This post was updated on May 19th, 2022

By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated May 19th, 2022

If you want to take back control of your health and fertility, then changing your diet is one of the best things you can do.

That’s why so many women see improvements within the short duration of my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. I’ve even heard from women that have experienced improved energy levels, and less gut discomfort after getting started with my free 3-Day PCOS meal plan.

But making the right diet changes is easier said than done.

Finding reliable, low-sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free recipes that intentionally limit glycemic load, can be like finding a new favorite hat on Amazon.

If you’re unsure what to try next, then hopefully this short-list of gluten and dairy free recipes for PCOS helps get you moving again. Covering every occasion between breakfast and dessert, you’re sure to find a tried and tested PCOS-friendly recipe to enjoy.

What Is PCOS And How Can Diet Help?

While a formal diagnosis is made by the identification of elevated androgen levels, irregular menstrual cycles, and polycystic ovaries, the most common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) include weight gain, irregular periods, infertility, pelvic pain, unwanted facial hair, hair loss, acne, anxiety, and depression.

It’s well understood that these symptoms result from the interaction of chronic low-grade inflammation with multiple hormone imbalances [1-3].

The hormone insulin is particularly important in PCOS, as one of its many roles is to regulate blood sugar levels. Experts recommend dietary change as a first-line intervention for PCOS because insulin levels can be improved by diet [4]. This in turn reduces the pathophysiology of PCOS, reducing the multiple elevated health risks associated with this syndrome.

What Is The Best Diet For PCOS?

A PCOS diet reduces inflammation, improves gut health, and better manages blood sugar levels.

This is achieved with nutrient-dense whole foods that are low in sugar and carbohydrate content, are high in fat, and adequate in protein. The inclusion of high-fiber foods that have a low glycemic index is a key part of a PCOS diet. This is because these types of foods improve insulin regulation even in women with insulin resistance.

Non-starchy and prebiotic-rich vegetables also form a major component in any PCOS-friendly meal plan. These foods provide essential micronutrients that support optimal cellular function and nourish the good gut bacteria that create a healthy microbiome.

As well as prioritizing healthy whole foods, a PCOS diet reduces systemic inflammation by avoiding gluten, dairy, industrial seed oils, trans fats, and highly processed foods. You can find a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid for PCOS here.

I’ve created the recipes below in line with these principles.

Ready To Take The Next Step?

Now that you have a good collection of PCOS-friendly recipes, if you’re ready to take the next step, you can:

  • Join my next free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge here. During this live program, as well as receiving weekly meal plans, and nutritional 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 right away before the next 30-Day Challenge begins.
  • Join my PCOS Monthly Meal Planning Service here. With hundreds of PCOS recipes and pre-populated, yet fully customizable meal plans, this service is designed to save you time and provide ongoing support for implementing a PCOS diet correctly.
  • Sign up for my next Beat PCOS 10-Week Program. This live program is run quarterly and provides the most comprehensive support for adapting to a PCOS-friendly lifestyle. As well as diet, nutritional guidance, and the resources available in my monthly meal planning service, participants are supported with PCOS-centric emotional eating interventions, an exercise program, stress management sessions, and much more.
  • PCOS Recipes FAQ

    What if I’m a terrible cook? Despite being a food blogger, I’m still not much of a cook. I get that it’s important, but I still don’t LOVE it. Given my own limitations, the majority of the recipes I share are well-suited to novice chefs.

    Which recipes are quick and easy? If you’re in a rush you’re best off with salads, one-sheet, or one-pot meals. Crockpot meals are also perfect for busy mid-week dinners (provided you’re organized in the morning). Making big batches of food for multiple meals is almost an essential trick for saving time in the kitchen.

    Do I need to make everything from scratch? No. There are now many great products catering to PCOS nutritional requirements. A PCOS diet shares elements with other popular diets. For example, foods marketed at the Ketogenic diet, and the Primal / Paleo diet are often suitable for PCOS.

    Are these recipes suitable for my family? Absolutely. PCOS recipes are perfect for anyone wanting to eat a healthy whole-food-based diet. Children and physically active men may require more carbohydrates than those included in many PCOS recipes, but these can be added as sides i.e. additional rice, quinoa, or starchy vegetables, etc.

    Do I need to do modify these recipes during pregnancy? No. These recipes are all well-suited for pregnancy. During the later stages of pregnancy, some doctors may advise a slightly higher consumption of carbohydrates than what is generally included in these recipes.

    Are PCOS recipes ketogenic? Some of the above PCOS recipes may be suitable for a ketogenic diet, as many are predominantly meat, fish, or eggs, with large servings of non-starchy vegetables. Achieving nutritional ketosis is not recommended for women with PCOS though. It is recommended that women get at least 20-30% of calories from carbohydrates across any given day.

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    References

    1González, F., Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. Steroids, 2012. 77(4): p. 300-5.

    2González, F., et al., Hyperandrogenism sensitizes mononuclear cells to promote glucose-induced inflammation in lean reproductive-age women. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2012. 302(3): p. E297-306.

    3Wang, J., et al., Hyperandrogenemia and insulin resistance: The chief culprit of polycystic ovary syndrome. Life Sciences, 2019. 236.

    4Legro, R.S., et al., Diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2013. 98(12): p. 4565-92.