- PCOS is a hormone imbalance that can cause irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, and acne.
- The cysts on the ovaries aren’t harmful and don’t need to be removed.
- The treatment for PCOS is healthy nutrition, exercise, and medications.
You may have noticed that some meals leave you satisfied while others leave you with a growling stomach only an hour later. One way to help you feel more satisfied by meals is to have a mix of different types of nutrients at each meal. A meal with a source of protein, a whole grain carbohydrate and a fat will help you to stay full for longer. For women with PCOS, or anyone who struggles to maintain a healthy weight, fueling up on well planned meals and snacks may also help to keep you from overeating during or after meal times.
Below are foods that are sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Remember to try to choose whole grain sources of carbohydrates versus sources of carbohydrates that are “refined” (made mostly from white flour and/or sugar). This is important because whole grains, which are higher in fiber, will not impact your blood sugar levels as much as refined sources of carbohydrate.
Take a look at the Sample PCOS-Friendly Menus to get some ideas, and then plan your own menu using the foods from the lists below. After you’ve planned your menu, make a shopping list of the foods you will need to help you eat a balanced diet.
PCOS-Friendly food lists:
- Brussel sprouts
- Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Yogurt (try to find an option with less than 15 total grams of sugar per serving)
- Egg Substitute
- Milk (low–fat)
- Nut butters (such as peanut butter or almond butter)
- Veggie Burgers (try to find an option with more than 10 grams of protein)
- Bread (whole wheat)
- Brown Rice
- Cereal (>5 grams fiber per serving)
- English Muffin (whole wheat)
- Pasta (whole wheat)
- Sweet Potato
Fat for food preparation/dressings:
- Canola or Vegetable Oil
- Corn oil
- Olive Oil
What snacks should I choose?
Foods from the grain, fruit, vegetable or protein group are healthy snacks because they are packed with nutrients. Try to pick high–fiber foods and combine them with high protein foods. For example, try an apple or celery with peanut butter, whole wheat crackers and cheese, whole wheat pita or carrots and hummus, or yogurt and nuts.Easy snack ideas
Before you go grocery shopping, make a list of all of the types of foods and drinks you’ll need such as: vegetables, fruits, proteins such as meat, dairy and legumes, and whole grain sources of carbohydrates. If you have a variety of these foods, you’ll be able to plan healthy meals and snacks. By paying attention to the labels on food products, you’ll be able to choose foods that you like, and are healthy for young women with PCOS. See the sample list below.
How do I use the Nutrition Facts label when grocery shopping?
Nutrition Facts labels are located on most food products, and list the nutrients that are found in one serving. Reading the labels can help you figure out which of your favorite foods are the most nutritious choices, and can also help you decide which foods to buy when you are grocery shopping.
Reading Nutrition Facts labels can help you to be more intentional about your food choices.
Sample Grocery Lists:Produce Meat/Poultry/Fish Non-meat Protein Oils Grains/Cereal