This post was updated on May 21st, 2020
A Low Carb, Low GI PCOS Diet Plan For Weight Loss & Fertility
If you are trying to lose weight, get pregnant, or free yourself from other PCOS related health issues then this blog and accompanying PCOS meal plan can be an important first step toward achieving your goal.
To get the most out of this meal plan make sure to do the following:
- Download the free PDF which contains the entire PCOS meal plan, plus the accompanying PCOS recipes and shopping list.
- Read this blog post to learn important dietary principles for beating PCOS, as well as several practical tips that make this meal plan easy to implement.
This PCOS diet plan has been developed off the success of my free 30 Day PCOS Diet Challenge where I have seen literally thousands of women achieve life changing results.
I run this live event four times a year to provide group activities, meal plans, and nutritional video lessons to women who understand that eating better is the key to achieving freedom from PCOS for good.
Now it’s your turn to do the same by using this introductory meal plan and the PCOS recipes and shopping list included to kick start your success.
Why This PCOS Diet Plan Is Great For Weight Loss As Well As Getting Pregnant
There’s no doubt that this meal plan is great for weight loss, but its use goes well beyond this simple objective.
What I call “unfair weight gain” occurs in women with PCOS because of the hormonal dysregulation and chronic low grade inflammation caused by this disorder. The thing is, these same mechanisms are also responsible for all the other typical symptoms associated with PCOS like ovulation issues, and increased rates of miscarriage.
What this means is that the same PCOS diet that helps you lose weight is also the best way to improve your fertility regardless of your BMI. This is especially important to be aware of if you have lean type PCOS and are looking for a PCOS diet plan to get pregnant.
Success Stories Of People Using This PCOS Meal Plan
While science has clearly shown that the right diet really is the safest and most powerful treatment for PCOS, for me, seeing real life success stories is often the most compelling.
To get you inspired enough to give this meal plan a try, I’ve included a few links to some success stories of women that have followed this same diet plan. They include Ashley, who lost 23 pounds during my 30 Day PCOS Diet Challenge, and April, who lost 21 pounds during the first 30 days and then went on to lose a further 40 pounds during my full 10 Week Program.
Many others’ like Katrina and Hanna have had a wonderful surprise soon after starting a PCOS diet plan to get pregnant that is the same as the free one I offer here.
And while I’m hardly an example of someone who got on with things as efficiently as these other women, I also managed to fall pregnant naturally after making radical changes to the way I eat. What was most rewarding for me was that I achieved this result after years of failed fertility treatments including IVF!
Why This PCOS Diet Plan Is Not About Dieting
Unlike other diet plans, when I use the term “diet” I’m not talking about going ON a diet because you don’t need to count your calories even if weight loss is an important health goal for you.
Rather than starve yourself thin as most other diets will demand, a PCOS friendly diet requires only that you avoid specific foods that make your PCOS worse while continuing to enjoy as much “good” food as you need to feel full.
One of the things I always look forward to during my free 30 Day PCOS Diet Challenge is hearing from women who can’t believe how satisfied they feel in between meals. Having nutritious and filling PCOS meals is a powerful technique to reduce the need for snacking and to keep sugar and carb cravings at bay.
What A Good PCOS Diet Plan Looks Like
While going low carb and low GI is a good place to start, I also recommend:
- Quitting sugar, gluten, and dairy
- Eating plenty of meat, fish and eggs
- Serving large portions of non-starchy vegetables with every meal.
Ironically for women wanting to achieve a sustainable healthy body weight eating a high fat diet is also essential.
All of the ingredients used in this PCOS diet plan are nutrient dense whole foods that provide a range of important micronutrients. I have also balanced the mix of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates to achieve macronutrient ratios that work best with PCOS.
These PCOS Recipes Are Low Carb And Low GI But NOT Ketogenic
This is a low GI, low carb meal plan, but it’s not a no-carb one. While carb-free ketogenic diets are both popular and well known for achieving short term results for women with PCOS, I shy away from recommending them because going carb-free can be a little risky from a health perspective if not adequately supervised.
I have also heard from hundreds of women who have found ketogenic diets far too restrictive and unsustainable over the long term. This isn’t that surprising when you consider our natural biological conditioning for carbs.
Our brains and body are wired to run on carbohydrates, and when you starve them of this basic energy source during a ketogenic diet, powerful cravings arise as a natural defense mechanism. The problem is that if you cave in to these cravings you essentially blow your chances of getting into a ketogenic state and you have to start the process over again.
By contrast, when we stick to a low carb diet like this meal plan does, the small amounts of healthy carbohydrates support the hard work you are doing by helping to keep the cravings at bay. We’re still at the low end of the spectrum so you get all the benefits of better blood glucose regulation leading to improved hormone balance and subsequent weight loss. You just don’t have to apply nearly as much self-control.
Ready To Get Started?
I know from personal experience that one of the biggest problems with using food as medicine is that cooking from scratch takes a fair bit of getting used to. But that’s just it, you do get used to it and it does get easier as you learn to find PCOS meals that work best for you.
