Free Diet Plan For Pcos: A diet plan for pcos is a diet that has been designed for individuals who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. As I’m sure you know, suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome comes with a bevy of health problems, many of which are heavily influenced by your diet. That’s why it’s so important to find a diet plan for pcos that not only works but also makes sense in regards to your specific medical recommendations.
Free Diet Plan For Pcos
If you have PCOS, you know how confusing it can be to know what to eat! Not only is the internet is loaded with conflicting information, but who has time to plan meals and find recipes? My patients with PCOS always ask “what should I eat”? While there no one-size-fits-all diet for women with PCOS, there are general guidelines that will decrease symptoms and health risks. So I decided to put together some resources to help clear the confusion on what to eat as well as take the stress out of meal planning. Read on to get access to my FREE 4 day PCOS Meal Plans and Recipes Guide along with a Bonus Guide on 30 Nutrition Tips for PCOS.
PCOS Meal Planning Considerations
A healthy diet is the first step in treating your PCOS. But it can be confusing to know what to eat. You may be focusing on cutting carbs drastically or omitting gluten or dairy or even going keto. While this may work for some people, it doesn’t mean you have to. When helping my clients with PCOS plan meals, I like to focus more on what they SHOULD include in their diet more that what they should omit. Certain foods can help heal your PCOS by lowering insulin levels, decreasing inflammation, improving gut health, promoting a healthy weight, and decreasing risk of diabetes and heart disease. increased risk of heart disease, and carb cravings.
There are no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet for PCOS. However I do have a few general recommendations to keep in mind when meal planning:
- Select low glycemic carbs and limit added sugars to decrease insulin & inflammation
- Add protein (plant & animal) to meals to stay full longer & aid in wt loss. Your body best utilizes protein when it’s spaced out into 3 meals. In addition, if you are on a lower calorie diet in attempts of losing weight, your body actually needs more protein!
- Add fat to meals to stay full longer & slow rise of blood sugar. Select heart healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds and nut butters, olives, and avocado.
- Fill up on fiber. Fiber helps prevent blood sugar and insulin spikes, lowers cholesterol, helps prevent constipation that often occurs with low carb diets, lowers risk of some cancers and feeds the “good” bacteria in the gut (thereby keeping your gut microbiome healthy). You can add fiber with veggies, flax or chia seeds, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and fruits.
- Increase anti-inflammatory foods including fatty fish, dark green leafy greens, orange vegetables, garlic, tea, berries, shitake mushrooms, ginger, turmeric, nuts, EVOO, beans.
- Limit inflammatory foods including including added sugars, processed refined carbohydrates, trans fats, red meat, and vegetable oils rich in omega 6 fats including soybean, corn, safflower and specific foods you may be sensitive to
- Eat for gut health (pre/probiotic rich foods). See my BONUS guide for the full list.
- Avoid highly processed foods and higher glycemic index, more sodium/sugar/additives
- Choose hormone free, organic meats, poultry dairy when possible.You’ll get a lot more details in the BONUS Guide 30 Nutrition Tips for PCOS
What’s In The Free PCOS Meal Plans Guide?
I hand-picked the meal plans and recipes included in this 4 day guide to align with my nutrition recommendations for PCOS. The recipes are rich in anti-inflammatory foods, vegetables, and fiber.
- 3 meals a day and one snack
- Calories: 1300-1500 calories. Most of my patients with PCOS follow a range of 1200-1700 calories – so I picked an average. You may need to adjust portions and add/omit snacks if you want to decrease or increase the calories. I don’t recommend going below 1200 calories for most women … unless you are doing some kind of intermittent fasting 2 days a week.
- Carbs. There is no one recommendation for how many carbs you should eat a day. However I choose to create meal plans that contained 30-40% of calories from low glycemic carbs (or a max of 40 grams per meal and 15-20 grams per snack). Curious to know how many carbs a day might be good for YOU? Read my blog post for more details: How Many Carbs Should You Eat a Day with PCOS?
