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19 Easy PCOS Lunch Ideas & Recipes from a Nutrition Expert

Kym Campbell

By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated July 19th, 2023

Key Takeaways

PCOS diet principles provide both restrictions and guidance on suitable lunch ingredients. It’s all about reducing inflammation and better blood sugar regulation.

By following these principles, you can overcome your PCOS symptoms for good. Get started today with this free 3-Day Meal Plan. Or go further still by joining my next free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge.

If you’re living with PCOS right now, then changing how you eat can reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

That’s because a modern Western diet exacerbates the underlying mechanisms that cause PCOS. A good PCOS diet understands these mechanisms, with well-thought-out recipes providing a solution.

The ideas and recipes outlined below have delivered life-changing results for participants in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. This free 3-Day Meal Plan is also a great place to start.

Raynetta Success Story

How to Create the Ideal PCOS Lunch

Like breakfast and dinner, all great PCOS lunch recipes have three things in common.

Firstly, they lower inflammation. This means avoiding gluten, dairy, and industrial seed oils. This means anything “whole wheat”, cheese quesadilla, or meals with sour cream are out. Sugar intake also needs to be kept as low as practical. Salad dressings are a hidden source of sugar, so make sure to check the ingredients if you’re not making your own.

A healthy PCOS lunch also supports better insulin sensitivity. This is achieved by using low GI, whole food sources of carbohydrates. These types of foods help improve blood sugar regulation. Fat and protein consumption is also prioritized.

Lastly, an ideal PCOS-friendly lunch improves gut health. Fiber-rich, non-starchy vegetables are central to this undertaking.

Here’s how to apply these PCOS diet principles. Following these steps makes things simple while still ticking all your nutritional objectives. Forget about calories, carb-counting, and PCOS macros. Just do this:

  1. Start with a protein-rich ingredient. Non-processed meats are best. Deli meats are out. Unlike most protein-rich plant foods, meat, seafood, and eggs have high protein content, but without all the carbs. Consuming protein at lunch increases satiety and reduces cravings later in the day.
  2. Add non-starchy vegetables. These provide essential micronutrients and fiber. This doesn’t mean committing to broccoli salad 7 days a week. Just eat more of your favorite veggies. Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers are all excellent non-starchy vegetables.
  3. Add a small serving of something carby. This also helps with carb cravings and is good for your digestive tract. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes are great. Black beans, quinoa, or black rice are also excellent choices. Skip this step for a very low-carb meal.
  4. Add loads of healthy fats and oils (as much as you like). This is especially important for PCOS weight loss. Beyond meat, fish, and eggs, some of the best high-fat foods include avocados, avocado oil, nuts, and olive oil. Eating plenty of fat also helps prevent cravings.

6 Quick & Easy Lunch Ideas

The following lunch ideas are so easy to make, they don’t need a recipe. These kinds of lunches are perfect when you’re in a rush and don’t have much time for meal preparation.

  1. The best way to create the perfect PCOS lunch is to eat dinner leftovers. If that means bringing a cooler to work, then so be it. This is what I do most days as it saves a lot of time. It’s also the best way to guarantee I eat a well-rounded meal.
  2. Preparing a wrap is another quick and easy one. It’s best to use a lower GI, gluten free, dairy free wrap like these grain-free tortillas. These organic coconut wraps are also really nice. Choose unprocessed meats like roasted beef or chicken rather than deli meat. Make sure to add some greens and a little avocado too. Vegetable-oil-free dressings like these can make things pop.
  3. Go a step further and sub the wraps for bell peppers. This is a low-carb light lunch that can help to drive weight loss. Just make sure to use unprocessed meat (not deli meat) and PCOS-friendly condiments.
  4. If you’re on the go, then two or three boiled eggs with a nutrient-dense smoothie is a great way to go. My PCOS-friendly Green Smoothie or Spicy Veggie Smoothie are good examples of healthy PCOS smoothie recipes.
  5. If you’re open to going half-in on your PCOS lunch meal prep, but still want something fast, then try this. Take a can of salmon in olive oil. Mix it in a bowl with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and dressing. A nice light lunch made in minutes.
  6. Marinated chicken drumsticks are one of my favorite fallback options. Eat them cold with some tomatoes and/or carrots and you’ve got yourself a healthy lunch.

