Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meals & Snacks for PCOS

As I’ve blogged before, I personally know what it’s like to live with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), I know what it is like to try to sort through what is best for me, particularly when I was trying to get pregnant.

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)

Remember that food portions matter and be sure to vary up your snacks to prevent boredom and to maximize the nutrients in all foods.

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.



  1. Thank you for the tips! I have PCOS and am currently trying to lose weight to boost my fertility. Looking forward to more in the future! :D

  2. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15 years old. My husband and I are currently making a life-style change to lose weight to get healthy and boost our chances of having kids. Your blogs have finally given me hope. I can't wait to try some of the meal and snack suggestions you have given. Thank you for giving me hope when none of my doctors have.

  3. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables because these provide vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which helps digestion and prevents constipation.

  4. I know this post is a little old, but I came across it the other day. My husband and I have been following it and really like it. I too have PCOS and fighting with infertility. Would you happen to have more meal plans made out? It has been so easy to follow. Thanks in advance!