PCOS Breakfast: Recipes, Food List + Tips
These PCOS breakfast dishes are healthy, satisfying, and easy.
If you have PCOS, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
PCOS weight loss specialist Ro Huntriss tells Insider skipping breakfast can lead to increased hunger later in the day. What’s more, eating earlier generates a lower insulin response, writes Nadia Brito Pateguana, author and naturopathic doctor, in the PCOS Plan:
“Studies show the same meal taken at dinner, compared with breakfast, produces almost 30% more insulin effect.”
In short: breakfast helps you start your day right. But not all breakfast dishes are PCOS-friendly.
With the recipes and food lists you find in this post, you’ll cook up an easy, healthy PCOS breakfast that will help you maintain your weight and regulate your insulin levels.
PCOS breakfast essentials
Below, you’ll find a list of the main ingredients and tools you’ll need to get started.
Keep your pantry well-stocked with these PCOS-friendly ingredients.
- Protein: eggs, turkey, chicken breast, nuts, protein powder. A note on protein powder: Melissa Groves, author of A Balanced Approach to PCOS: 16 Weeks of Meal Prep & Recipes for Women, recommends choosing an unflavored protein powder with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Look for whey protein, pea protein, and pumpkin seed protein.
- Fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, butter.
- Fruits: Include fruits with a low to moderate glycemic load. Using the glycemic index, you can check which fruits will cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Foods with a low GI result in slower rises in your blood sugar. These include apples, berries, pears, peaches, cherries, grapes, and kiwi fruits.
- Dairy: sour cream, plain full-fat greek yogurt, goat cheese.
- Grains: oatmeal, quinoa
- Beverages: water and non-caffeinated herbal teas. Check out a list of PCOS teas here.
- Flours: almond flour, macadamia nut flour, coconut flour, and buckwheat flour.
- Spices and condiments: balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, maple syrup vanilla extract
- Sweeteners: honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup
- Seeds: chia, Flaxseed
- Vegetables: low-GI veg, including tomato, bell pepper, garlic, onion, mushroom, spinach
It’s also worth understanding what a PCOS breakfast should avoid and why.
Many people on a PCOS diet restrict or avoid dairy. Milk, of course, is high in carbs and sugar. One 2020 research paper in the Nutrients journal suggests findings are mixed, and there’s no clear evidence for whether or not women with PCOS should eliminate dairy. Still, you’ll see most PCOS breakfast recipes are dairy-free.
Sugar or artificial sweeteners are also typically absent from PCOS breakfast dishes. Frequently, I’ll find recipes with nonnutritive sweeteners, but experts recommend limiting your intake. According to the PCOS Nutrition Center:
“Stevia is as much as 350 times sweeter than table sugar and there’s isn’t a large body of evidence on its safety.”
Here’s the thing: I go through periods where I don’t consume sweeteners at all. So far that approach isn’t sustainable for me. Right now, honey is my go-to sweetener.
For coffee lovers, there are different opinions on PCOS and caffeine. Some studies suggest caffeine can increase androgens and affect fertility. Personally, I cut out coffee when I was experiencing insomnia. At the time, it seemed unthinkable. But I don’t miss my morning coffee. Green tea has a more sustained release of caffeine, and I feel like I get a solid energy boost. Even better, I take a 30-second cold shower in the morning to get going.
These tools make it easier to prepare breakfast.
- Blender: great for making a quick breakfast smoothie.
- Non-stick pan: perfect for cooking omelets and scrambled eggs.
- Knives: chopping food is far easier with a high-quality blade.
- Silicone spatula: essential for eggs and pancakes.
8 PCOS breakfast recipes
Here are PCOS breakfast recipes to fuel you for the day.
1.Greek yogurt with strawberries
Greek yogurt is a great low-fat dairy option for PCOS. Healthline reports that low-fat dairy is associated with lower diabetes risk and insulin resistance.
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- Honey to sweeten
- 4 sliced strawberries
- Optional: vanilla extract
- Mix greek yogurt and sliced strawberries in a bowl.
