The diet plan for hypothyroidism works by controlling your insulin, which in turn can also help you lose weight. By losing weight, you can reverse hypothyroidism and reduce body fat, so that you won’t need to rely on other medications or treatment methods. This diet plan is not a quick trick and will take a lot of hard work to completely eliminate hypothyroidism, but if you are consistent with the tips I have outlined here, you will start seeing results in no time.
Hypothyroidism Meal Plan
Nearly 12% of all Americans will experience hypothyroidism at some point in their lives. When your thyroid gland is unable to produce enough thyroid hormones to satisfy your body’s needs, hypothyroidism develops. Fatigue, weight gain, trouble reducing weight, brittle nails, and irregular periods are typical symptoms.
For the best nutrition and outcomes, we’ll go through how to make a hypothyroidism diet plan in this post.
The PFC (Protein, Fat, Carb) Balance Method
The first crucial component of a food plan for hypothyroidism is our PFC Balance Method. PFC is a straightforward formula that guarantees each serving of food has protein, fat, and fiber-rich carbs. If used appropriately, this technique may help with weight loss since it encourages a healthy blood sugar balance, feeling full between meals, and fewer sugar cravings.
For each meal, aim for 20 grams of protein. This resembles a deck of cards in size and weighs roughly 3 ounces. Give high-quality sources like grass-fed beef, pastured pig and eggs, and wild-caught salmon and seafood the preference, if at all possible. Iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and other crucial thyroid elements are abundant in animal proteins.
Omega-3 anti-inflammatory fatty acids, minerals for the creation of thyroid hormones, and satisfaction between meals are all provided by healthy fats. Olives, avocados, coconut oil, almonds, and seeds are all good sources of fat. Aim for 1-2 teaspoons of oils and seeds with each meal. Aim for 1/4 cup of avocados, olives, and almonds per meal. Zinc is abundant in cashews or pumpkin seeds, while selenium is particularly abundant in Brazil nuts. These two minerals are necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones and the transformation of T4 into the active thyroid hormone, T3. In dishes from Root Farmacy like the Apple Chicken Burger and Ancho Chile Pot Roast, we adore utilizing pumpkin seeds!
Carbohydrates high in fiber are crucial for long-term success, intestinal health, and feeling full. Pick low-processed, high-fiber carbohydrate options including fruit, potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, oats, winter squash, beans, and lentils. Per meal, one portion of carbs equals between 1/4 and 1/2 cup.
Non-starchy vegetables are a critical part of your hypothyroidism food plan in addition to the PFC Balance Method. Non-starchy veggies are a great source of nutrients to promote thyroid hormone synthesis, antioxidants (or phytonutrients) to reduce inflammation, and fiber to feed good gut bacteria. Since the transformation of T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3 takes place in the gut, having a healthy gut is crucial for having a healthy thyroid. Attempt to consume three cups or more of non-starchy vegetables every day. Include a wide array of vegetables in your meals and snacks every day because they all provide various nutrients. Focusing on seasonal vegetables is a simple approach to provide diversity throughout the year. Additionally, since these vegetables are frequently on sale at your neighborhood grocery shop, eating seasonally often saves you money.
Non-Starchy Vegetables: leafy greens, Brussel’s sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, tomato, bell peppers, cucumber, zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, onions etc.
A class of proteins known as gluten is present in cereals like wheat, barley, and rye. Pasta, bread, crackers, cookies/pastries, cereal, and beer are examples of common foods that contain gluten. We do advise a gluten restriction in those with Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and autoimmune thyroid illness (Hashimoto’s), even though not everyone needs to follow a gluten-free diet. The most typical reason for hypothyroidism in the US is Hashimoto’s. In this illness, your thyroid gland is wrongly attacked by your immune system, resulting in gradual damage and inflammation that ultimately cause hypothyroidism. Utilizing a gluten-free diet to treat Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune disorders has been demonstrated to be beneficial in some trials. All of our Root Farmacy meals are gluten-free to offer a nutritious alternative for those who require it.
An exclusion diet may be employed if you’re looking for additional common food allergies that could be contributing to the inflammation that affects Hashimoto’s thyroid. The most typical food sensitivities are restricted for a brief period of time during an elimination diet, and then each food is gradually reintroduced.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine can interfere with sleep cycles, particularly late in the day. Treatment for hypothyroidism requires a healthy lifestyle that includes regular sleep schedules. We advise staying away from caffeine after noon because of this. Alcohol does not often offer many health benefits, can interfere with sleep cycles, and delivers “empty” calories. We advise having no more than one or two alcoholic beverages per week.
