Healthy Living Blog

Women & Life’s Little Changes

Tina Miller, MS RDN, Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,


When it comes to women one thing is constant; our bodies are continually changing.  Just when you think you’ve got yourself figured out, along comes a new stage in life that messes with your body balance.  Your nutrition needs, sleep requirements, and ability to maintain a healthy weight seem to constantly shift. This can be frustrating and can even negatively impact how we see ourselves.  With me, it’s that same darn 10 pounds!  I get in a routine, lose it and then, as if overnight, my routine no longer works and that 10 pounds creeps right back to my mid-section!

One of the most challenging times in life is when we’re in our 40s and 50s or “mid-life” (a term I really don’t like!) It’s much harder to maintain lean muscle mass, the way we carry our weight can change, and hormones begin to alter as we enter peri-menopause.  The foods you eat can greatly impact how you respond to life’s little changes and can make transitioning into mid-life easier.  I’ve provided some of the important nutrients you need here:

Hormonal Changes:

Peri-menopause, menopause

Decrease in Estrogen Contributes to:

-Increased risk for heart disease.


-Increased risk for High Blood Pressure


-Bloating (yes, it’s real!)


Beneficial Foods/Nutrients

-Omega-3 Fats: Fish (2-3 serv. /week), Flaxseed, Chia, Walnuts

-Potassium fruit/veggies (bananas, greens) and Quercetin (apples, onions)

-Reduce: salt/sodium (read labels) and refined carbs (white flour and sugar)

Body Composition Changes:


Metabolism slows:

-Muscle decreases, fat increases



Skin and Joints need attention:  Nourish Collagen

Beneficial Foods/Nutrients

-Balance by having healthy whole grain carbs with high quality protein at meals. Do strength training type of activities.

-Vitamin A rich foods (deep green, orange, red and deep yellow veg. and fruit).  Feed healthy joints with vitamin C foods such as citrus, berries and veg.

Bone Density Loss: Calcium absorption less effective as we age – Need 1200 mg/day. Emphasize food first, then add supplement (limit to 500mg Ca+, the max. absorbed in a single dose).

Vitamin D demands increase:

-essential nutrient for bone health, also for immunity, mood, and hormone production

Magnesium needs a boost:

-an essential energy nutrient that also required for strong bones

Beneficial Foods/Nutrients

– low fat milk, yogurt and *Calcium fortified foods: milk replacements, Calcium fortified Orange Juice.


-Dairy, fortified foods and some mushrooms—labels will specify “excellent source of vitamin D”


-Leafy greens, beans, legumes, nuts/ seeds, whole grains


Brain Health, Memory,  Mood and Energy:



-Antioxidants needs increase to protect brain cells

-Healthy fats are even more important to prevent artery stiffness and plaque in brain tissues

Mood and Energy

-Vitamin D, Probiotics (gut health, mood, energy)

– Absorption of Vitamin B-12 decreases with age; Folate needs increase

-Stay well hydrated: drink plenty of water, fluids throughout day.

Beneficial Foods/Nutrients

-Antioxidants rich fruit/veg: Berries, blueberries, leafy greens, avocado, choline (egg yolk) and selenium rich foods (Brazil nuts, nuts/seeds, beans, meats). Healthy fats like Olive, Avocado and Grape Seed Oils.

-Probiotics in cultured dairy and fermented foods (eat 1 or more daily).  B Vitamins found in fortified grains, leafy greens and some meats.

-B-12 found in wheat germ, fortified grains, some may need a supplement. Folate- Greens, cruciferous veg (cabbage family), citrus fruit/juice.

Sleep, Stress Sleep patterns change, loss of sleep

-Decrease or eliminate foods that can interfere with sleep and increase calming foods.



Beneficial Foods/Nutrients

Interfering foods: caffeine, refined carbs (white flour, sugar), meals too close to bedtime.

-Calming foods/Promote sleep: herbal teas such as chamomile.  Melatonin rich foods: tart cherries (dried, frozen)


Girl Power Recipes:

Black Bean Tacos with Roasted Peppers and Onions

Serves 4


Roasted Peppers and Onions:

16 Sweet peppers, mini, thinly sliced (3 cups)

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)

1 Tablespoon Olive oil


Taco Ingredients:


2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1 Medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

6 Garlic cloves, minced (2 tbs.)

2 (15 oz.) Cans True Goodness by Meijer™ Organic Black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can Fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 Tablespoons True Goodness by Meijer™ Organic Chili powder

1 Tablespoons True Goodness by Meijer™ Organic Ground cumin

1/8 Teaspoons Hot sauce, or more to taste

16 Taco shells or tortillas, warmed

1 Cup Water

1 Cup Prepared Guacamole (optional)


  1. To make Roasted Peppers and Onions: Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss peppers and sliced onions with oil on large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes, stir, and roast 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender and peppers are beginning to blacken. Transfer to small bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, to make Tacos, heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, and 1 cup water. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Mash beans until filling is thickened, but chunky, and most beans remain intact. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Transfer to serving bowl.
  4. Fill tacos with bean mixture. To each taco, add 1-2 tablespoons Light Sour Cream, ¼ cup Shredded 2% Milk Reduced Fat Mexican shredded cheese, lettuce and salsa. Top with guacamole if desired.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 475, Fat: 17.5g, Carbs: 69g, Fiber: 14g, Protein: 16g, Sodium: 795mg


Atlantic Salmon Marsala



4 Atlantic Salmon fillets (4-6oz each)

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups Flour

½ cup Olive oil

1 cup Marsala wine

2 cups Mushrooms, sliced

2 cups True Goodness by Meijer™ Chicken stock

2 tsp Fresh thyme

2 Tbsp Cold butter

4 sprigs Fresh thyme, for garnish



  1. Season Atlantic salmon fillets with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the flour on a plate, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Dredge both sides of each salmon fillet in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess flour.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan, add the olive oil, and then place each piece of salmon into the pan. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, turn the fillets over and cook until almost done. Remove fillets from pan; hold aside.
  3. Off the heat, carefully add the Marsala wine to the pan, scraping the bits off the bottom. Return pan to the heat and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and thyme, and let the liquid reduce by ½.
  4. Return the salmon fillets to the pan. Cook, while basting the fish, until the fillets are heated through. Remove fish fillets to 4 serving plates.
  5. Return the pan to heat, add the cold butter and swirl until incorporated and sauce slightly thickens. Remove from heat and divide sauce evenly over the 4 salmon fillets. Garnish each plate with thyme sprig, if desired.