7 Day PCOS Meal Plan

Image of fruits and vegetables behind text: 7 Day PCOS Meal Plan, nutrition advice for women with PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a common disorder for women from teenage years through mid-forties. PCOS is often under-diagnosed, meaning that many women who have PCOS don’t know about it.

Women with PCOS have higher amounts of male hormones which can lead to many symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, hair growth on the body and face, hair loss, and acne. PCOS can also increase risks for diabetes and heart disease. 

Keep reading to learn more about PCOS nutrition and grab the 7 day PCOS meal plan.

How does nutrition impact PCOS

What you eat and drink can have a large impact on your symptoms and treatment plan for PCOS. Diets like the mediterranean diet, consistent and moderate carbohydrate diets, and intuitive eating can all be beneficial for PCOS. 

How to reduce symptoms of PCOS with diet

Consistent carbohydrate intake can reduce insulin levels. This means eating about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal. Carbohydrates can be found in many foods, including breads, grains, pastas, rice, fruits, legumes, and starchy vegetables. Pairing carbohydrate choices with protein, fat, and fiber also helps to reduce insulin levels. 

It can also be beneficial to eat mostly low glycemic index carbohydrate choices (15). In general, carbohydrates that are lower on the glycemic index are choices that have more fiber. For example, wheat bread is lower on the glycemic index than white bread. 

Having dairy that is full-fat may be better for reducing acne and improving fertility when compared to low-fat dairy. However, if you’re experiencing acne, you may want to reduce servings of dairy products to less than 3 servings per day (1). Examples of 1 serving of dairy are 8 oz milk, 3/4 cup yogurt, or 1.5 oz hard cheese.

Nutrients that are important for PCOS

An overall healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, varied proteins, and play foods is what someone with PCOS should aim for. However, there are a handful of specific nutrients that can be beneficial for women with PCOS. Those include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Zinc
  • Probiotics
  • Fiber from whole foods
  • Magnesium

Vitamin D may help lower testosterone levels (2), lower androgens, reduce inflammation (4) and insulin resistance, and improve fertility (3). Food sources of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, milk, egg yolks, cheese, and yogurt. If you have low levels of vitamin D, you may consider supplementing. 

Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation (4) to lower blood pressure and triglycerides, boost mood (4), improve fertility (12), and lower androgens (13). You can get omega-3s in your diet by including egg yolks, avocados, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, chia, flax seeds, olive oil, salmon, trout, tuna, or halibut. 

Zinc can help improve acne symptoms (14). Zinc can be found in oysters, red meat, shellfish, chickpeas, and cashews.

Probiotics are key to making improvements in gut health. Probiotics may also help with depression and anxiety which may lead to reductions in testosterone levels. Foods with probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.

Fiber from whole foods is typically used better by the body. Fiber can help reduce spikes in blood sugar levels, reduce insulin and reduce testosterone. Fiber is found naturally in whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, seeds, and whole grains.

Magnesium may provide relief from PMS symptoms (5), prevent migraines (10), reduce anxiety (7), lower inflammation(9), reduce insulin resistance (8), and lower blood pressure (6).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with nutrition don’t worry, the 7 Day PCOS Meal Plan below combines all of these nutrients for you.

Diets to avoid for PCOS

There are also a few diets that I wouldn’t recommend for women with PCOS. Diets to avoid for PCOS are:

  • The ketogenic diet
  • Low calorie diets
  • Fad diets

The Keto diet and other very low carbohydrate diets are too low in carbs for women with PCOS. Carbohydrates are the main macronutrient found in many whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Diets like these limit intake of fiber. Fiber helps reduce inflammation, helps regulate insulin levels, reduces blood pressure, and cholesterol, and helps to control blood sugar levels. 

Diets that are too low in calories can end up slowing metabolism, lead to loss of muscle mass, and increase hunger and cravings. Low calorie diets also lead to many vitamin and mineral deficiencies because not enough food is allowed within the calorie levels. 

For women with PCOS, eating enough calories is important because it will help reduce stress hormones, reduce intense hunger/cravings, and allow you to get most of your nutrients from whole foods. 

Most fad diets are too low in calories and are not designed to be long-term diet plans. These types of diets are often low in calories and make the dieter buy supplements, drinks, or bars to meet nutritional needs. This is unsustainable for most people often because of the cost and lack of variety. 

Health Professionals

You may consider seeking care of your primary care physician, an OBGYN, an Endocrinologist, and a Registered Dietitian. 

