Heard mixed messages about whether snacking for PCOS is a good idea or not? If you are feeling confused then this article will debunk common PCOS snack myths and give you some tasty ideas for your snacking pleasure. Hungry for some PCOS snacks? Keep reading!
Should I snack if I have PCOS?
The simple answer is if you are hungry, then absolutely! If your body is signalling to you that you are hungry (read about how to spot the signs of hunger) then here at The PCOS Collective we believe that that is a pretty clear indicator that you need to replenish your fuel stores and eat. We are all about non-diet, gentle nutrition here. Read more if you’re interested in learning more about eating intuitively for PCOS or find out about food for PCOS here.
Denying a basic biological need like hunger can backfire. If we don’t respect our hunger cues and eat, we may end up binge eating, which is commonly seen in people with PCOS (1). This is because your body’s function of keeping you alive by making you eat will kick in – it’s completely normal!
People with PCOS often have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the body’s tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. To manage insulin resistance, it can actually be beneficial to snack. This is because rather than leaving big gaps between eating, eating regularly can help keep blood glucose (blood sugar) levels stable. This, in turn, can help keep circulating insulin levels lower in the bloodstream which may improve PCOS symptoms.
So, it sounds like snacking could actually be a pretty great idea for someone with PCOS (or anyone!), so let’s take a look at some snack ideas.
Tips for snacking
Although there aren’t necessarily PCOS-friendly snacks (as people with PCOS can eat whatever they’d like!), there are a few tips and tricks that may help with symptom management.
- If you are able to, try to include all three macronutrients in your snacks. This means having a combination of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. This can help to stabilise blood glucose levels, manage insulin resistance and keep you satisfied for longer.
- Where you can, add whole grains. This doesn’t mean cutting out white versions of bread, pasta and rice, but, if it feels good to you, swapping in a wholegrain can help with satiety and blood glucose levels.
- You may also want to consider omega-3-rich foods. Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid and may help with the inflammation associated with PCOS.
Top PCOS snacks
As we’ve mentioned throughout, there is no wrong or right way to eat if you have PCOS. But, if you are looking for blood glucose-stabilising snacks that keep you satisfied for longer, then here are 31 of our favourites.
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Nuts (walnuts are particularly high in omega-3)
- Trail mix (nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips all combined together)
- Yoghurt with fruit and granola
- Eggs on toast
- Cheese with apple slices
- Celery with hummus
- Crackers with hummus
- Toast with nut butter
- Pita bread stuffed with cheese and salad
- Roasted chickpeas
- An omlete
- Popcorn with melted chocolate drizzled on top
- Edamame beans with sea salt or chilli flakes
- Crackers with cheese slices
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds are particularly high in omega-3)
- Tuna, mayonaise and veggie tortilla wrap
- Cheese quesedilla
- A smoothie (see our favourite smoothies for PCOS recipes)
- A cereal bar
- Egg muffins (eggs + veggies baked in a muffin tin)
- Carrot sticks with hummus
- Tortilla chips with guacamole
- Avocado on toast
- Porridge (oatmeal) with berries
- Peanut butter and jam (jelly) on toast
- Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
- Meat and cheese platter
- Chicken or faux-chicken bites
- Mixed olives with feta cheese
- Canned fish on toast (try sardines or mackerel)
PCOS snacks FAQ
What are PCOS friendly snacks?
There is no right or wrong way to eat for PCOS, but some people find that adding gentle nutrition tips like combining fats, proteins and carbohydrates, adding fibre and omega-3 can be beneficial for symptom management and overall health.
Can I eat fruit if I have PCOS?
Yes, you can enjoy fruit if you have PCOS – and any foods you choose! At The PCOS Collective we belive in a food freedom approach. Fruit is full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and is a great snack or addition to a snack or meal.
Can I eat dairy if I have PCOS?
Yes, there is no quality evidence to suggest you should avoid dairy if you have PCOS, unless you have an allergy or are intolerant.