next holiday gathering can set you up for sustainable success when it comes to nutrition during the holidays. 

Festive Green Sauce

Make this a day ahead of time and enjoy with whole-grain crackers, raw veggies, or veggie chips. Increase the oil to ¾ cup to thin the sauce for a salad dressing or topping for chicken breast, salmon, or tofu. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup packed parsley and cilantro leaves (combined)
  • 1 jalapeño (remove ribs and seeds for less heat) 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1-2 limes 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 oz plain Greek or plant-based yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup almonds

Instructions

Pulse all ingredients – except nuts – in a food processor until incorporated. Add nuts and pulse until mostly smooth. Ingredients*Adapted from Pinch of Yum 5 Minute Magic Green Sauce

Cheers to Fruits and Veggies Holiday Cocktail

Nutritionally enhance your cocktails with fruits and veggies for flavor without the added sugar. 

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Trader Joe’s Red Cold Pressed juice (or any fresh-squeezed fruit or veggie juice without added sweetener)
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain
  • 2 oz fizzy water
  • Garish with lime

Mix ingredients and serve straight up or on the rocks. 

Alcohol can be omitted for a fancy bubbly mocktail.

Nutty Chocolate Berry Balls

These can be made several days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. They are packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients and can be put out with the holiday cookies or enjoyed as a quick snack when you’re on the go!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup gelatin or agar-agar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 TBS cacao nibs

Instructions

  • Pulse nuts in a food processor until the mixture reaches the consistency of gravel.
  • Add dates, goji berries, hemp seeds, vanilla, ginger, gelatin, and cinnamon and pulse until well-combined.
  • Add cherries and cacao nibs and briefly incorporate the ingredients, leaving some small chunks for texture.
  • If the crumbs are not sticking together, add water 1 tsp at a time. If it is too wet, add a few extra almonds. 
  • Place the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board and press it into a compact rectangle. Wrap tightly in the plastic.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll into a 1/2 inch thick layer. Unwrap and cut into bars or bites.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for long-term storage.

Adapted from Super Food Snacks-Chocolate Cherry Goji Bars by Julie Morris

Our recent blog post “Holiday Nutrition Tips for Women and Menopause” provides additional practical strategies to keep your nutrition optimal during the holidays. 

Have you adapted some holiday favorites? Or do you throw caution to the wind at this time of year? Whatever you do, we’d love to hear about it on our community forums, so won’t you join the conversation?