- Protein: Each meal includes a protein source
- Veggies: I’ve included at least 3 servings a day of vegetables a day. A good rule of thumb is to make at least ½ your plate vegetables at lunch and dinner (and breakfast if you can). I included veggies into every lunch and dinner as well as some breakfasts and snacks.
- Fiber: Most of my plans have at least 25 grams of fiber a day.
- A plant-based day. I realize some women with PCOS choose to follow plant-based diets, so you’ll get one day that is plant-based. If this isn’t for you, feel free to add some chicken/fish/meat to the meal!
- Full nutritional breakdown of all the meals and snacks for those you who are interested.
- The plans are gluten and dairy free. I’m not opposed to gluten and dairy for PCOS – unless they worsen your symptoms. However I choose to keep the plans dairy and gluten free as many women choose to eat this way. You can always substitute in a gluten containing grain or a yogurt if you like!
What Are The Best Beverages For PCOS?
Beverages are not included in the Guide. My favorite beverages for PCOS include water, seltzer, unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk), tea – especially spearmint (may help lower androgens) and green tea (high in antioxidants), and coffee in moderation. If you drink alcohol, keep it to 1-2 drinks a week and avoid drinks with sweet mixers.
What If I Don’t Want To Follow Them Exactly?
No worries! They can be followed exactly or just used as a guide. If you don’t want to cook every day, make extras for leftovers. Feel free to swap out other veggies, protein, or grains if you don’t like the ones I choose. Or just pick the recipes you like to add to your recipe file. Please don’t feel that meal plans need to followed exactly as that can create stress in itself! The goal of meal plans is to help take the stress out of meal planning … not to add to it.
More FREE PCOS Meal Plans!
Keep in mind that these plans are customizable which meals you’ll be picking your own meals with your favorite foods using my PCOS meal planning guidelines. The customizable plans also allow flexibility in adjusting the macronutrient content (i.e. carbs, fat, protein) and calories. You will receive a meal plan template. You’ll then sort through the recipes, select the ones that appeal to you, and drag them into your template (you’ll get a video to watch to learn how).
Personalized Nutrition Coaching For PCOS
Meal plans and recipes are great, but nothing takes the place of individual coaching by a PCOS nutrition expert. I’m a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health and wellness coach who has been specializing in PCOS for over 15 years. My coaching sessions provide in-depth education on nutrition for PCOS and helps separate fact from fiction. You’ll receive a personalized plan for you based on your medical issues, lifestyle, and food prefs. We’ll discuss meal planning, eating out, carb carvings, exercise, supplements and more. You’ll get the individual attention and coaching you need to meet your goals.
How does diet affect PCOS?
Two of the primary ways that diet affects PCOS are weight management and insulin production and resistance.
However, insulin plays a significant role in PCOS, so managing insulin levels with a PCOS diet is one of the best steps people can take to manage the condition.
Many people with PCOS have insulin resistance. In fact, more than 50 percent of those with PCOS develop diabetes or pre-diabetes before the age of 40. Diabetes is directly related to how the body processes insulin.
Following a diet that meets a person’s nutritional needs, maintains a healthy weight, and promotes good insulin levels can help people with PCOS feel better.
People with PCOS are often found to have higher than normal insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that’s produced in the pancreas. It helps the cells in the body turn sugar (glucose) into energy.
If you don’t produce enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can rise. This can also happen if you have insulin resistance, meaning you aren’t able to use the insulin you do produce effectively.
If you have insulin resistance, your body may try to pump out high levels of insulin in an effort to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Too-high levels of insulin can cause your ovaries to produce more androgens, like testosterone.
Insulin resistance may also be caused by having a higher body mass index. Insulin resistance can make it harder to lose weight, which is why people with PCOS often experience this issue.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates, like starchy and sugary foods, can make insulin resistance, and therefore weight loss, more difficult to manage.
