By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated March 21st, 2022
If you’re living with PCOS right now, then changing how you eat has the potential to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
This is because the underlying mechanisms that cause PCOS are exacerbated by several key aspects of a modern Western diet. A good PCOS diet understands these mechanisms and provides practical solutions via well-thought-out recipes. While the same thing can be said about breakfast and dinner, all great PCOS lunch recipes have three things in common:
- PCOS-friendly lunches lower inflammation by avoiding gluten, dairy, industrial seed oils, food additives, and as much sugar as is reasonably practical.
- They improve insulin sensitivity by using only low GI, whole food sources of carbohydrates, and by encouraging fat and protein consumption.
- Good PCOS lunch recipes also seek to improve gut health by including prebiotic and fiber-rich foods, especially non-starchy vegetables.
If you’ve previously participated in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge or downloaded my free 3-Day Meal Plan, then you’ll already know that my number one strategy for minimizing PCOS lunch meal prep is to repurpose dinner leftovers.
If you’re looking for a little more variety though, there are endless ways to make, what you’ll hopefully find, is the best lunch for PCOS. Here are some of my favorite recipes to get you started.
For information on some of the specific nuances of PCOS-friendly lunches, scroll down to the FAQ section at the bottom of the page.
13 PCOS-Friendly Lunches
- Grab ‘n’ Go Egg Muffins
- Swiss Chard Quiche
- Asian Chicken Slaw
- Spinach Chicken Poppers
- Chicken Collard Wraps
- Guacamole Chicken Salad
- Sweet Potato Noodle Salad
- Sausage McMuffin
- Spicy Chicken Breakfast Bake
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Harvest Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooked Beef and Broccoli
- Supercharged Green Smoothie
Ready To Take The Next Step?
If you’re in the process of cleaning up your diet beyond just lunch, the following resources can help you put good ideas into practice:
PCOS Lunch Recipes FAQ
Why is gluten and dairy inflammatory for women with PCOS? Since PCOS is primarily an inflammatory disorder, women with PCOS tend to have subclinical sensitivities to gluten and dairy proteins. Consuming these foods can increase the permeability of the gut lining. The body then initiates an inflammatory response to protect itself from the intrusion of microbiota-derived molecules that cross the gut-blood barrier.
Why is it important to improve insulin sensitivity? Poor insulin regulation and high carbohydrate consumption are among the primary drivers of all PCOS symptoms, including infertility [1, 2]. Because of this, reducing carbohydrate consumption, and switching to foods with a lower glycemic load, is a well-understood systemic PCOS treatment.
How many carbs can I have for lunch? A good serving size for carbohydrate-rich foods like rice, sweet potato, or quinoa would be approximately ½ cup (cooked).
Are sandwiches a good idea for lunch? It depends on the ingredients. Gluten-free bread can be okay, but it tends to be too high in carbohydrates. Provided you’re adding a lot of fat and protein (especially meat) to the sandwich, then you might be okay, but there are generally better alternatives.
How can I make packed lunches easier? Getting a small cooler with an ice brick is a great investment that helps make lunches easier. Mini-crockpots like this one are also helpful for reheating meals, in the middle of a busy workday.
Since 2010, Kym Campbell has used evidence-based diet and lifestyle interventions to manage her PCOS. After getting her symptoms under control and falling pregnant naturally, Kym now advocates for dietary change as part of any PCOS treatment plan. Combining rigorous science and clinical advice with a pragmatic approach to habit change, Kym is on a mission to show other women how to take back control of their health and fertility. Read more about Kym and her team here.
1Barrea, L., et al., Source and amount of carbohydrate in the diet and inflammation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Nutr Res Rev, 2018. 31(2): p. 291-301.
2Wang, J., et al., Hyperandrogenemia and insulin resistance: The chief culprit of polycystic ovary syndrome. Life Sciences, 2019. 236.