Full meal plan to alleviate menopause symptoms and torch excess belly fat - plus the food to 'avoid' at all costs

Full meal plan to alleviate menopause symptoms and torch excess belly fat - plus the food to 'avoid' at all costs

Expert gives weight loss tips for women going through menopause

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 19/05/2024

- 08:30

Women going through menopause often find they experience several difficult symptoms including weight gain - specifically belly fat - energy loss and metabolic dysfunction. However, according to menopause experts, women going through this natural change can improve their symptoms with a few key ingredients. GB News looks at the best meal plans to achieve your beauty goals

Menopause is defined as a year or more since the day a woman had her last period, and women typically go through this change between the ages of 45 and 55.

Perimenopause is the gradual process coming up to menopause and is often accompanied by a range of symptoms, including weight gain.

According to Clinical Director Dr Ghazala Aziz-Scott and Patient Compliance Manager Martina Puzzo, both from The Marion Gluck Clinic which specialises in menopause and perimenopause, these symptoms can be alleviated with the correct diet.

The experts said: "Menopause can manifest itself with a variety of symptoms and it is important that all the physiological aspects affected by the natural decline of sexual hormones are fully supported during this phase. These primarily include mood, brain function, energy, libido, metabolic dysfunction and weight gain - menopausal belly fat - hot flushes, and bone and joint health.

"For example, weight gain and the typical menopausal belly can be triggered by low oestrogen levels, which can lead to fat storage around the waist area. In addition, low oestrogen levels can cause a decrease in leptin (a hormone involved in appetite suppression), which can induce women to eat more.

"Stress and disrupted sleep patterns do also play a key role in overall weight gain and belly fat as one of the effects of chronically high cortisol levels. During menopause, mood swings and anxiety are also common symptoms that can further promote elevated cortisol levels as well as affect people emotionally.

Middle-aged woman / Woman eating avocado on toast

Menopause: The ideal breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack to banish symptoms


"Conditions that may instigate to eat more and to seek 'junk food' as a comfort attempt to relieve anxiety and stress.

"Menopause stage is also accompanied by age-related loss of muscle tissue, and this reduces energetic metabolism prompting fat store."

But while the odds are stacked against women at this time when it comes to weight loss, the right meal plan could make a world of difference.

How can we get rid of menopause belly fat?

The experts said: "Each woman must be evaluated through a personalised approach that considers her own medical history, BMI, age and habits.

"When possible, it is essential to combine an adequate diet with physical activities to improve energy metabolism and muscle tissue. It is very useful to incorporate some relaxation techniques into the daily routine to reduce stress and anxiety.

"A suitable diet to support menopause should always include a sufficient amount of protein from eggs, lean meat, fish and seafood as well as plant-based foods such as legumes, seeds, nuts, soy and dairy products (if applicable).

"Meals should have plenty of vegetables and a controlled amount of wholegrains, as these provide the key vitamins and minerals that are essential for supporting hormonal pathways.

"Also very important is the daily intake of polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which among many other benefits, support brain function and decreasing oestrogen levels, making good allies against certain menopausal symptoms.

"Alcohol consumption must be significantly reduced because it has a detrimental effect on metabolism and hormone balance.

"It is of the utmost importance to avoid processed foods, as they are often high in salt and sugar as well as saturated fat, leading to weight gain and fatigue. Make sure you always consult your healthcare provider for more information."


According to the menopause experts, the perfect breakfast for a woman going through this change is avocado and egg on wholemeal toast.

Eggs are rich in protein, between 5.2g and 7.5g per egg depending on its size.

The experts added: "While it is true they are high in cholesterol, they also contain other nutrients as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that may help lower the risk for heart diseases.

"In fact, choline - very abundant in eggs - in combination with folate helps to lower blood levels of homocysteine. Choline also carries fats away from the liver, so a deficiency can cause the liver to store more fat.

"Eggs are good sources of biotin (B7) that plays a vital role in assisting enzymes to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in food.

"They are a reliable source of vitamin D too, involved in the oestrogen modulation and the absorption of calcium, phosphate and magnesium for the growth and health of bone.

"They are also rich in selenium, which is needed to support the thyroid function, which is involved in metabolism regulation."

As for avocados, these are "excellent for weight management because of their fibre and monounsaturated fat content".

The experts explained: "Fibres increase feelings of satiety, while monounsaturated fats (specifically oleic acid) can decrease fat storage when consumed in adequate amounts.

"They are great sources of vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamin E - carotenoids, folate, potassium and magnesium that promote bone health and nervous system function."

Avocado is also rich in B vitamins, especially B6 which is important for the synthesis of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA.

The menopause experts explained why it's important to go for wholemeal bread as opposed to white. She said: "B6 and other B vitamins are also found in brown bread, as well as selenium, magnesium and zinc.

"Brown bread tends to produce slower glycemic and insulinemic responses than do highly processed refined grains. They are rich in fibre too, which helps to reduce the risk for some chronic diseases such as constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticulosis, heart disease and diabetes."

Fibre is also particularly useful against "menopause bloating."


Women going through menopause have been advised to whip up a brown rice and organic tofu bowl.

