The PCOS Diet – A PCOS Diet Plan For Success – PCOS Diet Chart

So how does one manage insulin levels with a PCOS diet?

Choosing carbohydrate sources that are less refined and do not contain added sugars is the key! Notice I didn’t say completely remove carbohydrates. We just want to choose sources that are rich in fiber, nutrients, less processed, and come from the earth!

Examples of carbohydrate sources to include in your PCOS diet chart include:

  • Fruit – apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, blue, raspberries, cantaloupe, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, plantains
  • Non-starchy veggies – broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, spring mix, arugula, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, asparagus
  • Starchy veggies – yams, potatoes (sweet, white, purple, yellow), squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti), peas, parsnips
  • Beans (kidney, navy, pinto, black, cannellini)
  • Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, sunflower)
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, pecans, macadamia, hazelnuts, brazil)
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Taro
  • Cassava 
  • Brown rice
  • Whole oats
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Millet

These sources of carbohydrates listed above like beans, whole grains, oats, and quinoa will support hormonal balance for women on a PCOS diet because of the positive impact they have on blood sugar when consumed with other healthy fats and protein food!

On the other hand, refined carbohydrates cause an insulin spike and should therefore be avoided or consumed in small amounts. Sugar and refined carbs are top of the list for foods that cause hormonal imbalance and in the form of insulin resistance and elevated androgen levels, can be more difficult to control.  

Examples of carbohydrate sources to limit in your PCOS diet plan include:

  • White bread
  • Regular pasta
  • White rice
  • Crackers
  • Chips 
  • High sugar granola/cereal 
  • Granola bars 
  • Sweetened yogurt
  • Candy
  • Sweetened beverages (soda, fruit juice, bottled smoothies)
  • Pastries
  • Ice cream 

The Androgen & PCOS Connection

Androgen hormones, which are male-dominant hormones, become elevated in women with PCOS. 

So is insulin or androgen hormones the issue? Well both…

It turns out that testosterone is closely linked to insulin in that more insulin = more testosterone, and less insulin = less testosterone.

So the better insulin control you have, the better your PCOS symptoms will be managed. 

5 Key Elements To The Perfect PCOS Diet & Our PCOS Diet Chart

1. Pack On The Protein

Consuming protein foods with every meal and snack is one of the most effective ways to manage blood sugar and stress levels.

As mentioned, insulin resistance and dysregulated blood sugar (even in those who are not overweight) is often the root PCOS-related symptoms, and one way to blunt the insulin response is eating protein with your carbohydrate sources. Examples of high protein foods/snacks include:

  • Animal meat
  • Eggs 
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • High-quality protein powder
  • Greek yogurt (if you tolerate dairy)
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Organic tofu/tempeh
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds)

2. Having Healthy Fats

Healthy fats that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids are another important component of every PCOS-friendly meal. PCOS is an inflammatory condition, so eating foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature can be influential in managing symptoms.[4] 

Other benefits to eating healthy fats with PCOS include:

  1. Healthy hormone production – which are necessary for healthy reproductive health
  2. Vitamin absorption – the nutrients from our food need fat present in order to be fully absorbed for energy and other biological functions 
  3. Healthy fluid in the cell membrane – which help cells properly function

Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids include:

  • Coldwater fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds)
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado 

3. High Fiber/unrefined Carbohydrates Sources

Research shows that an intake high in refined carbohydrates that are low in nutrients and fiber are associated with PCOS.[5] Whereas intakes of 28-36 g fiber/day, consisting of both soluble and insoluble fiber, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce circulating insulin, which has been correlated with a decrease in PCOS-related symptoms.[6] 

Some high fiber foods include:

  • Fruit with skin
  • Veggies with skin
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa 
  • Oats
  • Nuts and seeds

4. Fantastic Food Timing

How you pair your food can make all the difference in blood sugar control and management of PCOS. Waking up to a sugar-laden caramel latte and granola bar is going to have a much different effect on the body than some protein-rich scrambled eggs with sauteed peppers and onions. 

Similarly, having snacks throughout the day that contain a balance of protein, healthy fat, and fiber vs straight sugar is an important part of a PCOS diet.

5. Stress-free Eating Environment

Remember that PCOS is a condition fueled by stress, so making the eating environment one that’s calm and enjoyable vs rushed and distracted is important. When eating on the fly or being constantly distracted during mealtimes, the body senses that stress which leads to adrenal dysfunction! This adds to the overall stress burden that is often the root of PCOS-related symptoms. 

Eating in a way that supports stress reduction goes far beyond eating kale and smoothies, it means actually taking time to enjoy meals in a relaxed, enjoyable way that’s stress-free! 

 A Sample Day of Eating On A PCOS Diet 


  • Scrambled eggs 
  • Roasted red skin potatoes
  • Sauteed spinach, peppers, and onion



  • Grilled chicken breast or grass-fed beef patty
  • Salad blend (chopped cabbage, shaved brussel sprouts, kale, arugula, romaine)
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Chopped bell pepper, cucumber, carrot
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Pickled red onion
  • Greek vinagrette dressing 


Protein smoothie 

  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • Frozen blueberries and banana
  • Almond butter or other nut butter of choice
  • Chia seeds
  • Spinach
  • Coconut or almond milk
  • Ice


Grass-fed beef tacos with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts 

  • Mini corn tortillas
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Salsa
  • Black beans
  • Chopped onion
  • Guacamole
  • Cilantro
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts 

Hopefully, you learned a lot about creating a PCOS diet plan and take advantage of our PCOS Diet Chart that can help manage this condition! We’ve had women completely reverse their symptoms and restore regularity with their menstrual cycles by adopting a PCOS diet plan, and you could be no exception.

Maybe you’ve never received a PCOS diagnosis but suspect you may be dealing with it, a hormonal imbalance test could be the first step!

If you’re feeling frustrated about your PCOS symptoms and would benefit from some more one-on-one attention, consider working with a dietitian to get to the root of your hormone imbalance.

The PCOS Diet – A PCOS Diet Plan For Success – PCOS Diet Chart is written by Abby Vichill for www.fwdfuel.com

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