The Optimal Foods to Eat for Breakfast When You’re in Menopause

During menopause many women tend to gain weight. While this isn't great it's pretty common and there are many reasons why. 

There are two main reasons why women gain weight during menopause.

REASON #1

Reduced muscle mass. Muscle mass uses energy (aka burns calories) so when we have less of it the body burns less evergy overall, leading to weight gain. Unfortunately, this weight gain may appear as increased belly fat.

REASON #2

During menopause there is an incrase in the hunger hormone "ghrelin". With an increase in this hormone comes the tendency to feel hungrier. Menopause also decreases the "satiety" hormone called leptin that helps us feel full after eating which can lead to overeating. 

More ghrelin and less leptin = increased hunger and a decreased feeling of fullness...NOW THAT'S A PROBLEM!

So, you are probably wondering...What does all this have to do with breakfast? 

Eating the right type of breakfast has been shown to help us maintain muscle mass, balance levels of leptin and ghrelin, which aids in weight loss and/or helps us maintain that lower weight. 

What make a food "optimal" for breakfast in menopause? 

Foods that are loaded with nutrients, fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. Let's take a look at these "optimal" foods.

PROTEIN

Make sure to get protein in the mornings. Eating protein is critical for women in menopause.  It helps to slightly increase metabolism and give your muscles the amino acids they need to stay strong. Protein also helps keep you feeling fuller longer which is great to try to offset that hunger hormone known as "ghrelin".

Which foods are good choices and high in protein? 

  • Lean cuts of meat and poultry
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds (contain more fat than protein but are still a great source of amino acids)

Check out the my breakfast recipe VEGETABLE EGG MUFFINS Give it a try tomorrow morning. It contains eggs which some people may say is the "perfect protein". You can even make these ahead of time to save time in prepping breakfast during those busy mornings. 

FIBER

Fiber is very important to help stabilize your blood sugars to reduce cravings. The reason this is particularly important in menopause is because the risk of diabetes and heart disease increases afer menopause due to an accumulation of that annoying visceral fat in the abdomen. (Yes, I'm talking about the infamous "belly fat"!).

Also, did you know that certain fibers you eat actually feed your frindly gut microbes? Those microbes help you digest food and even make certain nutrients for you!

Which foods are high in fiber? Here are a few that you can add to y ou diet and increase to increase fiber intake: 

  • Vegetables (squash, peas, sweet potato, artichokes, collard greens, pumpkin, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, you get the idea, etc.)
  • Fruit (pears, avocados, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts, dried coconut, etc.)
  • Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax, etc.)
  • Grains (inlcluding gluten free oats, quinoa, wild rice, etc.)

Plus you get some bonus points if you include some of your daily fiber intake from flax. Flax not only contains fiber but it is also a source of protein and great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax has been shown to help reduce both hot flashes and the risk of breast cancer.  So...WIN-WIN!

So bottom line, the most "optimal" foods for breakfast during menopause are ones that give you both proteain and fiber.

Here is a recipe that will help you get both that much needed protein and fiber. Check out my VEGETABLE EGG MUFFINS

References: 

https://authoritynutrition.com/menopause-weight-gain/

https://authoritynutrition.com/leptin-101/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/is-breakfast-really-most-important-meal/

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/just-the-flax-maam/

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index

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