Your primary care physician can help you get started with lab testing and may be able to do the pelvic exam for you. Your PCP can also place referrals to other specialists, if needed. 

An endocrinologist is a physician who specializes in disorders related to the endocrine system, including hormonal disorders, like PCOS. This specialist can help you understand your hormone levels and any potential medication therapies.

You may decide you prefer to have an OBGYN complete a pelvic exam and ultrasound to check your ovaries and uterus. An OBGYN can also discuss medication therapies, like birth control to help with symptom management. 

A Registered Dietitian who specializes in PCOS can be helpful in understanding how your food and lifestyle choices can affect your symptoms. You can work with an RD to come up with a meal pattern that fits your lifestyle and discuss supplements that may be beneficial for you.

7 Day Meal Plan for PCOS

Here are just a few ideas to help you get started. Meeting with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in PCOS can help you learn how to cook and prepare meals for yourself to meet your specific needs and taste preferences. 

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Day 1

Breakfast: 2 whole eggs fried in olive oil, 2 slices of whole wheat toast with avocado slices on top

Snack: whole milk yogurt with berries

Lunch: tuna salad made with olive oil mayo spread on top of romaine lettuce, side of hummus with mini bell peppers, dark chocolate square

Snack: Apple, almonds

Supper: grilled chicken, quinoa/brown rice blend prepared with olive oil and seasonings, steamed cauliflower 

Snack: 1.5 oz hard cheese with whole grain crackers

Day 2

Breakfast: 2 slices whole wheat toast with peanut butter and 1 sliced banana on top

Snack: whole milk yogurt topped with chopped pecans

Lunch: tomato soup, whole grain crackers, 1.5 oz hard cheese

Snack: roasted and seasoned chickpeas (link to recipe)

Supper: Pan fried trout in olive oil, season with salt, italian seasoning, and lemon juice, roasted broccoli and mini potatoes with olive oil and garlic salt

Snack: dark chocolate and dried cherries

Day 3

Breakfast: Smoothie made with whole milk yogurt, ground flaxseed, berries, and 1 scoop collagen powder, a little water or juice as needed to blend

Snack: almonds and dried cherries

Lunch: sandwich made with whole wheat bread, hummus, peppers, lettuce, and cheese, tortilla chips

Snack: Apple with peanut butter

Supper: whole wheat pasta with grilled chicken slices, basil pesto, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes, top with a little parmesan cheese

Snack: granola

Day 4

Breakfast: whole wheat toast topped with avocado and 2 fried eggs in olive oil

Snack: Yogurt and berries

Lunch: salad made with mixed greens, 1.5 oz cheese, roasted chickpeas, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, and an oil-based dressing

Snack: dark chocolate and cashews

Supper: leftovers from earlier in the week

Snack: tortilla chips and salsa

Day 5

Breakfast: 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and 1 sliced banana

Snack: granola and nuts

Lunch: hummus with mini bell peppers and baby carrots, 1 cheese stick, pear

Snack: raisins and sunflower seeds

Supper: Fried rice made with brown rice, olive oil, whole eggs, frozen peas and carrots, side of kimchi

Snack: whole milk yogurt with berries

Day 6

Breakfast: smoothie made with whole milk yogurt, 1 scoop collagen powder, frozen pineapple, ground flax seeds, and a little juice or water as needed to blend

Snack: Cashews 

Lunch: leftover fried rice and kimchi

Snack: 1 cheese stick and a pear

Supper: grilled zucchini brushed with olive oil and seasoned with italian seasoning and salt, tuna steaks seasoned with everything bagel seasoning (leave a pink in the middle), quinoa/brown rice blend

Snack: dark chocolate

Day 7

Breakfast: Whole milk yogurt with granola and berries

Snack: fruit and nut bar (ex. Kind bar)

Lunch: whole grain wrap with chicken salad and lettuce and an apple

Snack: cheese stick and grapes

Supper: grilled hamburger on whole wheat bun topped with tomato, lettuce, onion, side of grilled carrots

Snack: dark chocolate and dried cherries

Other considerations in your treatment of PCOS

PCOS isn’t something that can be treated with diet alone. Other important factors in your PCOS management include medications, supplements, exercise, sleep and stress management. These medical and lifestyle factors all play an important role in managing and treating PCOS.

Recap

As a quick review. In this article you learned about what PCOS is, which health professionals can be important in diagnosing and treating PCOS, nutrition considerations for PCOS, which diets to avoid, and you received a 7 Day PCOS Meal Plan.

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis. You should consult with your doctor before changing your diet or starting supplements for any health condition.

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