20 PCOS-Friendly Breakfasts You’ll Love [Expert-Approved]

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Navigating what to eat when you have PCOS can seem complicated and overwhelming. You’re faced with a flood of information on the internet, often from well-meaning influencers. The range of information, which tends to be conflicting, makes it hard to know what advice to follow.

That’s why I’ve used my expertise as a registered dietitian nutritionist to compile a list of 20 PCOS-friendly breakfasts. These morning meals not only taste good but you also can trust that they are good for you. 

Whether searching for something sweet or savory, make-ahead convenience or grab-and-go solutions, you’ll find options tailored to PCOS in this article.

This comprehensive guide also teaches you the essentials of what should go into a healthy breakfast for PCOS . After reading it, you’ll feel empowered to come up with additional breakfast ideas that fit your own unique tastes and needs.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

<< Click here to get a PDF copy of “20 PCOS-Friendly Breakfasts You’ll Love” sent to your inbox >>

Why It’s Important to Eat Breakfast With PCOS

To start with, why is it important for someone with PCOS to eat breakfast?

There are a few reasons.

1. Balancing Blood Sugar

An estimated 35-80% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, meaning it is hard to control their blood sugars (1). 

Skipping meals is associated with a greater chance of insulin resistance and impaired blood sugar control (2, 3, 4, 5).

To help balance your blood sugar, it’s better to eat regular meals throughout the day. Just ensure your meals include the right type and amount of carbs – more on that below!

2. Optimizing Your Nutrition

Eating three meals a day instead of two gives you an extra chance to optimize your nutrition! For example, the CDC reports that only about 12% of Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables each day. 

Those fruits and vegetables are full of important vitamins, minerals, and fiber that would benefit women with PCOS. 

The USDA found that skipping breakfast results in lower diet quality overall. Your nutritional profile will be better by starting your day with a healthy, PCOS-friendly breakfast instead of skipping it. 

3. Improving Mood and Mental Performance

Many studies show that eating breakfast is linked to better mental performance (6, 7).

Want to feel happier? While there’s certainly more to it than eating breakfast, doing so helps. 

Women with PCOS tend to report higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than women without PCOS (8).

Several studies show that people who eat breakfast have less anxiety and depression and in general feel happier than those who don’t (9, 10, 11, 12).

There may also be good news for your stress levels if you eat breakfast. Limited research shows that people who eat breakfast also tend to have lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol (13, 14). More studies need to be done in this area.

Now that you understand why breakfast is important, let’s look at what are the key features of a healthy breakfast for PCOS.

What Makes a Breakfast PCOS-Friendly

A healthy breakfast for PCOS will help you meet your goals. These are the key elements to consider when planning your meal:

1. Balance of Macronutrients

Don’t eat a breakfast that only consists of one food group. The goal here is to balance the macronutrients – carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

  • Carbohydrates – Complex carbs like whole wheat bread and brown rice will sustain you with energy while helping to keep your blood sugar in check.
  • Protein – Protein is known as the building block of the body. It will help you feel full and satisfied, without increasing blood sugar. 
  • Healthy fats – Healthy fats, like olive oil, help slow digestion so you’ll feel full for longer. Pairing them with carbs in your meal can help promote more stable blood sugar levels. 

2. Low Glycemic Index (GI) Carbohydrates

The Glycemic Index (GI) is essentially a scale that ranks carbohydrate foods based on how high they will raise your blood sugar. 

All carbs digest into glucose – sugar – and your body needs them for energy. 

BUT, some are easier on your blood sugar and keep you full longer than others. These are the low GI foods. 

Studies show that women with PCOS benefit from choosing low GI foods in place of high GI foods (15,16). 

Foods given a GI score of 55 or less are considered Low GI. Foods given a GI score of 70 or higher are considered high GI. 

Examples of low GI foods are barley, bulgur, bran flakes, spelt bread, eggplant, celery,  cucumber, apples, pomegranate, pear, strawberries, and avocado.

Some examples of high GI foods are white bread, cornflakes, cakes, cookies, tortilla chips, potatoes, watermelon, and dates. 

chart divided into 3 columns depicting the glycemic index of various foods: low GI, Medium GI, and high GI.

3. Fiber

Generally, low GI foods are also high in fiber, which is great news for you. 

Fiber promotes satiety so you won’t feel like you need a snack as soon as you finish breakfast. It’s also good for your digestive health and helps with regulating blood sugar (17, 18). 

<< Click here to get a PDF copy of “20 PCOS-Friendly Breakfasts You’ll Love” sent to your inbox >>

List of PCOS-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

Sweet Breakfasts:

1. Greek yogurt parfait with low GI granola, peach, and pecans

2. Buckwheat pancakes with strawberries and slivered almonds

3. Oatmeal with apples, cinnamon, and walnuts

4. Whole grain toast topped with almond butter and blueberries

graphic of a list of sweet pcos-friendly breakfast ideas

Savory Breakfasts:

5. Mushroom and bell pepper omelet with spelt toast and avocado

6. Smoked salmon wrap (use a whole grain wrap) with cream cheese, veggies, and fresh dill

7. Savory oatmeal with steamed spinach, black beans, roasted red peppers, diced tomatoes, and onions

8. Scrambled tofu with nutritional yeast, toasted pumpernickel bread, and sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil

9. Cottage cheese bowl with diced cucumber and tomato, grated carrots, green onion, chives, and a drizzle of walnut oil

graphic of a list of savory pcos-friendly breakfast ideas

Make-Ahead Breakfasts:

10. Chia pudding – combine 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and your favorite berries – refrigerate overnight.