Hypothyroidism Meal Plan Ideas
It’s critical to consume enough calories and nutrients to meet your body’s needs if you have hypothyroidism. Extreme calorie or nutrient restriction, such as that found in numerous well-known fad diets, has an adverse effect on how well your thyroid functions. For instance, both short- and long-term diets can raise reverse T3 levels and perhaps cause a 50% drop in active T3 levels. Inadequate levels of active T3 hormone or too much reverse T3 might aggravate hypothyroidism and make losing weight even more challenging.
Appropriate serving sizes of protein, fat, carbs, and phytonutrients from non-starchy vegetables should all be included in a hypothyroidism meal plan.
Aim for at least 20 grams of protein with each breakfast. If you find yourself running short on time in the morning, consider meal prepping on Sunday!
- Overnight oats with nuts/seeds, berries, collagen powder, and plant-based milk
- Veggie-rich egg bake with roasted sweet potatoes or winter squash
- Sauteed chicken sausage hash with bell peppers, spinach/kale, sweet potatoes, avocado
For a filling lunch, we adore using our doctor and nutritionist developed Root Farmacy meals! These meals are dairy-free, gluten-free, and packed with nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium that are crucial for thyroid health. They are also fresh and have never been frozen. Additionally, if possible, we use seasonal and local vegetables.
Adding an afternoon snack helps to keep your energy levels high and prevents blood sugar dips that may lead to sugar cravings.
- Fruit and nuts or nut butter
- Carrot/pepper strips with hummus or guacamole
- Sardines on a handful of seed-based crackers
- Root Reset Protein Powder mixed with water or a plant-based milk
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Aim to eat dinner at home at least 5 days out of the week. However, consider what is most realistic for your lifestyle and long-term success. If you currently eat out most days of the week, consider setting a goal to eat at home (or dinner prepared at home) at least two days per week and build up from there. When planning meals, remember the PFC Method and include a protein, fat, carbohydrate, and non-starchy vegetable with each meal.
- Egg roll in a bowl with ground pork, cabbage, carrots, cashews, and rice or quinoa
- White chicken chili in the crockpot with beans, celery, carrots, and bell peppers
- Roasted sheet pan salmon with sweet potatoes and seasonal vegetables topped with pumpkin seeds
Tip: Dish up your plate and store leftovers before eating your dinner to ensure you have a nutritious lunch option for the next day!
Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroidism
When you have hypothyroidism, it might be difficult to maintain a healthy weight. These suggestions can assist you in losing excess weight and keeping it off.
Losing weight requires a combination of healthy eating, portion control, and regular exercise. However, if you have hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland’s underactivity could also be a factor.
Since the thyroid plays a significant role in regulating metabolic function, if hypothyroidism is not appropriately treated, losing weight may be more difficult. (The first observable indication of decreased thyroid function is frequently weight gain.) The most crucial thing you can do to lose weight and improve your general health is to receive the appropriate treatment for hypothyroidism. However, a few dietary adjustments could increase the likelihood of successful weight loss. Losing weight is never simple, but according to endocrinologist Leonor Corsino, MD, of the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery in Durham, North Carolina, those with well-controlled hypothyroidism shouldn’t suffer more than anybody else to do so.
1. Cut Out Simple Carbs and Sugars
The director of the Prime Wellness Clinic in San Diego, Kelly Austin, ND, is a naturopathic doctor with a focus on hormone issues. She suggests a moderate- to low-carbohydrate diet that prioritizes complex carbohydrates (think starchy vegetables and legumes) while avoiding simple sweets (pass on the candy and soda). Foods having a high glycemic load, such as refined grain goods and sugary beverages, may cause the body to become more prone to inflammation, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. But according to Dr. Austin, eating too little calories might trigger a stress reaction and reduce the production of T3, the active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine.
2. Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
According to Austin, anti-inflammatory foods can aid with sadness and joint pain, both of which can be brought on by hypothyroidism. According to Tina Beaudoin, ND, president of the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors and medical director of HealthStrong Integrative Medicine in Manchester, New Hampshire, anti-inflammatory foods can also calm the immune system, which is frequently in overdrive in people with hypothyroidism. According to Dr. Beaudoin, an anti-inflammatory diet can support appropriate intake of the vital nutrients required for good thyroid function, including magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamin C. It can also help calm the immune system and excessive inflammation. To fight inflammation, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, fatty salmon, nuts, fruit, and olive oil. Additionally, she adds, this diet lessens the pressure on the liver’s ability to metabolize highly processed meals. Because the liver converts 60% of T4 (the thyroid hormone thyroxine) to T3, Beaudoin says that having a healthy liver is crucial.