Foods to eat
Women with PCOS generally see the best outcomes with a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. Getting 50% or 60% of calories from whole food sources of fat is a particularly powerful way to drive weight loss and reverse insulin resistance. Assuming adequate protein intake, this leaves room for around 20-30% of energy to come from carbohydrate-containing foods with a low glycemic index (GI). Low GI carbohydrate-containing foods tend to be high in dietary fiber. This is because fiber slows the rate at which blood sugar levels rise. This is one of the main reasons why high-fiber foods are generally considered “good for us”.
Probiotic and prebiotic foods are other key ingredients for maintaining good gut health. Probiotics contain live cultures of “good” gut bacteria. Prebiotic foods, by comparison, provide the nutrients needed for a healthy gut microbiome.
Non-starchy vegetables should form the largest part of a PCOS-friendly meal. Non-starchy vegetables improve gut health and aid in better blood sugar regulation. They also provide many vitamins, minerals, and unique phytonutrients.
Healthy Fat-Rich Foods
- Coconut products
- Nuts and seeds
- Olives and olive oil
- Oily fish (for omega-3 fatty acids)
Healthy Carbohydrate-Rich Foods
- Black/red/wild rice
- Peas and beans
- Root vegetables
- Sweet potato
Healthy Protein-Rich Foods
- Meat and eggs
- Fish and seafood
- Coconut yogurt
- Natto, tempeh, and miso
- Kimchi, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables
- Fennel bulb
- Snow peas
- Leafy greens, like Romaine lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard.
- Cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale.
- Gourd vegetables like cucumber and zucchini.
- Nightshade vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Research has found that what people eat has a significant effect on PCOS. That said, there is currently no standard diet for PCOS.
However, there is widespread agreement about which foods are beneficial and seem to help people manage their condition, and which foods to avoid.
Three diets that may help people with PCOS manage their symptoms are:
- A low glycemic index (GI) diet: The body digests foods with a low GI more slowly, meaning they do not cause insulin levels to rise as much or as quickly as other foods, such as some carbohydrates. Foods in a low GI diet include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables, and other unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods.
- An anti-inflammatory diet: Anti-inflammatory foods, such as berries, fatty fish, leafy greens, and extra virgin olive oil, may reduce inflammation-related symptoms, such as fatigue.
- The DASH diet: Doctors often recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to reduce the risk or impact of heart disease. It may also help manage PCOS symptoms. A DASH diet is rich in fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables whole grain, and low-fat dairy produce. The diet discourages foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar.
Food Items To Limit in PCOS Problem
- Don’t have refined carbohydrates: Foods such as white breads, pastries, muffins, and white potatoes exacerbate insulin resistance and cause inflammation which will worsen your PCOS symptoms.
- Don’t have sugary snacks or drinks: Excess sugar is one of the main causes of insulin resistance and should be avoided at all costs. When checking food labels, look for the other names of sugar such as sucrose, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup.
- Don’t have inflammatory foods: These foods exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Foods such as French fries, margarine, red meat, and other processed meats belong to this group and should be avoided as much as possible.
PCOS Diet Plan: Do’s And Dont’s
- Make sure that proper weight is maintained. If you are overweight, reduce it by doing exercises regularly and having a healthy balanced diet.
- Practice Yoga Asanas and Prananyam regularly.
- Have adequate sleep.
- Maintain a record of your menstrual cycle.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not consume alcohol.
- Do not skip meals or sleep. A disciplined lifestyle is key to better health and freedom from PCOS.
- Avoid Hormonal treatment as far as possible.
Food Items You Can Easily Consume in PCOS
- Do have more of high-fiber foods: They slow down the digestive process and reduce sudden increases in blood sugar levels which helps in combatting insulin resistance. Broccoli, cauliflower, red and green peppers, almonds, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are great examples of high-fiber foods.
- Do have more of lean proteins: Although they do not have much fiber, lean-protein foods such as chicken, fish, and egg whites keep you feeling full longer and help stabilize your blood sugar.
- Do have more anti-inflammatory foods: Inflammation is part of the underlying mechanism of PCOS and foods with anti-inflammatory properties which include tomatoes, spinach, strawberries, walnuts, almonds, turmeric, and fatty fish such as sardines and salmon help to reduce the symptoms of PCOS.