Confused about what is a healthy snack for PCOS?
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 ideas?
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!
First, grab my Free PCOS Snack Cheat Sheet!
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 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.
What makes a good snack for PCOS?
The key is to balance 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.
55 Healthy PCOS snack ideas
You can also use this list for quick and easy PCOS breakfast ideas.
Make Ahead Snacks
- Mason jar salads (veggie +beans +healthy fats from EVOO)
- Energy bites
- Cinnamon Pecan Energy Bites
- 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
Grab and Go Snacks
- 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 (1oz) + Nuts (1oz)
- Homemade or store bought trail mix
- Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
Tips on How To Plan, Prep and Enjoy.
- 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 bag 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
- You can also try:
- 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.
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.
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.