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With the sea of information of nutrition information, it can quickly feel overwhelming to plan nutritious, healthy breakfasts to support your PCOS.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are lots of foods you can incorporate into your PCOS-friendly breakfast, and many do not take more than a few minutes. And PCOS does not mean that you must eat eggs every morning for the rest of your life. There are other options!
In this article, we will be discussing nutrients that are essential for PCOS and providing you with a list of PCOS breakfast recipes.
Let’s get started!
What is the best diet for PCOS?
There isn’t specific diet that is best for PCOS. Instead, diet changes need to be individualized depending on specific needs and type of PCOS.
In general, it is good to include a variety of nutrient dense foods, antioxidant-rich foods, and plenty of protein and healthy fats to balance blood sugars.
Many women with PCOS also have insulin resistance, so including plenty of protein, fats, and fiber can help balance blood sugars. For example, consider adding peanut butter to your pancakes rather than syrup to help prevent a blood sugar spike.
Components of a PCOS-friendly breakfast
There are several nutrients that are key to managing PCOS. Ideally, pack as many nutrients into your breakfast as you can. However, not every meal will have every nutrient (and that’s okay). In fact, you may not get all of these within the whole day, and that’s okay, too.
With PCOS, the goal is that most meals are generally balanced. This means including a variety of nutritious grains, protein, healthy fats, and plant foods. Research has also shown that there are some nutrients that may be particularly helpful for PCOS.
Zinc for PCOS
Zinc is a mineral that has been shown to offer numerous benefits for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
One of the primary benefits of zinc is its potential to improve insulin resistance, which is a common issue among women with PCOS. Zinc can also help to regulate lipid levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and other complications associated with PCOS.
Women with PCOS may also experience menstrual pain, which may be alleviated by taking zinc supplements.
Zinc can also decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are factors that can contribute to the development and progression of PCOS.
Furthermore, zinc has been found to decrease DHEAS, FSH, and testosterone levels, helping to regulate hormonal imbalances. 1
Additionally, zinc supplementation may help to reduce hair loss, or alopecia, and excessive hair growth, or hirsutism, which are common symptoms of PCOS. 2
Overall, incorporating zinc into the treatment plan for women with PCOS may provide multiple benefits and help to manage symptoms associated with this condition.
What Foods Contain Zinc?
Foods high in zinc include:
- Turkey breast
- Pumpkin seeds
- Greek yogurt
Selenium for PCOS
Selenium is a trace mineral that can offer several benefits for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
One of the potential benefits of selenium is its potential to increase pregnancy rates in women with PCOS who are trying to conceive.
Furthermore, selenium may help to decrease DHEA levels, which can contribute to hormonal imbalances in women with PCOS.
In addition, selenium supplementation may help to decrease hirsutism, or excessive hair growth, which is a common symptom of PCOS.
Women with PCOS may also experience elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of inflammation in the body. Selenium may help reduce CRP levels, potentially decreasing the risk of inflammation-related complications.
Selenium supplementation may also be beneficial for reducing alopecia, or hair loss, and acne, which are common symptoms of PCOS. 3
Overall, incorporating selenium into the treatment plan for women with PCOS may offer several benefits and help to manage symptoms associated with this condition.
What Foods Contain Selenium?
Foods high in selenium include:
- Brazil nuts
- Fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, shrimp)
- Whole grains (oatmeal, rice, breads)
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
Magnesium for PCOS
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, and it may offer benefits for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
One potential benefit of magnesium for women with PCOS is its ability to improve insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a common issue among women with PCOS, and it can contribute to metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium may help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in the body, which can help to manage insulin resistance and prevent complications. 4
What Foods Contain Magnesium?
Foods high in magnesium include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter)
- Black beans
- Edamame and soy milk
- Brown rice
Antioxidants may help reduce the number of free radicals in your body, which can lead to oxidative stress. This can cause changes to the DNA of your cells and inflammation, increasing your risk of chronic disease.
Most plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables, contain some anti-inflammatory nutrients. The types of antioxidants in each food varies, but often plant foods of the same color family have similar antioxidants.
For example, carrots and sweet potatoes are both a deep orange color and high in beta-carotine. This is one reason why it is important to eat a variety of plant foods to ensure that you are getting a variety of antioxidants.
Eating antioxidant-rich foods is especially important for women with PCOS, who tend to have higher levels of inflammation.
Some foods high in antioxidants include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (the higher the percent of cocoa, the more nutrients)
- Leafy greens
- Melon (watermelon and cantaloupe)
- Broccoli and cauliflower
There is a ton of emerging research on the role of gut health on conditions from IBW to depression to PCOS. What we do know is that there are billions of bacteria living in our intestines, many of which are beneficial to our overall health (and not just gut issues!).
While it is not exactly clear how this works, there is some research indicating that improved gut health may help manage insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism (excess face and/or body hair).
Some ways to improve gut health include:
- Eating a variety of nutritious foods.
- Ensure you are getting adequate fiber. Fiber is known as a prebiotic, which is a substance that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans.
