Confused about what is a healthy snack for PCOS is?  Unsure if you should be snacking at all when you have PCOS? Do you find yourself eating the same boring snacks over and over again? Need some new, quick and easy PCOS snack ideas?

As a Registered Dietitian specializing in PCOS and having PCOS myself, I can’t say enough how important blood sugar balancing snacks are for managing PCOS symptoms like insulin resistance, weight gain, carb cravings and fatigue.

In this Ultimate Guide for Healthy PCOS Snacks, I’ll review the benefits snacks can have on your energy levels, fertility and weight loss journey. As well as provide you will 55 different snack ideas!

Let’s get snacking!

Key Takeaways

  • Well-balanced snacks control blood sugar levels, prevent cravings, boost energy, and provide essential nutrients for managing PCOS symptoms.
  • Opt for snacks with a mix of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats to keep you satisfied and energized, choosing options with around 20 grams of carbs per serving.
  • Plan snacks along with meals, always have a snack on hand, and choose portable options for convenience, while monitoring portion sizes and snacking habits.
  • Grab my FREE snack cheat sheet below!

Why are snacks beneficial for PCOS?

A healthy, well balanced snack is good for PCOS because it can help control your blood sugar levels between meals. Most PCOS carb cravings are a result of low blood sugars. A well timed and balanced snack can prevent those cravings and binges.

A healthy PCOS snack of complex carbs, protein and healthy fats can also improve your energy levels. Say goodbye to that afternoon slump.

It’s also an opportunity to add more nutrients (magnesium, omega 3s, fiber, antioxidants) to your diet that will help decrease insulin resistance, decrease inflammation, balance hormones and improve gut health.

First, grab my Free PCOS Snack Cheat Sheet!

What makes a good snack for PCOS?

The key to making the best PCOS snack is balancing multiple food groups to lower the glycemic effect of the snack.

  • Select a complex carb (apple, whole grain crackers, red pepper strips)
  • Select a protein (hard boil egg, cheese stick, beans, seeds)
  • Select a healthy fat (avocado, hemp seeds, walnuts)

The combination of complex carb, protein and healthy fat helps to keep you full and satisfied as well as provides you with energy.

When selecting a carb, choose a complex carb that has a lower glycemic index. The fiber from a complex carb will help improve insulin resistance and glycemic load. The protein and fat will also help reduce the glycemic load as well. 

A good rule of thumb is to choose a carbohydrate with 20 grams of carbs or less per serving.

If you eat a snack with just carbs, it most likely won’t leave you satisfied for very long. If your snack is just protein or fat, you might not have enough energy (carbs provide energy) to get you through that scheduled workout you have planned.

Infographic showing you how to build a healthy snack for PCOS. There are three columns each showing a list of foods for either carbs, fats and proteins to combine for a snack.

If you want to learn more about how to prepare PCOS friendly snacks, check out this article.

55 Healthy PCOS Snack Ideas 

You can also use this list for quick and easy PCOS breakfast ideas. 

Make Ahead Snack List

  • Mason jar salads (veggie +beans +healthy fats from EVOO)
  • Energy bites. My two favorite are Cinnamon Pecan Energy Bites and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites.
  • Chia pudding +fruit +seeds
  • Cucumber and hummus
  • Roasted Cauliflower (with EVOO) and salsa
  • Carrots and tahini sauce
  • Bell peppers and black bean dip
  • Broccoli and homemade ranch dip
  • Smoothies ( ⅓ fruit, ⅔ veggie and liquid)
  • Apple rings ( Apple slices, PB and hemp seeds)
  • Whole grain toast with homemade Chia seed jam
  • Hard boil egg and fruit
  • Turkey Roll Up- all natural deli turkey, dijon mustard, red bell pepper or cucumber strips inside and rolled up.
  • Air-popped popcorn with peanuts.
  • Apple slices with almond butter and flax seed
  • Celery + nut butter +sunflower seeds
  • Grainy seedy crackers (check out my Be Balanced with PCOS Meal Plan for a homemade Super Seedy Cracker Recipe!) with cheese
    • Or with nut butter
    • Or with fruit
    • Or with bean dip
  • Chicken salad with lettuce cups, celery sticks or cucumber slices
  • Egg salad with cucumber slices and lettuce cups
  • Tuna salad with cucumber slices, lettuce cups, celery sticks or bell pepper slices
  • Hard boiled eggs with guacamole/mashed avocado
  • Cooked quinoa with fruit and milk of choice
  • Cooked oatmeal with nut butter, flax seed, cinnamon and raisins
  • Cottage cheese, tomatoes and drizzle of EVOO
  • Yogurt parfait with seeds like chia, hemp, flax and fruit
  • Slices of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella drizzled with EVOO
  • Bean salad- ½ beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, 1 tsp EVOO and vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Whole grain toast (1 slice) with nut butter and fruit.
  • Whole grain toast (sprouted grain is great!) with 1-2 Tbsp ricotta cheese, strawberries and fresh basil.
  • Smoked salmon on rye crisps with cream cheese and cucumber slices
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

Grab and Go Snacks

Having quick and easy PCOS snacks at your fingers will help ensure you actually eat them consistently!

