This post was updated on September 4th, 2022
By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated September 4th, 2022
If you’re ready to see what a PCOS diet can do for you, then this free 3-Day PCOS Meal Plan is a great place to start.
Here’s what’s in your PCOS meal plan pdf download:
- 3 days of easy PCOS meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- A full set of gluten and dairy free PCOS recipes for each meal with practical tips and tricks.
- A complete shopping list for the 3 days.
For a more comprehensive experience, you can also sign-up for my next free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. During this live event, you’ll get weekly meal plans and recipes. It also includes video lessons and activities. The program is delivered within a supportive community to help keep you on track.
The article below explains some of the science behind a PCOS diet. This will help you understand the principles behind this gluten and dairy free PCOS meal plan.
The Link Between PCOS And Diet
PCOS is primarily a hormone disorder. It’s our dysregulated hormones that cause all our unwanted symptoms. This includes difficulty managing weight and excess stomach fat. Irregular periods and infertility are also very common. Many women with PCOS also struggle with unwanted hair and acne. Others often suffer from insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
All these PCOS symptoms are caused by chronic inflammation and poor insulin regulation. Diet can help with both of these problems. Eating in a way that reduces inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity is key to getting your PCOS under control.
The Best Diet For PCOS In 7 Points
There are a lot of healthy diets to choose from, each with its particular nuances.
A PCOS diet most closely resembles a Paleo or Primal diet. There’s also a lot of overlap with Whole30, the DASH diet, and the Mediterranean diet. What all these diets have in common is that they’re whole food-based. They include lots of vegetables and avoid processed foods.
A PCOS diet requires that you:
- Reduce your sugar intake. Fructose sugar causes inflammation. It’s one of the biggest risk factors for insulin resistance, obesity, and other metabolic health problems [1-3]. The glucose component of sugar also isn’t great. It causes blood sugar spikes which can cause or worsen insulin resistance .
- Eat slow-carb and low carb, from whole food sources. This one’s all about managing insulin levels. “Slow-carb” means choosing carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index. Things like root vegetables, and black rice. “Low carb” means to keep serving sizes small.
- Eat healthy fats. Fat should be the largest macronutrient within a PCOS diet. Fat helps regulate appetite . Many whole food sources of fat are healthy and promote weight loss [6-12]. Despite popular perception, saturated fats are not less healthy than polyunsaturated fats [13, 14].
- Eat enough protein. Dietary protein is essential for good health. Many women with PCOS consume much less than USDA recommendations. Increasing protein consumption can be particularly helpful for weight management .
- Eat lots of fiber. On average, women with PCOS consume less fiber than non-PCOS women. This difference is associated with insulin resistance and elevated androgen levels . The consumption of fiber-rich foods has many health benefits. This is especially true when it comes to body weight and type 2 diabetes .
- Eat lots of non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables support gut health and provide a range of important micronutrients. Increased vegetable consumption is linked to better health outcomes across populations [18, 19].
- Avoid inflammatory foods. Dairy and gluten are the most important ingredients to cut from a PCOS diet. Vegetable oils and processed foods should also be avoided.
The addition of intermittent fasting can further improve a PCOS diet. A ketogenic diet for PCOS may also be helpful for short-term weight loss. But I don’t recommend this dietary approach as explained in the linked article above.
You can learn more about a PCOS diet here.
How To Create Your Own PCOS Meal Plan
Putting these principles into practice is simple. If you generally follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to create your own perfect PCOS meal plans:
- Eat about 18 oz (500 g) of protein-rich food per day (weighed raw). Meat, seafood, and eggs are best.
- Aim for at least 6 cups of non-starchy vegetables per day.
- Limit carbohydrate-rich foods to ½ cup servings (cooked) per meal. This includes starchy vegetables, beans, and fruit.
- Enjoy as much high-fat food from whole food sources as it takes to fill you up. Think olive oil, nuts, avocado, and coconut products. Oily fish and fatty meat are also good.
- Choose organic where possible. Use the Dirty DozenTM and Clean FifteenTM to inform your fruit and vegetable choices.
It’s best to meet your dietary needs with two to three meals a day. If you need to snack though, you should. Just make sure to choose snack foods that meet the 7 PCOS diet principles described above.
Remember that the principles are what matters, not the exact meal plan. You should always make ingredient or meal swaps to suit your personal preferences.
Ready To Take The Next Step?
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.
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