Most women with PCOS I work with always complain that within 1 – 2 hours of eating they start feeling hungry again. This is generally a sign of insulin resistance, importantly, insulin resistance is one of the major root causes of PCOS. This is why in my blueprint program I actually teach women how to eat blood sugar-balancing meals that keep them full for 4 – 5 hours. However, we still need to have a repertoire of go-to snacks that will definitely help you get in control of your PCOS and in addition also help reduce cravings.
So, what should you be looking out for?
- Chose foods with a Lower glycemic such as whole grains this will help keep your sugar and insulin from spiking.
- Each snack should contain protein and/or fat to help you feel full for longer.
- Snacks should contain monounsaturated and omega 3 fats – this will once again help you feel full for longer but also help your overall health including your heart health.
- Opt for Fiber-rich foods to help manage your cholesterol level, satiety, and gut health and to prevent blood sugar and insulin spikes.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day
- Introduce fermented foods to improve your gut health
Here are some things to keep in mind when snack planning for PCOS:
- Insulin resistance is one of the most common root causes of PCOS. In fact, we believe that 95% of women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance at a point in their life. This is what actually leads to increased carbohydrate cravings and hunger in most women. Furthermore, being constantly hungry is what makes so many women develop a disordered relationship with food. This in turn affects our mood and self-esteem too. Learning to address this component with the right lifestyle changes and nutrition is essential. I have helped over 400 women through my personalized program to learn how to deal with their insulin resistance.
- If you have a stressful lifestyle you need to be aware that this increases your stress hormone – cortisol. When our cortisol levels are high our blood sugar levels also increase. This happens because our body is focused on survival and therefore having energy immediately available is essential when in “fight or flight” mode. This explains why many women with PCOS stress eat and have a disordered relationship with food.
When we think of “snacks,” we often imagine foods like chips and gummies. Firstly, these foods are not so nutrient-dense and secondly, they can make underlying root causes worse. That is why I believe mindset is an essential part of dealing with this condition.
Do I need to snack?
Above all, before having a snack, here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
- How am I feeling and how will having this snack make me feel?
- Am I actually hungry?
Should certain women avoid snacking?
Women with severe insulin resistance might do better eating 3 balanced meals per day and just 1 snack. I explain the why and how of this in detail in my PCOS weight loss masterclass. Meal planning is essential if you are going to work on improving your insulin resistance. Follow me on Instagram to learn about how I meal plan.
Savory examples of snacks:
1. 1 plain salted rice cake with 2 Tbsp hummus
2. 1 cup black olives
3. ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
4. 1/2 bag Terra Veggie Chips
5. ¼ cup hummus + carrot/celery/red pepper/cucumber/jicama sticks
6. 1 hard-boiled egg and 1 babybel cheese
7. 1 hard-boiled egg with salt + pepper, onion, and 1/2 avocado mashed and served on crispbread
8. ½ apple or ½ banana + 1 Tbsp nut butter
9. ¾ cup cooked edamame with sea salt
10. ½ avocado sprinkled with sea salt, 3 cherry tomatoes, and 2 small mozzarella balls
11. chickpea puffs
12. Cucumber slices smeared with 2 Tbsp cream cheese and topped with 2 oz smoked salmon
13. ¼ cup feta mixed with ¼ cup chopped cucumbers/onions/carrots/parsley
14. ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes on a rice cake or crispbread
15. Marinated Cheese with Peppers and Olives: serving size: ½ cup
16. 20g salami or deli meat + 1 hard-boiled egg
17. Red pepper slices or cucumber sticks rolled up in 4 oz thinly sliced turkey/ham/roast beef
Some Sweet snack examples:
1. ½ apple or ½ banana with 1 Tbsp nut butter + cinnamon
2. Baked apple: 1 apple sliced and baked at 375 degrees F for 30-45 mins with cinnamon and 1 tsp coconut oil
3. 1 plain unsweetened rice cake smeared with 1 tsp nut butter sprinkled with cinnamon
4. 2 Medjool dates with 1 tsp nut butter smeared on each one and dark chocolate chips
5. 2 Tbsp peanuts with 1 Tbsp chocolate chips
6. ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese + ¼ cup berries
7. High Key brownie bites (6 per snack serving)
9. Evolved keto cups (2 pack) any flavor
10. Peanut Butter Energy Balls serving size = 2 fat balls.
11. ¼ cup raisins or dried cranberries with ¼ cup sunflower seeds
12. Frozen banana pop: ½ banana dipped lightly in 2% plain unsweetened yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt) and covered in 1 Tbsp chocolate chips
13. 1 plain salted rice cake with 1 Tbsp nut butter + cinnamon
14. Oatmilk Yogurt + cinnamon + ¼ cup blueberries/chopped strawberries
To learn more about how to manage your PCOS join my PCOS blueprint program