3. Stick to Small, Frequent Meals
According to Beaudoin, hypothyroidism slows down digestive activity. “Eating smaller, more frequent meals that are balanced in macronutrients—quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats—supports balanced blood sugar and helps prevent the highs and lows of big, highly processed meals,” the author claims.
4. Keep a Food Diary
Dr. Corsino warns that if you don’t keep track of everything you eat and drink, your daily calorie consumption might soon rise. It can also assist in making sure that your diet is balanced. For someone with hypothyroidism to measure their macronutrient consumption, Austin advises keeping a food journal. The optimal diet for thyroid function is one that is high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low to moderate in carbohydrates.
5. Move Your Body
According to Corsino, exercise is a crucial addition to a balanced diet in order to aid in calorie burning. Austin advises that you take each situation as it comes. “Exercise can further decrease hypothyroidism if a person is extremely exhausted, “Texas adds “Exercise is advised if a person has hypothyroidism under control and the energy.
6. Take Thyroid Medication as Directed
According to Corsino, thyroid hormone should be taken first thing in the morning with plenty of water on an empty stomach. Wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before having breakfast after taking it, and avoid taking it with any other drugs. Your ability to reduce weight may be hampered if, despite taking your medicine as prescribed, your thyroid level remains elevated. Discuss any therapy modifications with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for you.
14-Day Meal Plan For Hypothyroidism And Weight Loss
Looking for a sample meal plan tailored to your condition… one that you can follow right now?
The 14-Day Meal Plan For Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss is a Dietitian-made plan to help make life easier (and more delicious) when learning what you should and should not eat with an underactive thyroid.
It’s designed to be:
- Simple to follow for busy folks with many mouths to feed
- Realistic, with recipes that beginners can master
- Gluten-free (which often appears beneficial for those with Hashimoto’s)
- Loaded with nutrient-dense foods (especially spinach and legumes for folate: see the MTHFR mutation link)
- Naturally rich in selenium, zinc and iodine for thyroid health, and vitamin B12 for more energy
- Budget-friendly (except for two worthwhile investments: chia seeds and quinoa).
You can follow the entire plan for the whole 14 days, or simply choose your favourite recipes and include them into your current diet. Many are recipes from qualified Dietitians that I strongly encourage you to follow!
Note that if you are trying to lose a lot of weight, I recommend you read this guide as well as this one. Also this is not suitable for those following the Autoimmune Protocol.
The 14-Day Meal Plan For Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss
Must-Read Starting Notes:
- Consult with your personal doctor or Dietitian first: While I am a qualified Dietitian, I’m not familiar with your personal medical history, your current medications or additional factors that need to be considered when altering your diet or fitness regime.
- Thyroid hormone should be consumed fasting: At least 1-2 hours before your first food (being conservative). This could mean you skip breakfast altogether, which is fine if it suits you. It just depends on your eating habits and what works best for your lifestyle.
- Goitrogens, soy and legumes: Goitrogens and soy seem to be safe in moderate amounts, but you can always leave them out. The same goes for legumes, often left out of Paleo diets (although I don’t recommend they be left out). If legumes give you digestive stress, it could be the FODMAPs.
- Choose water as your drink: The meal plan does not include drinks, but keep a bottle of water with you at all times and drink up. Tea is also fine, but anecdotal reports suggest more than 300 mg per day of caffeine (2-3 regular coffees) can aggravate the thyroid.
- Flexibility is key: Of course this plan cannot meet all your individual needs, so if there is an ingredient you don’t eat then replace it or leave it out. Also it pays off to batch prepare some meals ahead of time so you can simply reheat and go.
- Limit or eliminate junk foods and highly processed products: This plan focuses on whole, unrefined foods as they are fundamental to a healthy diet. Realistically it’s very difficult to eliminate all highly processed (often pre-packaged) foods, but just be mindful of cutting down. Likewise, snacks listed are optional depending on your regular eating habits, and there are bonus snack recipe ideas if you scroll to the bottom.
- The recipes sourced often make 2-4 servings: Consider this when writing your shopping list. You will have leftovers. Feed the family or save the leftovers to have in place of a meal on another day. Recipes toward the end of the week factor in leftovers.
What Is the Best Hypothyroidism Diet?
It’s important to watch your intake of certain nutrients when you have an underactive thyroid, especially if you’re taking medication for it.
The underactive thyroid disorder known as hypothyroidism slows down the body’s metabolism. The disorder may result in minor weight gain of 5 to 10 lbs. and bloating. Levothyroxine is a medication that can help control thyroid hormone levels and treat symptoms, including weight gain.
When hormone levels are in check, subsequent weight loss uses the tried-and-true strategy of consuming fewer calories at meals and burning more calories through activity.
