Personal Nutrition Guide

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What if I told you that you could enjoy your favorite desserts without throwing your hormone balance off track? Seriously, it’s not just wishful thinking. As a registered dietitian who keeps a close eye on food trends, I’ve noticed a shift away from anything sweet, with sugar often labeled as the villain. Now, I’m not here to advocate for loading up on sugar and expecting to feel fantastic, but what I am saying is that there’s a way to satisfy your sweet cravings while also incorporating foods that support hormone balance. 

In this post, I’m excited to share with you seven sweet treats that won’t send your hormones into a tailspin by incorporating hormone-balancing foods so that you and your hormones can enjoy them all month long.

Nutrition for Hormone Balance

Before jumping right into the fun part, let’s unpack the crucial role nutrition plays in fostering hormone balance. Hormones are involved in nearly every body function, regulating everything from metabolism to mood to energy and reproductive health. Imbalances in hormone levels can manifest in fatigue, mood swings, irregular periods, skin issues, fluctuations in weight, and even problems with digestion. This is why it’s important to understand the foundations of eating for hormone health and what that looks like. So, below, I’ve broken down some key concepts as well as specific hormone-balancing foods and nutrients I love. 

Blood Sugar Balance 

Hormones and blood sugar balance are tightly linked. For instance, insulin, the main hormone involved in regulating blood sugar levels, helps to ensure that our cells have enough energy to carry out functions that impact our whole body impacting our energy, mood, weight, and even organ function.  On the flip side, having steep fluctuations in blood sugar can wreak havoc on energy levels and mood and promote even more sugar cravings. This is why I always recommend opting for foods that help to provide a slow and steady release of glucose into your bloodstream while avoiding those causing rapid spikes and crashes.

One of the keys to supporting blood sugar is thinking about how you’re pairing your foods aka what foods and food groups you are eating together. We know that carbohydrates are quickly broken down into glucose, which can cause a spike in blood sugar. However, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid carbohydrates. Instead, it means pairing your carbohydrates (sweets) with fiber, unsaturated fat, and protein, which all work to slow the digestion and absorption of glucose into your blood, resulting in a much more steady rise in blood sugar without the crash. 

You’ll see that the recipes below contain some delicious sweets but are strategically paired with some healthy fats, fiber, and protein as well. 

The Power of Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are not only great for blood sugar, but they support our hormones in other ways, too. Healthy fats are essential for hormone production and function. They act as building blocks for some of our hormones and facilitate the transport of fat-soluble vitamins throughout the body. Incorporating sources of healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish into your diet can support hormone balance and overall well-being. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids found abundantly in foods such as chia seeds, walnuts, and brazil nuts boast anti-inflammatory properties, offering further support for hormonal health.

Healthy Fats for Hormone Balance

More Hormone-Balancing Healthy Foods, Nutrients

When it comes to thyroid and hormone health, three key players stand out: selenium, zinc, and iodine. These micronutrients are indispensable for maintaining optimal thyroid function and overall hormonal balance:

  • Selenium acts as a crucial helper for enzymes involved in thyroid hormone metabolism, ensuring the production and conversion of thyroid hormones run smoothly. 
  • Zinc is essential for synthesizing thyroid hormones and supporting immune function. 
  • Iodine, on the other hand, is one of the building blocks of thyroid hormones. 

So, where can you find these essential nutrients? Selenium-rich foods include brazil nuts, seafood, and poultry. Zinc can be sourced from oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds. You can also find iodine in seaweed, iodized salt, and dairy products. 

Chocolate & Hormones

As it turns out, you can still indulge in some chocolate while supporting your hormones. Chocolate, especially the dark variety, contains compounds like theobromine and caffeine in addition to its rich flavanol content (compounds found in plants with antioxidant properties), which may have mood-enhancing effects. Plus, some more recent research suggests that the prebiotic properties of dark chocolate may exert positive effects on mood via the gut-brain axis

This sweet treat is often linked to hormonal fluctuations and changes in neurotransmitter levels, making it a go-to comfort food during certain phases of the menstrual cycle. However, not all chocolate is created equal – opting for dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is key. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and more antioxidants than its milk chocolate counterpart, offering a healthier option to satisfy your cravings. 

Healthy Chocolate for Hormones

7 Hormone-Balancing Foods, Healthy Desserts 

Hormone-Healthy Rocky Road 

Once you start eating this hormone-healthy rocky road, you may find it hard to stop! It’s packed with the nutrients we talked about above, including dark chocolate, healthy fats, fiber,  protein, zinc, and iodine. 

