Perimenopause is a time when your ovaries are starting to wind down and your body is slowly transitioning out of your fertile years into your next chapter: menopause. Joy of joys!

Perimenopause: what is actually happening?

During this time your cycles and hormone levels are starting to change as your body works towards lower oestrogen levels. With the decline of oestrogen many changes start to happen in our bodies.

The changes can be found in:

So when we're thinking about diet, it's important to consider how to best support these changes going on in your body.

Perimenopause is a critical time to focus on what you're putting in your body.

Remember: you are what you eat.  We also want you to remember that there is no one diet that's universally right for everyone.

You need to find the right diet that suits your body and your needs.  You can only really do that by experimenting and journalling how you feel over a period of time.  

You are unique and unlike anyone else.  Where one food might be fine for one person, it might make you feel fatigued and sluggish.

When it comes to food and choosing the best diet to support your perimenopausal body, consider the following four key factors:

1. All-Powerful Protein 

Protein is packed with essential amino acids needed for peri health. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein needed by our bodies to make the protein structures that build, maintain and repair every cell and tissue including in our digestive and immune systems.  So critical!

Remember that our gut integrity becomes impaired as oestrogen declines so protein helps repair our gut lining (brilliant!).

Perimenopause is also a time when our muscle mass and bone strength is on the decline so we need the amino acids to help increase our muscle mass and strengthen our bones. 

But.....not all proteins are equal.

Protein food sources contain essential amino acids that our bodies can’t make.

There are nine essential amino acids (for the Nutrition Nerds, these are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) that we need to source from food.

Animal sources of protein have all the nine essential amino acids and so called Complete Proteins.

If you are vegan or vegetarian you need to combine different food groups to gain all nine essential amino acids i.e grains and legumes or nuts and seeds plus legumes. Here’s a good source for vegans seeking complete protein sources. 

The Peri Protein Rule - You need to eat 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight daily.  Go here to see what a day of protein could look like.

Good sources of protein are:

  • Lean meats – beef, lamb, veal, pork, kangaroo
  • Poultry – chicken, turkey, duck
  • Fish and seafood – fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products – milk, yoghurt (especially Greek yoghurt), cheese (especially cottage cheese)
  • Nuts (including nut pastes/butters) and seeds – almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Legumes and beans – all beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, organic tofu, organic soybeans.

What does 20 grams of protein look like?

  • Chicken breast 87 grams - 20 grams of protein
  • Lentils 263 grams - 20 grams of protein.

2. Wholefood diet

Perimenopause is a time when our bodies are going through a transition period, under pressure and feeling the stress. It's a time where we have to be super kind and gentle on ourselves: to nourish our body and give it the best fuel possible to deal with the changes and charge us up for everyday.

Eating a varied diet of foods that's as close as nature intended is key.

Foods like:

  • Fruit and vegetables (Lots! Eat the rainbow)
  • Fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Chicken and other meat
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese.

Avoid processed foods depleted of nutrients and minerals, packed full of added colourings/preservatives/unhealthy fats and are hyper-palatable which makes us want to eat more.

Processed foods are associated with bad health outcomes and promote inflammation when we are already in a pro-inflammatory state (which causes and exacerbates so many unpleasant perimenopause symptoms).

Be sure to include some good fat (around the size of your thumb) with each meal:

  • Avocado
  • Good quality oil: olive/coconut
  • Nuts
  • Coconut flakes
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Goat's cheese/feta/halloumi.

Eating fat with each meal will provide your body with an even energy source rather than the extreme highs and crashes provided by sugar as a fuel source.

3. Diet high in fruit and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are foods from the Gods!

They are packed full of fibre, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.

Why is fibre important in peri health?

It keeps us fuller for longer and feeds our good gut bacteria. A diet high in fruit and vegetables helps reduce obesity and maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

You need to eat an array of fruit and vegetables in as many colours as possible to ingest as many different types of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients as possible.

What are phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients are nutrients derived from plants and absolute health powerhouses.  They have huge health benefits for us such as fighting inflammation which can cause and exacerbate our peri symptoms, and antioxidant powers to help prevent damage to cells throughout our bodies.  


The Cruciferous Family of veg, especially high in valuable nutrients, contain the phytonutrient, Sulforaphane, which has been well studied to have a wide range of properties such as:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anticancer
  • Antiinflammatory
  • Antiaging
  • Neuroprotective and
  • Antidiabetic.

Veg in the Cruciferous Family include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Bok Choy.


4. Drink plenty of water and reduce or eliminate alcohol

Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is absolutely crucial to supporting your body as you go through perimenopause and reducing symptoms.

You need to drink approximately 2 litres of water a day, so about 8 glasses. 

This helps your body flush out any toxins that aren’t beneficial to our health and to perform vital chemical reactions for sustaining a healthy life.

Staying hydrated is critical for brain health and cognition.

Something as simple as a glass of water can make a world of difference to your quality of life!

About Alcohol

Ange's thoughts (Ange is SheBANG!'s wonderful Clinical Nutritionist):

"I would say that for perimenopausal women it would be more appropriate to say no more than 5 standard drinks a week and no more than 2 drinks at any one time to protect themselves from exacerbating peri symptoms."

Read Ange's full thoughts on alcohol here.

But! As with all, we recommend experimenting to see what you can tolerate by giving it a break for 4 weeks to see how you feel then reintroducing alcohol little by little to see the effect it has on your unique self.  


So, in a nutshell, here's what you need to focus on in your diet to support your body as you go through perimenopause:

  • Adequate protein with every meal
  • LOTS of vegetables and some fruit
  • Some good fats with every meal
  • Drink lots of water (probably avoid alcohol just for now as you go through peri, but experiment to evaluate your limits and tolerance)
  • Eat natural food: meat, fruit, veg, whole grains, good fats - avoid processed food like the plague.

Hot tips for eating better in Perimenopause 

What you eat is especially important during perimenopause.  If ever you thought about self-care by feeding yourself good, nutritious food, that time is right now.  Your future self will thank you for it.

To help, get rid of any foods that you know are not good for you - you know the ones: the ones you know make you feel yucky and aren't helping your health.  Removing those foods will help you make better choices during the day when you're feeling hungry or peckish.  Have healthy substitutes to hand.

Plan meals ahead of time that'll keep you full and satisfied.  In your meals, always include a generous serving of protein, a thumb size of good fat and at least half a plate full of different coloured vegetables.

It’s important to enjoy food and have fun with it.  Have a look around for new ways to cook your usual protein and veg - Insta and Tik-Tok have some crazy-good food inspo.

If you feel like you need a reset, you could consider a gentle fast or the keto diet (for the short term). 

Again, experiment and see what works for you best.  Nobody knows you better than you know yourself.

And the Golden Rule: don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Food: it's a whopper of a subject and this is just a super quick overview of some of the key food groups to seriously consider when you're going through perimenopause. 

What else would you like to hear about? Drop us a comment below 😊

Check out our blog posts about Perimenopause symptoms and food:

  • Do you have unexplained weight gain around your middle? It could be insulin resistance. Read more here
  • Perimenopausal weight gain: how to combat it… Read more here.
  • Do you have bloating? And don’t know why? Read more here
  • How to stop sugar cravings. Read more here.
  • How to look after your gut health. Read more here.

Looking to ease your perimenopause symptoms?
Check out our Peri Chai Latte right here


February 09, 2022 — Angela Greely


Maria said:

Very very well thought through, super clear, excellent nutrition guidence..reckon ..F’ING nailed it xx

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