Many people think just because I’m a dietitian, with all that I know, eating enough "healthy foods" that will optimize my health and wellness with PCOS would be easy. But the truth is it’s the same for me as anyone else. After diagnosis, I found myself searching through loads of information found on the internet in hope of seeking something credible to go by. Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot of "credible" information and I just had to trust my gut to go off of what I know as a registered dietitian.
During my web-based search for answers to the cure-all for PCOS, I came across several sources that encouraged drastic weight loss by way of cutting out carbohydrates and/or dairy products. As a dietitian, I know that cutting out any one food or food group isn’t healthy for my body and would never be maintainable long term. So what could I do? While I didn’t need to lose weight, I did need to focus on overall wellness: more exercise and a better balance of eating healthfully. Eating more whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt helped lower my blood sugar, and improved my body’s use of insulin and normalized hormone levels. While my cycles continued to be unpredictable, I was able to encourage my body through diet and exercise to start on monthly basis. Success!
I previously blogged the best eating plan for women with PCOS, which you can find here. Several people asked if I could provide sample meals so some suggestions are below.
**PCOS Meal Plan and Snacks chart**
As a new Mom of two-month-old twin girls and after a decade of struggling with PCOS, I can tell you that there is hope in overcoming the battle of infertility. I know and understand the questions, struggles and frustrations that surround dealing with this mystery of a diagnosis. There is a plethora of information, often times misleading, to search through in regards to PCOS, and all can be quite overwhelming. The best words of advice I can give is trust and listen your managing doctor and to even seek out a registered dietitian for assistance if you still aren’t sure. Wellness is a powerful tool of success in fertility and a healthy pregnancy. We all have that tool, we just need to decide if we are going to use it or not.
PCOS Snack Suggestions
• 1 Fruit and low-fat cheese (string cheese is great for portion control)
• Apple or celery and a couple tablespoons natural peanut butter
• ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese and ½ cup canned mandarin oranges or peaches in their own juice
• 6 oz non-fat, low sugar Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons chia seeds
• 2 Hard-boiled eggs
• ½ cup plain oatmeal and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and a drizzle of honey
• Grande latte made with non-fat milk
• ½ cup trail mix of nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate
• 10-12 whole wheat crackers with low-fat string cheese or 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
• 6 oz plain non-fat yogurt, ¼ cup pomegranate seeds & 8 shelled pistachios
• High protein, whole grain and low-sugar bars (Luna, Special K, Lara Bar, Clif Bar)
• 1 cup low-sodium bean or vegetable soup with 5 whole grain crackers
• 10-12 Whole grain pretzels with string cheese or 1 tablespoon nut butter
• Raw nuts such as walnuts and almonds (1/4 cup is one serving or the size
of your palm)
• Single-serving pouches of tuna fish in water with 6-8 whole grain crackers
• Dark chocolate (at least 60% coco or higher. Limit to 1 to 2 squares)
• ¼ cup hummus and raw veggies for dipping
• 1 ¼ cup edamame pods (about ½ cup shelled)
Amber Massey is a dietitian with the executive health program at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and new Mom of 2-month-old twin girls.