There are many considerations to make when you’re adjusting your diet for PCOS. Watching your portion sizes, eating low G.I. carbs, and upping your healthy fats and proteins can be a transition. However, when you’re eating may actually be just as important as what you’re eating. For women with PCOS, it’s not a cliche: breakfast may in fact be the most important meal of the day.
A study from the American Friends of Tel Aviv University found a positive correlation between eating a calorie-dense breakfast with lower calorie snacks and meals throughout the day. The study had two groups of women: one group had their highest calorie meal at breakfast and the other group had their highest calorie meal at dinner. The result? Those who ate the higher calorie breakfast found a reduction in insulin resistance, a decrease in testosterone levels, and a dramatic increase in ovulation frequency. It’s amazing to think that eating a slightly bigger breakfast can have a direct impact on fertility.
So what are some perfect breakfast ideas for PCOS? This post has a mix of breakfasts that are good in a pinch, and some that take a little more prep time, but are so delicious they’re certainly worth the work!
Oatmeal makes for a filling breakfast and it’s versatile because you can add different toppings depending on your flavor preference. You can put in a bit of maple syrup or put in some low G.I. fruits like apples or berries for some added sweetness.
You can use some instant oatmeal if you’re in a hurry, but instant oatmeal is processed and has a bit too much sugar, so you’d really have to watch your portion sizes. If you want the perfect PCOS oatmeal, it’s best to make it with steel cut oats. These oats are minimally processed, which will keep your blood sugar levels more stable and minimize those mid-morning cravings.
The one downside to steel cut oats is it can take around a half hour to cook, so you may want to make it the night before and warm it up in the morning.
If you like the sound of porridge but are trying to stick to a low carb diet like keto or paleo, then there are alternatives that will taste like porridge but ditch the oats. It doesn’t require too many ingredients either.
- 1 banana (preferably ripe or very ripe)
- ⅓ cup shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp nut butter of your choice
The preparation is exceedingly simple for this paleo porridge. Simply mash together all the ingredients and the porridge is ready! Just like with regular porridge you can customize what toppings you have with it. You could try fresh fruit like berries, dried fruit like apricots or cranberries or add some walnuts or maple syrup. There are so many possibilities it can keep you from getting bored with your breakfast routine.
Breakfast Smoothies for PCOS
Smoothies are a good breakfast idea for commuters or those who like to pick at their breakfast over the morning. They’re versatile because you can put anything you want in them. Just be careful to not add too many fruits that have high G.I., as this can cause your blood sugar to spike, which messes with your energy levels and food cravings.
An easy formula for smoothies is you need a base (e.g. water, milk or milk alternative), a small serving of a fruit or fruits of your choice, and some protein powder. Don’t want to shell out for expensive protein powder? You can always add something high in protein to the smoothie instead like nut butter or Greek yogurt. Consider adding some avocado to the smoothie as it has a mild flavor and will make your smoothie creamier. Yum!
Here is a recipe idea for a smoothie, but remember if you’d like to go off recipe, go back to the formula shared above, it’s easy to prepare and contains everything you need to start the day off right.
Chocolate Cherry Cinnamon Smoothie
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cherries (if frozen, watch for added sugar)
- 1 banana
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¾ cup water
- 4 ice cubes
Cut the fruit into smaller pieces so it will blend easier, and then blend it all together! You’re ready to enjoy your smoothie.
Since you should be aiming for a low-carb breakfast, one with around 30 grams of carbohydrates or less, you should be eating Greek yogurt in the morning as it is lower carb and is full of protein.
Greek yogurt can be added to a smoothie, or you can make a yogurt parfait with some nuts, fruit, and/or granola.
Although it’s good to reduce your dairy intake with PCOS as it can affect your hormone balance, a small helping of cottage cheese in the morning is packed with protein and can be eaten alone or with fruit on top. If you’d like an extra protein boost you can even put something like chia seeds with the cottage cheese.