Trust me, I was (and still am) a reluctant cook so I totally get people’s trepidation at resetting their dietary habits. But I am also thoroughly convinced of how transformative this experience can be which is why this blog exists in the first place!
This meal plan taps into my experience of having to make a radical health transformation in my late twenties and early thirties, when eating poorly was an ingrained habit. With this in mind, I have minimized meal prep’ time and maximized efficiency across the three days to make things as easy as possible no matter how busy you are.
So muster that inner lioness girl, and let’s get started!
PCOS Meal Plan Day 1
Breakfast: Breakfast Frittata
There really are few food combinations better suited to making your PCOS worse than a typical Western breakfast. As well as being packed full of pro-inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy and sugar, having a lot of readily digestible carbs in the morning also sets you up perfectly for craving a sugary snack by mid-morning.
As a more PCOS friendly breakfast alternative, this hearty frittata is a much better option. The high protein and fat content ensures you get a slow and steady release of energy throughout the morning to comfortably get you through to lunch.
It tastes great too which is why it’s one of the most popular breakfasts from my free 30 Day PCOS Diet Challenge.
In the free pdf download of this PCOS meal plan, the breakfast frittata recipe includes a double serving size so you can have it for two days in a row. Doubling, or even tripling the batch size like this is a great way to give yourself a super quick and easy breakfast the next day.
Lunch: Curried Chicken Salad
This curried chicken salad is one of my personal favorites because it’s super convenient for work days or for taking on a picnic. Unlike your typical low-fat diet salads, this recipe is really filling thanks to the whole avocado and the generous serving of an avocado oil based mayonnaise.
By including plenty of fat and protein, this salad works with your body’s natural fullness hormones without giving you that post-lunch carb slump. While we always want to avoid industrial trans-fats, eating whole food sources of fats (even saturated fats) is actually a really important part of a good PCOS diet.
Dinner: Zoodles With Quick Meat Sauce
I was originally introduced to this recipe by a busy mom who really knows how to cook. Zucchini noodles are the ultimate PCOS friendly alternative to pasta and have proven to be a real hit for women doing my full 10 Week Program.
Like most of my PCOS recipes, this one includes a healthy serving of meat which I consider almost essential for any balanced PCOS diet plan. Animal protein is the simplest and most reliable way to get adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids in a bioavailable form. Whole food sources of meat also include many important micronutrients not readily available from vegetarian sources such as creatine, carnosine, and vitamins B12 and D.
PCOS Meal Plan Day 2
Breakfast: Breakfast Frittata
Since I know most people don’t have a lot of time for cooking in the morning, on Day 2 I want you to have the breakfast frittata again. This is why the recipe and shopping list included in the pdf download for this PCOS meal plan assumes you’ll cook a double serving on Day 1.
As a hangover from the 90’s many people have been incorrectly told that they shouldn’t have too many eggs because they’re bad for their cholesterol. The good news is that this myth is NOT supported by sound scientific research and there is little reason to believe that 2-3 eggs a day isn’t anything but good for you.
The truth is eggs contain a massive amount of healthy nutrients including the important brain nutrient choline and they actually improve your cholesterol profile. If you ask me, they’re simply a perfect daily breakfast food.
Lunch: Curried Chicken Salad
The same time saving approach applies for lunch on Day 2: Make enough curried chicken salad on Day 1, and you’ll have the perfect grab and go meal for Day 2.
Remember to include all of the vegetables listed in the ingredients, and add even more if you have some spare. Having big servings of non-starchy vegetables is absolutely essential to maintaining good gut health and is a key lever we can pull to help reduce inflammation.
Dinner: Garlic Ginger Chicken Wings With Broccoli And Quinoa
This next meal really ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to healthy ingredients. Garlic and ginger are both fantastic prebiotic foods, while quinoa has to be my number one recommended carbohydrate food source.
From a practical perspective I love quinoa because it’s super versatile and keeps really well when stored in the fridge. I normally make a big batch at the start of the week and add it to whatever meals I’m making.
When it comes to health, quinoa really is all it’s cracked up to be in terms of its amazing nutritional profile. As a gluten free carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, provided you stick to the portion sizes I include in the recipe, you can be sure to achieve steady blood glucose levels as you go about your evening.
PCOS Meal Plan Day 3
Breakfast: Flaxseed And Almond Meal Porridge
This meal is the perfect entry-level PCOS friendly substitute to sugary cereals and oatmeal. While in an ideal world we would all eat a breakfast even higher in protein and fat than this one, for those of us that live on earth and who just need something quick in the morning, this flaxseed and almond meal porridge makes a lot of sense.
The cinnamon used helps with blood sugar regulation (Allen et al. 20131), while both flaxseeds and almonds are reported to lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS (Kalgaonkar2; Nowak et al. 20073). While I personally believe that consuming flaxseeds as part of your regular diet is preferable to supplements, it’s worth noting also that flaxseed powder has been found to help reduce polycystic ovaries and improve menstrual cycle parameters (Fatima Farzana et al. 20157).