13 More PCOS Lunches (Full Recipes)

If you’re up for more cooking, then there are endless ways to make the best lunch for PCOS. Here are some of my favorite recipes to get you started. Click on the links for the full recipe.

  1. Grab ‘n’ Go Egg Muffins
  2. Swiss Chard Quiche
  3. Asian Chicken Slaw
  4. Spinach Chicken Poppers
  5. Chicken Collard Wraps
  6. Guacamole Chicken Salad
  7. Sweet Potato Noodle Salad
  8. Sausage McMuffin
  9. Spicy Chicken Breakfast Bake
  10. Shrimp Fried Rice
  11. Harvest Chicken Chili
  12. Slow Cooked Beef and Broccoli
  13. Supercharged Green Smoothie

More PCOS Recipes

Check out these blogs for some of my other free PCOS recipes:

Or see my review of the best PCOS cookbooks here.

The Bottom Line

Managing PCOS naturally can only be achieved one meal at a time. It’s not a quick fix. But it’s a life-changing accomplishment you’ll be proud of. Hopefully, some of the lunch ideas shared here will propel you forward in this undertaking. Wherever you may be on your journey.

If you’re just getting started, then consider joining my next free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. This is the best way to make a big step forward as you get used to a PCOS diet. For a sample of what to expect, download this free 3-Day Meal Plan and get started today.

PCOS Success Stories

Dietary change is the most effective PCOS natural treatment. If you want to know how to lose weight with PCOS, or how to get pregnant with PCOS, then food is the answer. It can also help with PCOS acne and PCOS pain. This was certainly the case for LeeAnne and Jamie after taking part in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge.

 

PCOS Lunch FAQs

Why is gluten and dairy inflammatory for women with PCOS? PCOS is primarily an inflammatory disorder. Because of this 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 protects itself with an inflammatory response. For a more in-depth answer, see my articles on gluten and PCOS and PCOS and dairy.

Why is it important to improve insulin sensitivity? Poor insulin regulation is one of the primary drivers of all PCOS symptoms. This includes infertility [1, 2]. Because of this, changing how you consume carbohydrates treats PCOS at a systemic level.

How many carbs can I have for lunch? Black rice, sweet potato, and quinoa are some of the best carb-rich foods for PCOS. Approximately ½ cup (cooked) is a good serving size for lunch. If this doesn’t seem like enough, add some cauliflower rice. Despites its texture, cauliflower is a low-carb vegetable.

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. Adding fat and protein can mitigate this problem, 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. Mini-crockpots like this one are also helpful for reheating meals in the middle of a busy workday.

Where can I learn more about managing PCOS naturally? My PCOS blog has a range of articles for building knowledge. Some of my most popular articles include how to lose weight with PCOS, how to get pregnant with PCOS, and PCOS natural treatment. To put these good ideas into practice though, you’re best off joining my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. Or download this free 3-Day Meal Plan.

Ready to Take Action?

  • Join my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge here. This is a unique program where you'll receive weekly meal plans, shopping lists, and helpful video lessons. You'll also be part of a motivated and inspiring community of like-minded women.

  • Download my free 3-Day PCOS Diet Meal Plan here. This is perfect for getting started if you aren't ready to commit to 30 days.

  • Join my PCOS Monthly Meal Planning Service here. This service includes hundreds of PCOS recipes within a pre-populated, yet customizable meal plan. It's designed to save you time and help you apply a PCOS diet.

  • Sign up for my Beat PCOS 10-Week Program. This is a comprehensive program that covers diet, PCOS-centric emotional eating, exercise, stress management, and much more. All within a support group environment. The 10-Week Program includes the same recipes and meal plan as my monthly meal planning service.

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Quick Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. This means that when you use them to purchase something, it won't cost you more but I may get paid a commission for referring you. In order to avoid any prejudice, I only recommend products that I personally use or would have recommended anyways.

References

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.