Let’s talk about PCOS and breakfast ideas!
Whenever I’m working with my PCOS clients, the FIRST thing I do is establish a nutrition foundation for healthy hormones… step 1 is to make sure you’re eating enough!
Spoiler alert: Most of the times, my clients are not eating enough. Some common things I see are not eating enough calories, not eating enough fat, and skipping meals… especially breakfast!
I commonly see clients skipping breakfast for a few reasons: they either think they should be fasting, they are scared to eat because they’re trying to eat less, or they simply forget and don’t prioritize breakfast.
Eating breakfast when you have PCOS is SO important. Let’s break down why and I’ll also share some PCOS breakfast ideas!
Why Breakfast is Beneficial for PCOS
Breakfast can be really beneficial for PCOS and hormones. Eating breakfast gives your body the energy it needs first thing in the morning to help you feel your best and start your day. Eating breakfast is also important for stabilizing blood sugar, which is really important for insulin resistance (about 70-80% of people with PCOS have insulin resistance!).
It’s also another opportunity to nourish your body with many of the nutrients that are beneficial for PCOS – high-quality fats, fiber, antioxidants, and more!
You may have read online that intermittent fasting can be beneficial for PCOS and that has left you feeling worried that you should be skipping breakfast completely. I have an entire blog post on intermittent fasting here but in a nutshell, I do not recommend it for PCOS. Fasting often leads to overeating or binge eating. People with PCOS are at a higher risk of disordered eating, and I see in practice that fasting often makes this worse. There is also some research that fasting can harm reproductive hormones, which is the opposite of what we’re going for with trying to manage PCOS!
So what if you’re not hungry in the morning?
Your body’s hunger and fullness hormones adjust if you’re not eating regularly. So if you get in the habit of skipping breakfast then it’s expected that you will eventually not feel hungry in the morning anymore.
Just because those feelings are no longer there doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need nutrition. You will need to start eating regularly again to re-establish that hormone regulation. I recommend eating something, even if it’s just something small or a smoothie!
How to Build a PCOS Breakfast
With so much conflicting nutrition advice out there for PCOS, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or worried that you’ll eat the wrong thing. This is just a gentle reminder that there’s no such thing as the ‘wrong’ food and that tuning into how your body feels after you eat can be a great indicator as to what’s working for you!
If you’re completely skipping breakfast then my first recommendation would be just to eat something. Getting caught up on specific macronutrients or what your breakfast is made of may pile on to this feeling of “eating the right thing”.
Once you establish a regular eating routing, you can start incorporating some “gentle nutrition”.
Including protein, carbs, fiber, and fat at breakfast is a great way to help improve hormone imbalances and help you stay full until your next meal. A lot of typical breakfast options like cereal and pastries are primarily carbohydrate sources without protein or fat. This isn’t “bad”, however this can create a spike in insulin. This insulin spike can make you feel tired and hungry, and also lead to worsening hormone imbalances.
This doesn’t mean you need to avoid carbs at breakfast. Pairing and adding other items is a great way to enjoy the foods you love, have great energy, and nourish your hormones!
PCOS Breakfast Ideas
My clients who work with me in my coaching program get a breakfast guide that is complete with examples of breakfast foods rich in protein, fat, and fiber, as well as a grocery shopping guide with lots of products and breakfast ideas!
Here are a few PCOS breakfast ideas to get you started!.
Greek yogurt paired with a fiber-rich fruit like raspberries. Yes, you can totally have dairy with PCOS!
An oatmeal cup with a lil’ extra protein/fat love. Oatmeal is a fiber-rich carb. This is okay to have with insulin resistance or prediabetes, but adding protein and fat can help with insulin spikes. Adding a protein powder, greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butter are all options. I love these Kodiak Cakes oatmeal cups for an easy grab-and-go option!
Scrambled eggs with toast and/or berries. Contrary to misinformation, eggs do not raise cholesterol. Egg yolks are actually full of vitamins and fat, so I recommend using at least 1 whole egg in your egg dish. I also love making grab-and-go egg muffins, and I love using these silicone baking cups. I stick them in a muffin tin and use them to make portable egg bites!
Really into meal planning and prepping? If you love to meal prep and cook then I love the Workweek Lunch membership for meal ideas. Talia does a great job of incorporating ideas that are rich in protein, fiber, and fat.