So, this weekend is Halloween. And of course, that means trick and treating. You may now be conjuring up images of all those brightly coloured sweets, but treats don’t have to be laden with sugar!!
If you are wondering what’s the big deal and how much harm it can really do, here’s a quick reminder why sugary foods are frequently at the root of some of the most common menopause symptoms. You are probably already aware of the connection with weight gain, mood swings, cravings and energy levels, but it can do so much more.
How does sugar effect your hormones?
- Sugar disrupts one of the most powerful hormones in your body – insulin. And this then has a knock-on effect on oestrogen and testosterone. When insulin levels increase after a sugar filled meal, levels of the protein called SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) decrease. This protein binds excess oestrogen and testosterone. But it cannot do this when levels are low. And so, levels of oestrogen and testosterone increase. This causes oestrogen levels to be out of balance with progesterone (calming hormone). And this can lead to lots of unwanted menopause symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia as well as hot flushes and night sweats.
So, if you want to keep your hormones nourished and not disrupted this weekend, here are some healthy Halloween foods which the whole family can enjoy!!
Let’s start with the perfect Halloween treat for peri and menopausal women:
Roasted pumpkin seeds
If you are carving a pumpkin with the kids, don’t throw away the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are packed full of omega 3 healthy fats. And this plays a really big role in balancing hormones, keeping your skin supple, helping with achy joints, weight loss and protecting your heart health.
Just roast them gently in the oven with a little olive oil and a few of your favourite herbs.
They will be great to serve as a snack if you have friends around and so much better for you than a bowl of crisps!!!
No Halloween is complete without some pumpkin soup! And pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A which is a great for the immune system. Great to start getting into your diet regularly now as we head towards the winter and flu season.
And it’s just so easy to make. Just fry up some onion and garlic (I use coconut oil) for a few mins, add in chopped pumpkin and cook for 10 mins or so. When soft, just whizz up in a food processor with some milk.
We often associate Halloween with the colour green. And so, use your imagination and create a ghastly green soup with peas!!! The kids will love it!! You can drizzle a little cream to create scary Halloween faces!! A guilt free fun treat for the whole family to enjoy.
And finally, caramelised apples
These are a long-time staple of Halloween, and there is a way to make a healthier version!! And that is by making the caramel sauce from medjool dates and coconut oil. Do give these a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed!!
You will need:
15 pitted medjool dates
½ cup unsweetened cashew milk
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
3 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
And all you need to do is blend these ingredients together
And then take 6 apples, remove the stems, and insert a stick. Roll the apples into the prepared sauce and twist and tilt to ensure they are fully covered.
And then sprinkle with a topping of your choice. My favourites include pumpkin seeds, granola, sunflower seeds, and any sort of chopped nuts.
Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve.
If you do feel that the sugar has got the better of you this weekend, don’t despair. There are some things which you can do to help your body to recover and get off the blood sugar roller coaster
- Drink plenty of water. This will help your body to flush some of the sugar out of your system
- Do some exercise to help you to burn energy faster and get everything moving again
- Get back on track by including healthy fats and protein with every meal. This will give you a slow release of energy rather than quick bursts which ultimately leave you tired and craving more sugar.
Here’s to some happy and healthy Halloween treats for menopausal women
If you would like help in supporting your hormones as you go through the menopause, why not download my ultimate guide for a happy and healthy menopause here.
Leave a Reply