PCOS snacks: 41 quick and easy PCOS friendly snack ideas

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 nutrient-dense PCOS snacks? Keep reading!

What is PCOS?

PCOS known as polycystic ovarian syndrome is an endocrine (hormonal disorder) disorder impacting up to 13% of people with PCOS. There are many symptoms of PCOS including insulin resistance, oily skin, acne, irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, hirsutism, alopecia, carb cravings and more.

To manage PCOS, many people try adjusting their diet and making lifestyle changes. One of these changes may be making adjustments to their snacking habits.

Should I snack if I have PCOS?

We have good news…the simple answer is if you are hungry, then absolutely! If your body is signalling to you that you are hungry 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. Plus, establishing blood sugar balance can be a great choice to increase your energy levels. 

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 PCOS 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.

  1. If you are able to, try to include all three macronutrients in your snacks. This means having a snack with a source of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This can help to stabilise blood glucose levels, manage insulin resistance and keep you satisfied for longer.
  2. When 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.
  3. You may also want to consider omega-3-rich foods. Omega-3 is a group of fatty acids that may help with the inflammation associated with PCOS. Omega-3 rich foods include oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and edamame beans.

Meal planning for PCOS snacks

It can be difficult to plan good snack choices on a daily basis. You can easily go hungry for hours on end when you’re busy which probably won’t help hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS. Instead, try planning ahead so you are never caught feeling hangry!

Try spending some time on the weekend or when you have free time preparing several snack components that you can use to build snacks during the week. That may look like chopping raw vegetables to pair with hummus, boiling eggs, or grabbing some snack foods like cereal bars from the shop ready to grab during the week.

41 snacks for PCOS

As we’ve mentioned throughout, there is no wrong or right way to eat if you have PCOS, and no right snacks for PCOS. But, if you are looking for blood glucose-stabilising snacks that keep you satisfied for longer, then here are our favourites which are a great option for polycystic ovary syndrome.

pcos snack ideas gentle nutrition non diet infographic
  1. Apple slices with peanut butter
  2. Nuts (walnuts are particularly high in omega-3)
  3. Trail mix (nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips all combined together)
  4. Dairy-free or Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
  5. Eggs on toast
  6. Cheese with apple slices
  7. Celery with hummus
  8. Crackers with hummus
  9. Toast with nut butter
  10. Pita bread stuffed with cheese and salad
  11. Roasted chickpeas
  12. An omelette
  13. Popcorn with melted chocolate drizzled on top
  14. Edamame beans with sea salt or chilli flakes
  15. Crackers with cheese slices
  16. Seeds (pumpkin seeds are particularly high in omega-3)
  17. Tuna, mayonnaise and veggie tortilla wrap
  18. Cheese quesadilla
  19. A smoothie (see our favourite smoothies for PCOS recipes here)
  20. A cereal bar
  21. Egg muffins (eggs + veggies baked in a muffin tin)
  22. Carrot sticks with hummus
  23. Tortilla chips with guacamole
  24. Avocado on toast
  25. Porridge (oatmeal) with berries
  26. Peanut butter and jam (jelly) on toast
  27. Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
  28. Meat and cheese platter
  29. Chicken or faux-chicken bites
  30. Mixed olives with feta cheese
  31. Canned fish on toast (try sardines or mackerel for an omega-3 boost)
  32. Protein bars such as Kind bars or Quest bars
  33. Bananas dipped in almond butter
  34. Protein powder and banana shake
  35. Air-popped popcorn tossed in olive oil and sea salt
  36. Tortilla chips with bean dips
  37. Smoked salmon, cream cheese on a bagel with a squeeze of lemon juice
  38. Whole grain toast with jam (jelly) sprinkled with chia seeds
  39. Bell peppers with cottage cheese
  40. Fresh fruit or dried fruit
  41. Hard-boiled eggs with chili powder and a side of crackers

Our “not your average” PCOS meal plans contain a snack guide with even more ideas for snacks.

PCOS snacks FAQ

Have questions about snacking for PCOS? Here are some of your commonly asked questions answered by our nutrition team.

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, plus 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! Fruit is full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and is a great snack or addition to a snack or meal.

>> Read more | Fruits for PCOS: myth busting good and bad fruits

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.

Key takeaways: PCOS snacks

Although there are no PCOS friendly foods or the best snacks for PCOS there are ways we can build snacks that satisfy you, are a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 and are a great snack option for your symptoms. Using easy snack ideas as we’ve listed above such as yogurt with fruit and granola, avocado on toast or carrot sticks and hummus can be delicious and a great solution for hunger pangs throughout the day.

As always, seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about eating for your PCOS symptoms. Our PCOS dietitian or PCOS nutritionists are ready to see clients in our virtual clinic.

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Alex Okell ANutr Founder and Editor

Founder and Editor | Registered Associate Nutritionist

  Founder of Be The Collective LTD [The PCOS Collective & The Endo Collective] Alex Okell ANutr is a London-based reproductive health nutritionist with experience in research, private practice and digital media. She holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition from King’s College London and has co-authored papers with the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, The Food Foundation and the Food Standards Agency. Alex offers 1:1 PCOS support in our virtual PCOS clinic.

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