- Stir in honey for desired sweetness.
Oatmeal features on most PCOS breakfast lists, and it’s easy to see why. This whole grain contains compounds that improve insulin levels, like magnesium and selenium, according to the PCOS Nutrition Center Cookbook.
One study confirmed oats improved insulin sensitivity among people with diabetes. For a PCOS-friendly breakfast, avoid instant oats. Instead, look for a less processed form of oats, like steel-cut oats.
I usually add almond milk to my oats. Although there's no consensus about the link between PCOS and dairy, I often feel bloated after dairy and usually give it a miss.
I adapted this easy creamy oatmeal recipe I found on the Umami Girl blog.
- Two cups rolled oats
- Two cups almond milk
- Two cups water
- One spoon honey
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon chia seeds
- Place all ingredients in a pot, except the chia seeds.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat and allow oats to simmer.
- Stir until creamy.
- Take off heat and cool.
- Serve with chia seeds.
I’ll usually add more honey once I serve the oats. My kids love this oatmeal, too.
There are several health benefits of eggs for PCOS, according to Nutritionist Janine Whiteson in The Healthy.
“Eggs are also a great diet component for women with PCOS. Not only are they a wonderful source of protein, but they’re packed with nutrients that improve the symptoms of PCOS. The egg yolk provides a good source of omega-3 fats, iron, folate, vitamins A, D, and E, thiamin, and choline.”
My husband makes this creamy scrambled eggs recipe. We usually use three eggs and add pepper too.
4.Strawberry coconut breakfast quinoa
I found this recipe in the PCOS Nutrition Center Cookbook.
- 1 cup quinoa, dry
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tablespoons maple almond butter
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- Put the quinoa in a colander and rinse it well under running water. This will remove the quinoa bitter coating.
- Heat the quinoa in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring for two minutes until quinoa is toasted.
- Add almond milk and bring to a boil.
- Switch heat to low and cover. Stir occasionally.
- Cook until you see all the liquid is absorbed, usually around 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and use a fork to fluff the quinoa.
- Add almond butter, coconut, and maple syrup while the quinoa is warm.
- Serve with strawberries.
Additional PCOS breakfast ideas:
- Egg muffins: a healthy spin on the breakfast muffin - one that’s free of refined carbs and sugar.
- Herb omelet: this protein-packed PCOS breakfast takes just 10 minutes to prepare.
- Sweet potato toast: top this off with fresh avocado, salt, and ground black pepper.
- Easy chia seed pudding: a healthy, sweet breakfast treat.
PCOS breakfast tips
These tips will help you if you’re new to a PCOS diet.
The PCOS Nutrition Center Cookbook advises making a shopping list with meals for a minimum of three days:
- Think about what you’ll be cooking for the next three days
- Write down your meal plan and the ingredients you need
Switching to a new diet isn’t always easy. Aim for small improvements writes Marlee Coldwell in the Insulin Resistance Diet for Beginners:
“The goal here is progress, not perfection. Trying to be perfect with your diet…will feel like chasing your tail and never catching it. Ask yourself this: What would 1 percent better every day look like.”
While I generally eat a healthy breakfast during the week, I don’t always manage to do that over weekends. At the time of writing, my typical Sunday morning breakfast is leftover Korean food with lots of noodles and white rice.
Listen to your body’s carb tolerance
See how your body responds to carbs to understand your carb tolerance, advises Groves in A Balanced Approach to PCOS: 16 Weeks of Meal Prep & Recipes.
“Some women feel great including carbs with breakfast and lunch, but it makes others feel sluggish and tired.”
Start your day with a PCOS breakfast
A PCOS-friendly breakfast provides a source of valuable nutrients and fiber, keeping you full for longer and regulating your blood sugar levels.
Start small with a simple dish you can prepare quickly. Remember to take it one day at a time. There’s no need to rush: you’re already on your way to building healthier eating habits.