  • Nuts and fresh fruit (any combination!)
    • Walnuts/ Cherries
    • Almonds/ Blueberries
    • Pistachios/ Clementines
    • Pecans/ Small banana
    • Peanuts/ strawberries
    • Brazil nuts/ pineapple
    • Macadamia/ kiwi
  • Whole grain crackers with cheese sticks
  • Individual bags of olives + almonds + ½ grapes
  • All natural beef jerky with whole grain/seedy crackers
  • Individual single serve hummus with veggies
  • Individual since service guacamole with veggies
  • Cheese stick with whole grain crackers
  • Cheese stick with ½ cup fruit
  • Individual tuna packet with whole grain crackers
  • Individual low sugar yogurts (greek or regular like Ziggi’s or Chobani’s Less Sugar Greek Yogurt Vanilla and Cinnamon. 
  • Individual low sugar plant based yogurts + 1 Tb nuts/seeds
  • Leftovers from the night before (there aren’t any rules about what snack foods have to be)
  • Dark Chocolate bar (1oz) + Nuts (1oz)
  • Homemade or store bought trail mix
  • Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
  • Trail mix made with 1/4 nuts, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 2 Tablespoon chocolate chips.
  • Package protein bars like Kindbars or Larabars.

If you want to learn HOW to create balance meals and snack for PCOS, check out my FREE 5-DAY PCOS Nutrition Course- Balance Your Plate for Happy Hormones.

PCOS Snack Prep Tips

  • Plan your snacks when you’re planning your meals each week. They are just as important.

  • Never be without a snack. Period. Find a shelf stable snack you like and keep it in your purse, desk or car. I always have pistachios, dried cherries and emergency dark chocolate :). You can also try:
    • Tuna packets
    • Cans of marinated chickpeas (Trader Joes sells greek flavored ones. Yum!)
    • Little bags of nuts
    • Single serve containers of nut butters
    • Dried fruit- ¼ cup pre portioned into baggies or a container
    • Fresh fruit like clementines or apples in a plastic bag/container to keep clean
  • If you find you are snacking a lot, evaluate your last meal to determine it was balanced.

  • If you find yourself snacking mindlessly or just out of habit, find a different activity to redirect your attention.

Check out these on the go PCOS snack ideas.

Are protein bars OK for PCOS?

Protein bars are an okay snack choice for PCOS, but not my favorite. It’s hard to find ones with the right macronutrient balance, minimally processed and still tastes good. Take a look at the ingredient list to find ones with minimally processed ingredients and low/no added sugar. 

Honestly, I find a handful of nuts works just as well and it’s cheaper. 

Are bananas good for PCOS?

Yes, bananas can be a great snack for PCOS especially when combined with protein and fat at a meal or snack. You just need to monitor the portion of the banana. A small banana or ½ a large banana is the recommended serving. 

Is popcorn okay for PCOS?

Popcorn is great for PCOS. It’s considered a whole grain. Just remember to combine with a protein and/or healthy fat at snack time. I recommend air-popped popcorn to limit the artificial flavors and butter sauces most brands include. 

Try this method to make it in a brown paper bag!

What kind of crackers are good for PCOS?

Crackers made with legumes/lentils, whole grain or seeds (like flax, hemp, sesame) are great for PCOS. 

Is peanut butter healthy for PCOS?

Peanut butter is healthy for PCOS. It provides a great source of healthy fats and plant-based protein. I recommend going for “natural” style peanut butter as it doesn’t have added sugar or hydrogenated oils.  

What is a good sweet snack for PCOS?

A good sweet snack for PCOS is a 1oz dark chocolate bar with 1oz of nuts, a serving of fruit with a protein/or fat, energy bites made with dates or chocolate chips for sweetness, or even a frozen yogurt ice cream bar like Yasso.

Is snacking bad for PCOS?

No! Snacking can be part of your PCOS lifestyle that helps with managing blood sugars and adding more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.

However, mindlessly snack of high-processed snacks or really anything is not going to help improve your PCOS symptoms or your relationship with food.

The bottom line.

A well balanced snack with complex carbs, protein and healthy fats can actually help you improve your PCOS symptoms and prevent those afternoon cravings.

Just remember to be smart about the type of carbohydrate you pick (complex carbs) and the amount of carbs (20g or less for a snack). 

Then pair the complex carb with a source of protein and healthy fats to decrease the glycemic load. This will also keep you full and satisfied till your next meal.

Looking for more PCOS friendly meals and snack ideas? Check out my Be Balanced with PCOS Meal Plan. Use code FREE7 to get 7 days of free access. You will have week’s worth of PCOS friendly meals and snacks delivered to your inbox as well as access to thousands of recipes.