This post was updated on August 31st, 2022
By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated August 31st, 2022
I’m grateful that so many women find my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge helpful. A lot of people get started with this free 3-Day Meal Plan before deciding to take part in the Challenge. But the one thing we don’t talk about, either in the Challenge or in the meal plan, is snacks.
What’s the deal with snacks? Can I, or should I snack? If snacking is okay, then what are the best snacks for PCOS?
Here’s the skinny on PCOS-friendly snacks. I’ve also included a list of quick, easy, and cheap snacks to help get you started.
Should I Snack If I Have PCOS?
Snacks can be a useful part of a healthy PCOS diet. But it’s all about what you snack on, and what’s going on with your other meals.
By keeping PCOS-friendly snacks on hand, you can manage the conflict between your growing hunger and your next proper meal. Intense hunger is never helpful. It makes us more prone to eating things that are bad for us. If you get caught out in-between meals, smart snacking can help tide you over.
Snacks can also help ensure you’re getting enough food.
As many of my clients have discovered, eating less isn’t a good way to lose weight with PCOS. Many women with PCOS need to eat more, not less to restore a healthy hormone balance. If you find it hard to consume enough calories at mealtimes, then nutrient-dense snacks can be a great solution.
With that said, it’s worth being mindful of snacking too often. If you need a lot of snacks across the day, this could be because your main meals are inadequate. It’s better, if possible, to consume 2-3 decent meals a day and keep snacking to a minimum. This gives your digestive system the chance to turn on and off, the way it works best.
Healthy Snacks For PCOS
The ins and outs of a PCOS diet are summarized here. These guidelines apply to snacking habits as much as they do to your main meals.
The gist of it is you want to eat healthy whole foods instead of processed foods. You want to eat in a way that promotes good insulin regulation and avoid foods that cause inflammation. This includes avoiding gluten, dairy, and sugar.
For a quick reference chart of what to eat, download this free PCOS Diet Cheat Sheet. It’s perfect for sticking on the refrigerator door.
With these facts in mind, here are 27 PCOS snack ideas that meet these criteria. Remember there’s always a healthy choice for any occasion. Some foods are suitable as a PCOS late night snack. There are even healthy PCOS sweet snacks if you know what to look for.
27 PCOS-Friendly Snacks – Recipes & Products
I have many PCOS snack recipes on my website so I’ve linked to them from this list. Thankfully, there are also now many health-conscious companies making PCOS-friendly snacks to buy.
- Boiled eggs
- Biltong or beef jerky (you can make your own with this recipe or buy a PCOS-friendly version here)
- Baked pork rinds
- Seaweed snacks
- Seed crackers
- Fresh cut vegetables
- Cold roasted meats
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- Nut butters
- Trail mix
- Almond crackers
- Low-sugar, dairy-free fat bombs
- Coconut or almond yogurt
- Frozen or fresh berries
- Chicken poppers
- Green smoothies like this Supercharged Green Smoothie
- Low-carb muffins like this Spiced Nut Muffin
- Kale chips
- Egg bites/muffins
- Dairy-free chai tea frozen yogurt
The Bottom Line
Snacking can be a valuable part of a PCOS-friendly diet. We just need to be smart about how we do it. We want to use snacks to manage our hunger and hopefully add more nutrition to our diet.
Making your own PCOS-friendly snacks is ideal, but there are also many good products you can buy too.
PCOS Success Stories
There’s no two ways about it. If you want to lose weight with PCOS then you need to follow a PCOS diet. The right diet is also the best way to improve your odds if you’re trying to get pregnant with PCOS. Here are a couple of success stories from my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge.
Ready To Take The Next Step?
PCOS Diet Snacks FAQ & Tips
Can I have protein powder and protein bars as a PCOS snack? Yes. But always check for whey and added sugars. Whey is a dairy protein that can be inflammatory for many women with PCOS. Sugar is often added to protein products to make up for their bad taste. A whole food source of protein powder like hemp protein is best. Pea protein isolate has the best nutritional value though.
Are nut butters a PCOS-friendly snack? Nut butters are a great way to increase your intake of healthy fats. A “clean” peanut butter product that doesn’t contain sugar, or vegetable oils is fine. Almond butter has a better fatty acid profile though.
Can I have fresh fruit as a PCOS snack? Fresh fruit is fine – especially if you can eat it with healthy fats. Think nut butter or coconut yogurt. It’s recommended to limit servings to 1-2 cups or medium-sized pieces per day. This helps reduce sugar intake.
Is dried fruit a PCOS-friendly snack? Avoid dried fruit as much as you can. While there are no added sugars, the drying process concentrates the natural sugar in fruit. Dried cranberries, for example, are roughly 70% sugar.
Is trail mix a good PCOS snack? Trail mixes can make for a great snack, especially if you make it yourself using mostly nuts and seeds. The key thing you want to avoid is a mixture that contains a lot of dried fruit and sugar.
Can I have dark chocolate as a PCOS snack? If you need a chocolatey hit, then 85% dark chocolate is a great option. Two 10-gram squares will give you just 3 grams of sugar. Drinks or snacks that include cacao powder can also be very satiating.
Can I include cheese as a PCOS snack? Try to avoid consuming cheese and other dairy products when following a PCOS diet.
Raw veggies tip. Bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, and celery make for a colorful snack board. On their own though, raw vegetables aren’t very filling. Add hummus, mashed avocado, or guacamole to boost their nutritional value.
Starchy vegetable tip. If you’re feeling the need for something sweet, try a baked sweet potato with melted ghee and cinnamon on top. It’s not ideal from a blood sugar perspective, but it’s a lot better than many alternatives.
Healthy fats tip. The more olive oil and coconut oil you can add to your snacks the better. These healthy fats are very satiating and they help with PCOS weight loss. Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are also excellent high-fat snack ingredients.
Rice products tip. Try to avoid products made from white rice and brown rice. They tend to have a high glycemic index which means they’re bad for regulating insulin.
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.