Make it with:


Sesame seed


Celery and chicory

Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Tbsp soy sauce

The experts said: "This meal will guarantee a good support of proteins and healthy carbohydrates. Tofu - preferably organic - and soya sauce (in limited quantity) contain a high concentration of isoflavones, a phytoestrogen that can help with oestrogen balance.

"Asparagus is high in protein and an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K, and B vitamins, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, proteins, and fibres.

"Chicory has high inulin and fibre content that helps reduce bloating symptoms, blood glucose and LDL-cholesterol levels, and carries amazingly high amounts of lutein, important dietary carotenoids involved in eyes health.

"Like asparagus, it provides vitamins A, C, K, B groups and calcium, manganese, copper, iron, and potassium.

"Celery is a good source of vitamins and minerals too, particularly vitamin K. Sesame seeds are rich in unsaturated fat, proteins, minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre. They have antioxidants that help with cholesterol reduction, blood lipid regulation and many other effects, which can all help improve weight control.

"A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil a day is well known to have amazing health benefits due to its unsaturated fatty acid and vitamin E content. It helps manage body fat composition and cholesterol, as well as improve brain function."



Tofu - preferably organic - contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a phytoestrogen that can help with oestrogen balance



A chicken salad is a great menopause-friendly dinner choice, according to Dr Ghazala and Martina Puzzo.

Make it with:

Chicken breast



Top it with:




The experts said: "This is an easy and quick way to make a substantial meal that can be consumed at dinner time as highly digestible."

Chicken is a fabulous option for women going through menopause, high in proteins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium.

It is also "fabulously rich" in B vitamins, particularly B6, which is an essential nutrient that promotes neurotransmitter synthesis involved with mood, energy, motivation and relaxation.

A salad is a great opportunity to chuck in all your favourite healthy ingredients.

The experts said: "Walnuts ensure a good amount of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which can help combat oxidative stress and ultimately delay or reduce the progression of cognitive decline memory and support mental health.

"It helps manage blood sugar, lower blood pressure and offers cardiovascular system protection. It is an important prebiotic that nourishes probiotics.

"Having yoghurt in this meal will also provide gut-healthy bacteria and probiotics, which will further promote gut health. Choose regular yoghurt, as low-fat versions may be higher in sugar.

"Parsley is rich in vitamins A, C and K, enhancing antioxidant activity with all the related health benefits.

"Spinach is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable. It packs high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It has been shown to improve oxidative stress, eye health, bone health and blood pressure.

"Arugula, commonly known as salad rocket, is another superfood abundant in certain phytochemicals like indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. These compounds collectively combat the carcinogenic effects of oestrogen, potentially offering protection against cancers such as prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers by inhibiting cancer cell growth and exerting cytotoxic effects on cancer cells."

Arugula is also rich in fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C and B vitamins.


The expert suggested apple crisp for dessert.

Make it with:


Jumbo rolled oats



The fruity dessert is an excellent choice for women in their 40s and 50s.

The experts said: "This dessert is suitable for menopause as it is low in calories and high in fibre, which can help to promote feelings of fullness and support weight management. Apples are also a good source of antioxidants.

"Jumbo rolled oats are highly nutritious: not only do they provide important micronutrients like zinc, copper, selenium, and B vitamins, but they are also rich in valuable plant compounds and fibre.

"This includes a special type of fibre called beta-glucan, which helps manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and supports gut health as a prebiotic.

"In addition, the soluble fibre in oats helps improve our sense of fullness, reducing appetite that may also help to minimise belly fat. Oats are a source of complex carbohydrates - with a low GI index - that may further help with weight management.

"Cinnamon is a versatile spice with a long history of traditional use and studies have indicated its role in supporting blood sugar balance.

"Honey has many known benefits, including supporting digestion and helping reduce menopausal bloating with its variety of probiotics, prebiotics and enzymes."


Sometimes breakfast, lunch and dinner do not feel filling enough, and we need something to keep us going throughout the day. For a menopause-managing snack, the experts advised going for almonds.

The menopause pros said: "Did you know that almonds are known to be a calming food? Apart from being a good source of protein, antioxidants - including vitamin E and monosaturated fats - almonds are a great source of magnesium, a particularly important mineral involved in hundreds of reactions in the body.

"Known as 'nature’s tranquilliser', it has a calming effect on muscles and nerves, but it is also necessary for energy production. What better snack to have between meals, possibly during work breaks?"

Full meal plan to improve menopause symptoms


  • Avocado and egg on wholemeal toast
  • Brown rice and organic tofu bowl
  • Chicken salad
  • 10-20g almonds


  • Small slice of apple crisp
What to ditch
  • 'Significantly reduce' alcohol consumption
  • 'Avoid' processed foods that are high in salt, sugar and saturated fat

Dr Ghazala and Martina Puzzo concluded: "This meal plan is an example of a healthy and complete dietary combination to support menopausal symptoms and manage weight gain. However, pay attention to the quantities as these should always remain within the individual physiological range to avoid excess nutrients and calories, as this can be harmful.

"Please always consult your nutritional care provider to find out what amount of the above foods is suitable for your daily intake."

Another menopause expert shared how women in their 40s and 50s can lose weight by avoiding a carbohydrate.

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