You’re probably here because you’ve discovered that what you eat is a pivotal part of reversing your PCOS and lessening (or completely eliminating!) your symptoms. Create sustainable, hormone balancing eating habits with this list of pantry must-haves for a healthy PCOS diet. For a full list of your grocery shopping pantry guide, scroll to the end of this post, enter your email, and we’ll send it straight to your inbox in a handy downloadable format.
Things like cramping, bloating, acne, irregular menstrual cycle, and weight gain can be managed — and even reversed to help you lose weight. It’s also important to remember that your diet and lifestyle go hand in hand. You should be able to quickly and easily go to the grocery store, shop and have a stocked pantry with yummy, easy and efficient essentials to make fully nutrient rich foods that manage the symptoms of PCOS without feeling like you’re giving up the joy a delicious meal can bring!
“But Tallene, where do I start?” I hear you!
Sirak, my husband and PCOS personal trainer, and myself, a registered dietitian, are here to help! Let’s start by stocking up your pantry with your PCOS essentials!
It’s time to eat the food you love, which loves you back! PCOS style!
Healthy Eating for Breakfast
What makes a recipe Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome friendly? We’ve got a few suggestions to try: dairy free, gluten free and high in protein, fiber & healthy fat!
Women with PCOS know that breakfast is super important when it comes to helping to control our insulin levels. We want meals that are filling but low in sugar! Breakfast sets us up for blood sugar stability for the rest of the day by having the proper ratio of nutrients.
Oatmeal is an amazing breakfast that doesn’t have to be boring!
I love adding things like chia seeds and chocolate protein powder to my oatmeal to make it extra yummy!
Chia seeds are a great source of fiber – which helps to slow down the absorption of carbs, helping you avoid a big swing in blood sugar.
Protein powder also helps to stabilize blood sugar and adds a sweet kick without the sugar. Watch out for proteins with added sugars or sweeteners, like stevia. Studies show that these can trick our body into thinking we’re eating something sweet, and pump up our insulin. As you may know, high insulin triggers more testosterone. Another thing I like to make sure of when it comes to protein powder is that it doesn’t have ‘whey’ protein. This is actually dairy – so opt for a dairy free option, like hemp protein.
Alongside a filling breakfast, spearmint tea is a PCOS super-drink. Research has shown that three cups of spearmint tea a day can decrease testosterone and improve PCOS symptoms like excessive hair growth (known as hirsutism).
My sip of choice is the Pique spearmint tea (5% off code THECYSTERHOOD) – no more toxic plastic tea bags that seep into my hot water and disrupt my endocrine system. Pique tea has cold pressed, triple toxin screened teas. I love how I can can mix it in cold or hot water, that way I can have ice tea or hot tea depending on what I feel like. It’s also caffeine free, which is key for me to manage my stress hormones.
PCOS Friendly Lunch
Just because we’re not eating processed foods, freeze dried foods, gluten or dairy doesn’t mean we can’t have carbs or fun foods like chicken tenders! Once you know your PCOS type, you can learn how to eat the right amount of carbs for your body so that you feel good after your meal, and you’re not cravings snacks. Here’s a delicious and satisfying lunch that I love…
Chicken tender salad
Light, delicious and doesn’t make you feel sluggish in the afternoon: What’s not to love?
This is one of Sirak’s top 10 meals. Sirak likes to make chicken tenders for dinner, making them a great lunch the next day. He likes to double layer the chicken tenders in gluten free breadcrumbs! First, he dips strips of chicken tenders in a mixture of 2 tbsp mayo, 2 tbsp mustard and 1 egg. Then, he’ll dip it in the breadcrumbs, then he dunks it for a second time in the mixture, then more breadcrumbs…and then boom! He’s ready to bake it at 400F for 25-30 minutes.
The next day, it makes for a perfect salad. I like to have romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and shallots on my salad. Then, i’ll drizzle some olive oil and apple cider vinegar, which is great for blood sugar control. Then, for my final touch, I’ll add some pumpkin seeds for that boost of zinc and magnesium. Many Cysters are deficient in zinc and magnesium, so it’s important to give it a little boost because these minerals play a big role in our hormone health! A side note about purchasing foods: Always make sure you’re checking expiration dates. Just because something is prepped for a pantry doesn’t mean it won’t go bad after a long time!
Energy Boosting Snack
Although I don’t suggest snacking all day throughout the day, sometimes a bite is necessary between lunch and dinner. It’s always best to prepare in advance or else the cravings will strike and you’ll be heading for the cookies! A snack should have a touch of protein, carb, fat and fiber to keep you satisfied and your blood sugar stable until your next meal.
Cheeze, crackers and crudites are great to munch on during days where your body is signaling to you that it needs or wants more calories!
In the beginning of the week, I like to chop up sticks of cucumber, peppers and celery. That way I can quickly grab it and snack on them alongside some delicious dairy free cheese and some crunchy crackers! This snack is great because I’m getting my fiber from the veggies, carbs from the crackers, and then my protein and fat from the dairy free cheese! If you don’t have access to dairy free cheese, a handful of nuts will be all the same!
Healthy Fats for Dinner
Who doesn’t love a pizza? My favorite is caramelized onion and squash pizza. The key with gluten and dairy free pizza is to have some bomb toppings. The combination I’m about to share with you is diabolical! This is a fun dinner to make on a Friday night and eat it while watching a good movie. To keep it PCOS friendly and within my carb tolerance, I like to have a couple slices of pizza with a side salad.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 gluten free pizza crust
- Violife mozzarella shredded cheese
- 1 cup chopped butternut squash 1 Italian sausage
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp pizza sauce
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- sage leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
And here’s how to make it!
- Combine the butternut squash with olive oil, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Bake for 30 min at 375F.
- Meanwhile, sauté the onions until caramelized, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Then, add the Italian sausage and fully cook.
- Assemble the pizza, first add pizza sauce, then cheese, then the squash, sausage, and onions. Cook it in the oven for as long as the crust’s packaging says. Meanwhile, sauté the sage and pumpkin seeds in olive oil (but make sure you don’t burn it!)
- When the pizza is done, top it with the sage and pumpkin seeds!
This is a top secret recipe from inside The Cysterhood! Enjoy it and join us to find out more!
I just love tacos – they are SO versatile! (And great for making a guest-friendly gluten and dairy free dinner!).
Fish tacos are always a big hit with our friends and family – you can find out how we make them here! The essential item? Corn tortillas, or if you like wraps, gluten free tortilla wraps! Fill them with your favorite proteins and veggies or dish them up ‘family style’ so guests can fill their own.
Mac & cheese
Busy day? Craving some comfort food? We stock up on our number one mac and cheese that’s color, preservative and artificial flavor free! Whip up some ground beef and a side salad and you’re good to go in less than 15 minutes! You’ve got your protein from the ground beef, carbs and fat from the pasta, and your fiber from the veggies. Sometimes I even like to mix in some small, diced and roasted zucchini!