You’re probably here because you’ve discovered that what you eat is a pivotal part of reversing your PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and lessening (or completely eliminating!) your symptoms.
Create sustainable, hormone-balancing eating habits with this list of pantry must-haves for a healthy PCOS-friendly 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.
Symptoms like cramping, bloating, acne, an irregular menstrual cycle, and weight gain can be managed — and even reversed to help aid weight loss. It’s also important to remember that your diet and lifestyle go hand in hand. In addition to eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and upping your physical activity, your diet should be varied, so you’re getting a broad spectrum of macronutrients and feel satisfied after eating.
Pantry Must-Haves For a Healthy PCOS Diet
In this blog, I want to help you 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 nutrient-rich foods that manage the symptoms of PCOS without feeling like you’re giving up the joy that a delicious meal can bring!
“But Tallene, where do I start?” – I hear you!
Sirak, my husband and PCOS personal trainer, and I, 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!
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!
Healthy Eating for Breakfast
Women with PCOS know that breakfast is super important when it comes to improving insulin levels. We want meals that are filling but low in sugar and high in protein! 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! It has a low glycemic index, which helps to regulate blood sugar.
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. I have them every day.
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, if you are living that dairy free life.
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 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 craving 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, before dunking it again in the mixture, adding more breadcrumbs…and then boom! He’s ready to bake it at 400F for 25-30 minutes.
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 while watching a good movie. To keep it PCOS-friendly and within my carb tolerance, I like to have a couple of slices of pizza with a hefty side kale salad. If you’re a plant-based Cyster, simply leave out the mozzarella and the sausage and replace with chunks of avocado or dairy free cheese for a delicious vegan-friendly meal.
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 dairy free Violife 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 them!)
- 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!
Yes, we’re talking about the ‘good’ fats here! Fatty, high-fiber fish including tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel are packed with omega-3s and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to regulate insulin resistance and lower inflammation and blood pressure. Omega-3s are also linked to improving hair and skin quality, which is a plus for PCOS Cysters who may be struggling with acne or PCOS-related hair loss.
I just love tacos – they are SO versatile! (And great for making 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!