Ingredients: 

1 ½  dark chocolate bar- 60% cocoa and above- the darker the better 

2 cup chopped almonds

¼  cup of yogurt (greek of DF)

¼ cup flax seeds 

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup pomegranates 

1 cup Bran Flakes

8 chopped dates

Sprinkle of  salt 

Recipe: 

Chop ingredients

Line a baking dish with parchment paper 

Melt chocolate down and mix in yogurt

Transfer to bowl and mix in all the other ingredients

Stir thoroughly to get evenly coated

Add to parchment line dish

Let chill in fridge until hard (2-3 hours)

Dates with Peanut Butter and Flaky salt

This combination always makes my mouth water. Dates give it a punch of sweetness while containing 7 grams of fiber per serving, while the peanut provides us with some fats and protein, and salt provides some iodine. In the end, you’re left with a really simple dessert that is sweet, salt, and savory. 

Ingredients:

2 Dates 

1-2 tbsp of peanut butter

Sprinkle of Salt 

Frozen Yogurt Bark 

When this recipe trend started, I couldn’t believe people I hadn’t thought of it before! Freezing greek yogurt is a great higher protein and lower sugar alternative to ice cream and allows for some fun flavors depending on the toppings and flavors you choose. 

Ingredients: 

2 Cups Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds

½ Cup Cherries (fresh or frozen) 

¼ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips/Crushed Squares

¼ Cup Crushed Walnuts 

2 tbsp Honey/Nut Butter (optional) 

Recipe:

Spread the yogurt evenly over a lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle crushed/chopped toppings 

Optional to finish with a drizzle of honey or nut butter

Chocolate Avocado Mousse 

You don’t want to knock this Chocolate Avocado Mousse until you try it. You’d be surprised at the creamy texture that avocados can bring. Avocados are a healthy fat powerhouse and also contain some fiber, both of which promote healthy blood sugar levels.

Ingredients:

Flesh of 2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup regular cocoa powder

1/4 cup melted dark chocolate chips

3-4 tbsp milk of choice 

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

Pinch of salt 

Recipe :

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. 

Chocolate-drizzled strawberries with coconut whipped cream (Hailey Bieber style) 

Ingredients:

One Container of Strawberries 

½ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips 

Zuma Valley Coconut Cream (this is the one used in Erewhon’s Smoothies! Just whip and it’s ready to go) 

Or

1 Can Full Fat Coconut Cream 

¼ cup of pure maple syrup (or 2-3 tbsp sweetener of choice)

Recipe:

Melt Chocolate Chips and Drizzle Chocolate on Strawberries

If making Coconut Whip Yourself: 

Take Chilled Coconut Cream and separate from liquid 

Whip the cream and add the sweetener of choice

Bone Broth Hot Cocoa  

This was a recent TikTok Trend and when I first saw it as much as I wanted to support it, I was skeptical. But the variety of it convinced me to give it a try anyways and let me tell you I’m a fan. This Bone Broth Hot Cocoa packs in anywhere from 12-20 grams of protein (depending on the brand), plus more if you make it with dairy milk while still getting in that chocolate fix. 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Bone Broth 

½  cup milk or milk alternative 

2-3 tbsp dark Chocolate Chips 

1 tbsp maple syrup 

1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional to  top with some homemade dairy or coconut whipped cream

Sweet chia seed pudding with raspberry, dark chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds

Chia Seed pudding is a go-to for me and something I often recommend to many of my clients as well. It’s so versatile, easy to prepare, and travels well, making it an excellent option for breakfast, a snack, or even a dessert, where it quickly takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with. Chia seeds are also a nutrient powerhouse with protein, fiber, and omega 3’s. The raspberries add some additional fiber and sweetness, and the pumpkin seeds provide some zinc. 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp chia seeds

½ cup milk or milk alternative (light coconut milk usually comes out the best) 

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup 

½ Cup Smashed Raspberries 

2 Tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips 

1-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds 

Recipe:

Combine chia seeds, milk, and sweetener and mix well

Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then mix again to eliminate clumping 

Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

When you’re ready to eat it, smash some raspberries and mix into chia seed pudding. 

Top with chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds

The Sweet Hormone-Balancing Conclusion…

In summary, these seven sweet treats offer delightful options for enjoying desserts while prioritizing your health by incorporating hormone-healthy foods. Each recipe provides a tasty yet simple way to indulge by focusing on protein, healthy fat, and fiber with a touch of sweetness. So, treat yourself to these sweet treats and savor the goodness of nourishing your body and hormones. 

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