Although there are some helpful suggestions for maintaining essential nutrients and avoiding prescription interactions, the optimum diet for those with hypothyroidism will generally resemble a healthy diet for anyone.
The greatest way to gain nutrients is through eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Your intake of these crucial vitamins and minerals will be maximized if you consume at least five pieces each day. Never use additional vitamin supplements or medications without consulting a doctor first.
Important Nutrients to Watch in Hypothyroidism
Levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone frequently administered to treat hypothyroidism, can be inhibited by some calcium-rich diets. Be on the lookout for calcium in unlikely locations, such as chewable antacids. Levothyroxine should normally be taken on an empty stomach due to the effects of calcium. The gel and liquid formulations are believed to lessen interactions with calcium and other minerals if that upsets your stomach.
Levothyroxine and other synthetic thyroid hormones have been found to be less effective when consumed in excess levels of fiber. Fiber supplements are often not advised if you follow a healthy diet that includes fruit and vegetables.
Iodine is necessary for a healthy thyroid and the thyroxine hormone’s synthesis. Anyone with hypothyroidism receiving levothyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroxine, does not need to take iodine supplements. However, iodine use might exacerbate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, a condition when the thyroid is hyperactive. Iodine deficiency-related hypothyroidism can be treated with an adequate intake of dietary iodine, which your doctor can help you evaluate.
Another mineral, iron, can lessen levothyroxine’s efficiency. Before increasing your iron consumption, see your doctor. Levothyroxine should be taken at least two hours before or after any iron supplements, including multivitamins that contain iron.
Kelp contains naturally high levels of iodine and should be avoided by anyone with hypothyroidism.
Selenium, which is present in beans, Brazil nuts, eggs, sardines, and tuna, is another vitamin that has been linked to thyroid function. Supplements are not advised because too much selenium is not beneficial for you.
Another food item that can prevent the absorption of levothyroxine is soy. A few hours before or after consuming soy, as before, is the optimal time to take the hormone. Check labels because certain soy milk products may contain iodine.
The role of vitamin D in controlling calcium and phosphorus to safeguard the strength of your bones and teeth has long been recognized. However, more recent research has suggested that vitamin D may also play a role in endocrine disorders such diabetes, hypothyroidism, and Hashimoto’s disease.
A slight correlation between low vitamin D levels and hypothyroidism has been identified in certain studies, but given how frequently people are vitamin D deficient, this finding could simply be coincidental.
The British Thyroid Foundation states that while preliminary studies have suggested a potential benefit from vitamin D supplementation for thyroid problems, more thorough research is required to determine their safety and efficacy.
Common sources of zinc include shellfish, meat, poultry, and legumes (beans), and it is believed to be another mineral that is beneficial for thyroid function.
Always consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements because it is preferable to obtain vitamins and minerals via diet rather than supplements. Vitamin overdoses can be hazardous and cause thyroid blood tests to be performed incorrectly. Additionally, make sure to read the package insert for any contraindications if you are on any hypothyroidism medications.
Foods to Avoid While Taking Levothyroxine
Levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone, is frequently provided to people with hypothyroidism. Although a number of foods and beverages can reduce a drug’s effectiveness, any negative interactions can usually be prevented by timing and method of intake.
Levothyroxine may be less effectively absorbed when consumed alongside calcium, fiber, and iron-rich meals, according to some research. To prevent poor absorption, take calcium, iron, or fiber supplements at least four hours after taking levothyroxine.
Levothyroxine pills should normally be taken on an empty stomach, 30 to 60 minutes prior to or following use of coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
Levothyroxine can be taken as a gel or liquid instead of a tablet to reduce the interaction with food or beverages.
Sample Meal Plan
Here are some ideas from the National Institutes of Health for an approximately 1,600-calorie day of meals.
- One slice of whole wheat bread
- 2 teaspoons jam
- ½ cup shredded wheat cereal
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- Coffee or apple juice
- MEAL TOTAL: Approximately 500 calories
- 2 pieces whole grain toast
- 2 teaspoons jam
- 2 scrambled eggs (using egg whites or egg substitute)
- Apple juice
- MEAL TOTAL: Approximately 400 calories
- Turkey (2 oz.) sandwich with:
- 1 slice of cheese
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 2 tsp. low-calorie mayonnaise
- 1 medium apple
- MEAL TOTAL: Approximately 400 calories
- Salmon (3 oz.), cooked with 1 T. olive oil
- Baked potato with 1 tsp. margarine
- 1 cup green beans and carrots with margarine
- Whole wheat dinner roll
- Milk, iced tea or water
- MEAL TOTAL: Approximately 700 calories
- 2 ½ cups popped popcorn
- 1 T. margarine
- TOTAL: Approximately 170 calories