I know you can relate to this: standing at the refrigerator with the door open, and asking yourself “what the heck am I going to eat?”
The feeling can be exasperated when you’re overwhelmed with confusion and fear surrounding what to eat with PCOS. The answer: simplicity and planning.
Many of my clients have been paralyzed by the idea that meals have to be “fancy” or complicated to be healthy, but this is far from the truth.
My number one tip for PCOS meal planning: KEEP IT SIMPLE!
It can also feel daunting to be required to stick to a meal plan. But this isn’t what meal planning with PCOS is about—it’s about being prepared so you can nourish your body during your busy life and reduce stress. So, allow yourself to use meal planning as a tool with flexibility, and not as another way to diet!
Before you get started, here’s a few tips on creating a PCOS friendly meal plan.
Plan to eat three meals a day + snacks. Eating regularly throughout the day provides you with steady energy and promotes hormone balance.
DON’T plan every little detail. Keep it flexible by choosing just 2 breakfast options, 2 lunch options, and 3-5 dinner options (or whatever works for you!) for your weekly PCOS meal plan ideas. You can always switch it up the following week. This gives you flexibility in choosing what you really want depending on the day, with assurance that there are options available. Spend 10 minutes each week planning meals. I recommend getting a meal planning notepad to make it easy!
Start by picking your protein. Protein at meals and snacks helps keep you full and regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Examples: eggs, meat, poultry, soy, beans, lentils, nuts, collagen, protein powder, yogurt
Fill up on fiber. Fiber also helps slow blood sugar absorption, as well as feeds good gut bacteria and helps you have regular bowel movements to remove waste like leftover estrogen. Try making half your plate veggies and fruits. Examples: berries, bananas, oranges, apples, avocado, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, chia, flaxseed, beans, lentils, whole grains
Choose your carbs/starch. Carbohydrates provide the body with easy-to-use energy. Often times people are creating their PCOS meal plan to avoid carbs. You do NOT have to do this! Try choosing carbs that contain fiber (see above), and give attention to how much feels best for your body. Examples: bread, rice, pasta, cereal, beans, lentils, popcorn, chips, tortillas, corn, potatoes, fruit and veggies
Fit in some fat. Fat is so satisfying, keeps you full, provides flavor, and is needed for hormone production among many other roles in the body. Fat is easily incorporated as a topping or used in cooking. Examples: olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, salad dressings, mayo, butter
Make a short list of snacks to have on hand for when you need them. Try combining carbs with protein or fat.
Sample PCOS meal plan:
Breakfast: Eggs + bell peppers cooked in olive oil bell peppers + orange slices + 1 slice toast
Lunch: Tuna salad with mayo and onion + sliced cucumbers + cheese + whole grain crackers
Dinner: Chicken + wild rice + mixed veggies stir-fry in avocado oil
Snack: almonds + dark chocolate
Lastly, you have to make this PCOS meal plan work for you by putting it to action! Make it super easy on yourself throughout the week by doing a bit of meal prep.
Here’s a few PCOS meal prep ideas to get you through the week:
Make a list using your PCOS meal plan and shop on a designated day.
Clean up the kitchen first and get out a trimmings bowl (especially if you’re chopping veggies).
Start with produce. Wash and chop.
Batch prep. This means preparing large amounts of something at once, such as cooking meats to use throughout the week, making waffles to freeze or chopping all the veggies to snack on or cook later. This will help you save time throughout the week so you can nourish your body with all those PCOS friendly foods.
Store prepped foods in containers for easy on-the-go individual meals. Find some of my favorite container options HERE.
Make one meal, double it, and eat leftovers or freeze for another week.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just start small. PCOS meal planning, prep, and cooking takes practice. And remember, simple food is still nourishing food. You can do this!
Get a head start on breakfast by joining my PCOS email community and receive the Peace with PCOS: Breakfast Guide with 10 PCOS friendly breakfast recipes.
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