11. Overnight oats with whole oats, unsweetened soy milk, Greek yogurt, a drizzle of nut butter, and strawberries – refrigerate overnight. 

12. Breakfast burrito – make ahead breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs or tofu, green bell pepper, spinach, and sweet potato in whole grain tortillas. Freeze individually.

13. Frittata slices – Choose a veggie-packed frittata recipe and freeze individual slices. 

graphic of a list of make-ahead pcos-friendly breakfast ideas

Grab and Go Breakfasts:

14. PCOS breakfast smoothie – blend unsweetened almond milk, half of an avocado, frozen peach slices, fresh baby spinach, and a tablespoon of flax seeds

15. Egg muffins – Whisk together eggs, broccoli florets (or any other veggies you like), and a sprinkle of cheese if desired. Divide into a muffin tin and bake. Grab one to go along with a low glycemic index bar

16.  Hard-boiled egg with a tangerine and a handful of unsalted almonds

17. Single-serve container of plain full-fat Greek yogurt and an apple or pear

graphic showing list of grab & go PCOS-friendly breakfast ideas

PCOS Breakfast Ideas For Dining Out

18. Egg and veggie breakfast sandwich. Look for whole grain bread or a wrap and avoid processed breakfast meats like bacon and sausages

19. Omelet with veggies and a slice of whole grain toast on the side

20. Oatmeal with fruit and nuts or nut butter

graphic showing list of pcos-friendly breakfast ideas for dining out

What to Drink with Breakfast

Water, of course, is always a great choice.

If you need a pick-me-up in the form of caffeine, choose coffee or tea without added sugar and fancy syrups that will send your glucose soaring. 

What about juice? It’s actually preferable to eat a whole piece of fruit instead of drinking juice. A piece of fruit will take longer to digest and be more satisfying. If you’re really craving juice, choose 100% fruit juice and stick to 4 ounces (equivalent to half a cup). 

Breakfasts to Limit for PCOS

Breakfast foods to limit if you have PCOS include those made with refined carbohydrates and high amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat. For example:

  • Doughnuts and other fried pastries
  • Fried potatoes/hash browns, fried breakfast meats
  • Pancakes, waffles, French toast, white toast, croissants, muffins made with white flour
  • Syrups and other sweet toppings that aren’t whole fruit
  • Too much cheese (often high in salt) 
  • Sweet coffee beverages 
  • Sweet tea

PCOS-Friendly Breakfast Tips

  • Customization is your friend.  If the fruit or vegetable in one of the PCOS breakfast ideas doesn’t align with your taste, swap it out for your preferred choice! Not a fan of almonds? Experiment with walnuts or any other nuts that delight your palate instead. 
  • A little prep work now will save you time later. Make those egg muffins and breakfast burritos now so you have them on hand. Boil up a batch of eggs for on-the-go breakfasts. Streamline smoothie prep by putting the ingredients in a freezer bag together. Those rushed mornings will be a breeze when you can skip measuring and chopping. Just toss in the blender with milk or water and you’re all set.
  • Print out this list and stick it on your fridge. You’ll never be left wondering what to have for breakfast.
  • Save this article to your phone for easy access during supermarket trips.
  • Choose whole milk dairy products instead of nonfat (19, 20). 
  • Don’t forget about portion control. Cultivate a mindful eating practice by eating slowly, savoring each bite without distraction, and following your internal hunger/fullness cues

<< Click here to get a PDF copy of “20 PCOS-Friendly Breakfasts You’ll Love” sent to your inbox >>

Bottom Line

Eating breakfast when you have PCOS is important. It can promote balanced blood sugar levels, improve your mood and mental performance, and help you meet your nutritional needs.

Include a combination of protein, healthy fats, and low glycemic index carbohydrates at breakfast. 

Try the PCOS-friendly breakfast ideas above or experiment with your own creations – it’s up to you! 

For personalized nutrition advice, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist like Meredith Mishan, MS, RDN

<< Looking for snack ideas? Check out this list of the 30 Best PCOS Snacks! >>

Sources

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  9. Wyon, D. P., Abrahamsson, L., Järtelius, M., & Fletcher, R. J. (1997). An experimental study of the effects of energy intake at breakfast on the test performance of 10-year-old children in school. International journal of food sciences and nutrition48(1), 5–12. https://doi.org/10.3109/09637489709006958
  10. Lee, S. A., Park, E. C., Ju, Y. J., Lee, T. H., Han, E., & Kim, T. H. (2017). Breakfast consumption and depressive mood: A focus on socioeconomic status. Appetite114, 313–319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.04.007
  11. Chang, Z. S., Boolani, A., Conroy, D. A., Dunietz, T., & Jansen, E. C. (2021). Skipping breakfast and mood: The role of sleep. Nutrition and health27(4), 373–379. https://doi.org/10.1177/0260106020984861
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Meredith Mishan is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over 12 years of experience working with nutrition clients from around the world. She has a Master of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University and is credentialed as a dietitian in both the United States and Israel.

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