Lunch: Garlic Ginger Chicken Wings With Broccoli And Quinoa
Making the most of your dinner cooking efforts on Day 2, I want you to enjoy this meal again for lunch the next day. Doubling the amount you make at dinner so you have enough the next day for a PCOS friendly lunch is a practical tip I encourage everyone get used to.
Unlike all the other PCOS recipes included in the downloadable PCOS diet plan pdf I have provided, you will notice that I recommend a touch of rice malt syrup to sweeten the wings up a little.
While I’m generally a big fan of eliminating sweet sauces from a PCOS diet, if you do need a little sweetness once in a while then rice malt syrup is the best way to do it. Also known as brown rice syrup, or just rice syrup, this sweet glucose goo is fructose free and is by far the lesser of two evils.
The same cannot be said of other “natural” sources of sugar like maple syrup, honey and agave nectar.
Dinner: Lettuce Wrap Burgers With Sweet Potato Curly Fries
This recipe is a creative PCOS friendly variant of your traditional burger with fries. I’ve included this one to show you that you can still have fun (and impress the family) while taking another positive step towards your health goals.
There’s two ingredients in this recipe that are particularly salient to women with PCOS: beef and coconut oil.
I’m a big fan of beef because it’s the richest source of a little known fat called conjugated linoleic acid or CLA for short. This special fat is known to be good for your heart (Mooney and McCarthy 20124), and even helps you to lose weight by reducing stored body fat (Blankson et al. 20005). As if you needed another reason to enjoy burgers…
While also being one of the most heat resistant cooking oils for high temperature frying, coconut oil is awesome because it’s the number one source of another special family of fats. Known as medium chain triglycerides or MCT’s for short, these fats have been shown to make modest reductions of body fat, particularly from around the waist and hips (Mumme and Stonehouse 20156). Need I say more?
From Little Things Big Things Grow
I know that cooking from scratch can be a lot less convenient than buying processed foods and takeaways. Trust me…. I get it. That’s why it took me years to form the habits that finally freed me from acne, thinning hair, stomach fat, insomnia, anxiety and most importantly to me, infertility.
But the results are worth it.
No more drugs, no more side effects, no more trips to see unhelpful doctors and no more wasting your life feeling sick all the time. While it seems almost too simple to be true, regularly eating in a way that is consistent with the example I have provided here really is a pathway to some of the greatest health you’ve ever known.
So give yourself a chance to let your true self shine.
Forming a healthy relationship with food and beating PCOS does take time so don’t put too much pressure on yourself – this is certainly a long term project. But taking action is key, so why not do something kind for yourself today and give this simple PCOS friendly diet plan stuff a try? Then make sure to let me know what you think.
In the famous words of Rob Schneider, “You can do it!”
Kym Campbell is a Health Coach and PCOS expert with a strong passion for using evidence-based lifestyle interventions to manage this disorder. Kym combines rigorous scientific analysis with the advice from leading clinicians to disseminate the most helpful PCOS patient-centric information you can find online. You can read more about Kym and her team here.
This blog post has been critically reviewed to ensure accurate interpretation and presentation of the scientific literature by Dr. Jessica A McCoy, Ph.D. Dr McCoy has a master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology, and a doctorate in reproductive biology and environmental health. She currently serves as a University professor at the College of Charleston, South Carolina.
This blog post has also been medically reviewed and approved by Dr. Sarah Lee, M.D. Dr. Lee is a board-certified Physician practicing with Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin before earning her Doctor of Medicine from UT Health San Antonio.
1Allen, Robert W.; Schwartzman, Emmanuelle; Baker, William L.; et al. Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. ANNALS OF FAMILY MEDICINE, 2013.
2Kalgaonkar, S.; Almario, R. U.; Gurusinghe, D.; et al. Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, 2011.
3Nowak, Debra A.; Snyder, Denise C.; Brown, Ann J.; et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on hormonal levels associated with Polycystic ovarian syndrome: A case study. CURRENT TOPICS IN NUTRACEUTICAL RESEARCH, 2007.
4Mooney, Declan; McCarthy, Cathal; Belton, Orina. Effects of conjugated linoleic acid isomers on monocyte, macrophage and foam cell phenotype in atherosclerosis. PROSTAGLANDINS & OTHER LIPID MEDIATORS, 2012.
5Blankson, H; Stakkestad, JA; Fagertun, H; et al. Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass in overweight and obese humans. JOURNAL OF NUTRITION, 2000.
6Mumme, Karen; Stonehouse, Welma. Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. JOURNAL OF THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS, 2015.
7Fatima Farzana K, Abubacker Sulaiman F, Ruckmani A, Vijayalakshmi K, Karunya Lakshmi G, Shri Ranjini S, Duraivel M. Effects of Flax Seeds Supplementation in PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES REVIEW AND RESEARCH, 2015.