Many fast food restaurants like McDonald’s has some sort of breakfast burrito, but you can make one for yourself at home that’s much healthier. Simply add a mix of scrambled eggs with your choice of cheese, vegetables, and even something like turkey sausage to a low-carb tortilla and you’re ready to go. Add some salsa or a bit of guacamole if you’d like an extra kick at the start of your day!
Mini Quiche Cups
Quiches are a breakfast classic and they have plenty of protein in them with the eggs, but all the pastry is a bit too carb heavy for a PCOS-friendly diet. It would cause your blood sugars to spike and make you hungry again before it’s time for lunch. But you can try this low-carb version of quiches instead. This recipe makes 12 mini quiches that you can heat up later, or you can scale down the recipe if you only want to make enough for breakfast.
- 1 Large onion, diced
- 8 Ounces Mushrooms, chopped
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 Garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and Pepper to Taste*
- 4 Cups of Spinach
- 12 Eggs
Sautée all the vegetables, starting by heating up the onion and mushroom first and then adding in the spinach. Mix well with the eggs in a bowl and add to a greased muffin tray or use paper cups to prevent sticking. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Use a toothpick to check if they’re cooked the whole way through.
This example uses onion, mushroom, and spinach, but you could substitute different vegetables or seasoning if you prefer. Quiches are versatile, so choose some vegetables that you like and add them to the mixture.
A whole wheat English muffin is versatile because it has relatively low G.I. and you can pair it with many tasty toppings. You can keep it simple and spread some nut butter on top or some slices of avocado for some healthy fats.
If you’re a fan of Eggs Benedict, you can try out a healthier version with an Eggs Florentine. All you need is a whole wheat English muffin, a poached egg, and a leafy green such as spinach or kale. And of course don’t forget the Hollandaise sauce unless you’re looking to keep your calorie count low.
A lot of these breakfasts are quite hearty, which can be difficult for those who have busy mornings or don’t like sitting down to eat in the morning. A way to get some good protein into you fast is through having a few hard boiled eggs for breakfast.
Hard boiled eggs are great to make on the weekend and then you’ll always have a go-to breakfast or snack throughout the week. If you’ve never made hard boiled eggs before, remember to slowly add the eggs to boiling water using a spoon, boil for 12 minutes, and then run them under cold water when you’re finished. It won’t take too long but you’ll appreciate the effort you made if you’re running late in the morning and need something before you run out the door.
Pancakes are a classic Saturday morning breakfast, but they can be a little high in sugar if you have PCOS. Luckily, there are low-carb alternatives like the example below.
- 2 bananas
- 2 eggs (whisked)
- ½ vanilla protein powder
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Add a large spoonful of the mixture to a pan over medium heat. When pancakes begin to bubble flip then. Cook for around 1 minute per side.
You can also add blueberries or chocolate chips to this mix, the same as with regular pancakes.
Those should be some good ideas to get you started with having a more calorie-dense breakfast. Remember to up the protein and reduce the carbs in your meals so your blood sugars are staying more stable and you feel fuller for longer throughout the day.
Have any other breakfast ideas? Be sure to share!
(17 March, 2014) “3 Ingredient Simple Protein Pancakes.” Retrieved from http://paleomg.com/3-ingredient-simple-protein-pancakes/.
(13 August 2013) “Meal timing can significantly improve fertility in women with polycystic ovaries.” Science News. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130813121626.htm.
“Mini Quiche Cups” Retrieved from https://www.fitnessblender.com/blog/mini-quiche-cups-healthy-high-protein-grab-and-go-snack.
“PCOS Diet Breakfast Ideas.” Retrieved from https://www.pcosdietsupport.com/recipes/pcos-breakfast-ideas/.
(12 April 2016) “PCOS diet plan: 9 yummy PCOS-friendly meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Retrieved from http://www.gi-gen.com/pcos-diet-plan-9-yummy-pcos-friendly-meals-breakfast-lunch-dinner/.
Plano, Amy. (7 November 2016) “10 PCOS Friendly Breakfast Choices.” Retrieved from http://thepcosdietitian.com/pcos-friendly-breakfast-choices/.