- Eat foods high in probiotics, such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.
Top PCOS Breakfast Ideas
Without further adieu, below is a list of the top PCOS breakfast ideas. These recipes made the list because they contain some of the key nutrients to manage PCOS and promote balanced blood sugars.
And, if you’re tired of eating eggs all the time to manage your insulin resistance, we’ve got you covered with no-egg PCOS breakfast ideas! Egg-based dishes are great for PCOS, but it’s usually the first food that people “burn out” on as they work toward healthy insulin and blood sugar levels.
Savory Breakfasts for PCOS
Healthy Southwest Breakfast Scramble
This breakfast scramble from Ally’s Cooking is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and uses whole food ingredients. It also incorporates green chiles to add a kick to your breakfast.
Spinach Mushroom Feta Crustless Quiche
Packed with antioxidants from the veggies and the deliciousness of two different types of cheeses, this quiche from Budge Bytes would be a great low-carb breakfast options for PCOS.
Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole
More of a meat-eater? This breakfast casserole from Kindly Unspoken high in protein, incorporates several types of veggies, and is easy to prep in advance. This would also be an easy way to use up whatever veggies are wilting in the fridge.
Avocado Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Who doesn’t like a good breakfast sandwich? With 21 grams of protein and healthy fats, this option from Homemade Mastery can promote long-lasting fullness. Plus our favorite part: pickled vegetables. Not only does this add flavor, but could also be used to get a dose of probiotics first thing in the morning.
Anyone else love the idea of an appetizer for breakfast? This breakfast bruschetta from HoneyB’s Kitchen contains 24 grams of protein, which can help promote blood sugar balance (even with the addition of carbs).
Southwest Protein Breakfast Bowls
These high-protein breakfast bowls from Good Life Eats contains antioxidant-rich foods like sweet potatoes, avocado, and spinach. Plus, with the optional additions like pickled jalapenos and cotija cheese, you have plenty of ways to make breakfast flavorful.
This shakshuka from Downshiftology is a great alternative to traditional egg breakfasts. With 7 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbs per serving, this PCOS-friendly breakfast options is great for blood sugar balance.
Chicken Apple Sausage Sweet Potato Hash
Finally, an no-egg breakfast for PCOS. This savory breakfast hash from The Real Food Dietitians is high in protein and packed with nutrient-rich veggies, including sweet potatoes, peppers, zucchini, and brussels sprouts.
Another egg-less PCOS breakfast idea. Avocado toast is a great way to include antioxidants and healthy fat. Fat also helps improve blood sugar balance by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates, so no need to avoid that good crusty bread that you were eye-ing at the store.
This recipe from Cookie and Kate provides a TON of variations to make your avocado toast your own. The variations also allow for flexibility to use fresh, seasonal herbs as they become available.
Sweet Breakfasts for PCOS
Breakfast Berry Parfaits
This breakfast parfait from Simply Delicious made the list for the best PCOS breakfast because it is packed with protein, healthy fat, fiber, magnesium, and zinc. Not only does it taste great, but it can keep you full throughout the morning.
Fruit and Yogurt Protein Parfaits
This variation of a yogurt parfait from The Lemon Bowl is packed with the same nuts and seeds that pack this breakfast with magnesium and zinc. With the addition of warming spices, this PCOS-friendly breakfast is delicious and an easy meal prep recipe.
This recipe from Budget Bytes allows for all the carb-y goodness of pancakes with plenty of protein to help with blood sugar balance. Two of these pancakes contains 15 grams of protein and only 32 carbohydrates.
Another sweet PCOS breakfast option from Gimme Some Oven, this granola is packed with healthy fats, nutrient dense seeds, and all whole foods ingredients.
Cottage Cheese Breakfast
Most of us are familiar with yogurt bowls, but have you ever tried a breakfast bowl? This cottage cheese bowl from Sweet As Honey is high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Plus, cottage cheese is usually cheaper than Greek yogurt, so this is also a budget-friendly PCOS nutrition tip.
Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
This creamy, chocolatey pudding from The Minimalist Baker is super easy to prep in advance, requires no cooking, and rich in magnesium. It’s a little light on calories to be a breakfast on its own, so consider pairing this with nuts and a piece of fruit.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
These super filling peanut bars from the Real Food Dietitians are only 5 ingredients and have plenty of healthy fat and protein to help promote healthy blood sugars.
Grain Free Berry Crisp
A lower sugar variation of a favorite comfort food. This breakfast recipe from the Real Food Dietitians is rich in antioxidants, only 20 grams of carbs per serving, and does not have any artificial sweeteners.
Final Thoughts: Top PCOS Breakfast Ideas
In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all diet for PCOS, but including a variety of nutrient-dense foods, antioxidants, healthy fats, and proteins can help balance blood sugar levels.
Additionally, zinc, selenium, and magnesium are minerals that have shown promising benefits for women with PCOS.
For more information about nutrition for PCOS, check out our article on fruit and insulin resistance and our guide for the best teas for PCOS.