Episode #64: Snack Hacks: Making Nutritious Choices for PCOS While on the Move

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Snack Hacks: Making Nutritious Choices for PCOS While on the Move

What you’ll learn in this episode

Making nutritious choices in between meals and while on the move can make or break a PCOS healthy lifestyle endeavor. That’s why in this episode we will go through not only how to use snacks for better hormonal health but also what are great snack options as well as which ones you’ll want to skip.

If you’re looking to heal your PCOS root cause(s) in order to feel better in your body, manage your weight, boost fertility, and increase energy levels, this episode is for you! Let’s explore some essential insights and practical snack hacks that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle even with a busy schedule. 

By tuning in to this episode, you’ll learn the role of meals and snacks, how to not be caught unprepared when the need for a healthy snack arises. Click play now and let’s get started!

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

Snack time can be a big derailer for PCOS Health. In today’s episode, we are going to go through how to choose healthy snacks, how to have things available for you so that on the go, you’re able to easily, quickly, deliciously, and nutritious, enjoy snacks that are helping your PCOS hormones heal and to improve your PCOS symptoms. Let’s get started.

You’re listening to the PCOS repair podcast where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek, and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS repair podcast where today we’re going to be talking about PCOS healthy snacks. Snacks are something that are so easy to have derail our PCOS health. They typically come in packages. They’re things that we grab on the go. They’re often things that we have very little part in what is in them, as in we didn’t cook them in our own kitchen. We just simply bought them and they sit in our pantry, or we bought them on the go, or we ate them because they were available and in front of us. Whatever the way that you normally get your snacks, they are something that can be a big pitfall in our PCOS health. I don’t want you going to all the work of making yourself a healthy breakfast, packing yourself a healthy lunch, and then coming home and putting in the effort to make yourself a healthy dinner just to have snacks derail all of your good efforts.

First of all, let’s talk about and define and put some parameters of how do we actually want snacks to fit into our PCOS health. First of all, it’s really important to recognize that they are optional and typically not needed. If you are getting a good, solid, protein-rich breakfast and then you have a healthy, vegetable and protein-packed lunch, and then you know you’re going to have a dinner at home, most of the time we don’t need snacks. Now, if you’re used to eating frequently, like every 2-4 hours and you’re used to snacking on candy or things that are at the office, it may be a big transition to eat something before leaving the house and then waiting all the way until your lunch break or perhaps sometimes you don’t get a lunch break. These are all things where sometimes snacks are a really good way to balance out when you’re eating and so forth. But first of all, I want to point out that they are optional. I do find that people need them either certain times during their cycle more than others, or also that they need them as they’re transitioning into learning how to use different forms of energy. If you’ve been having very high sugar or highly processed foods, your body is used to very quick and available blood sugar. So if we eat crackers or if we eat some packaged snack like a granola bar or something like that, our body can very quickly take that food and turn it into glucose, meaning that our body is able to get energy really quick and doesn’t have to work very hard for it, but it crashes soon after.

So it conditions us to eat again in the near future. Consequently, if we have protein, we don’t get a quick sugar high. We get a little bit released at a time over a longer period of several hours instead of several minutes. This change in how we’re eating can make us feel really low in our energy. Therefore, we’re not necessarily feeling hungry, but low energy, and we feel like we need a snack to boost our energy backup. There’s a transition sometimes in how we eat where we may want to include snacks. In today’s episode, I want to start out by laying that premise that you may or may not actually need snacks, but you want to have ones that are going to continue to nourish your PCOS hormones and not derail the other hard work that you’re doing if and when you do need one but I don’t want to mislead you thinking that snacks are necessary. I know when I was probably high school, that era of nutrition really pushed the eat frequently in small amounts. That is less so the case as we move more towards a high protein, lower refined carbohydrate. I’m not at all about banning carbs, but we want to reduce that processed, easy to digest, and give a sharp blood glucose spike.

Those are the things that we want to reduce and focus on things that are going to sustain us for longer. Second, it’s really important to plan out and know what your snack options are ahead of time. We’re going to talk about exactly some snack ideas and get your juices flowing onto what you would actually want to snack on but we need to have things readily available. What we don’t want to do, though, is plan our snacks instead of our meals. A meal typically when we’re planning out healthy meals, is going to be a lot more nutritious than a snack. For example, maybe a snack you’re going to have some fruit with some nuts or some fruit with a the spoon full of nut butter. So sometimes I like to have an apple with a little bit of peanut butter or almond butter and usually I try to have half an apple because the apple has a fairly high sugar spike, whereas the protein and the fat in the nut butter helps to combat that. However, I want to point out that the apple with the nut butter is not going to be as nutritious as a variety of greens in a big salad with lots of vegetables, maybe some pumpkin seeds or other types of nuts, a well-chosen dressing that has lots of good fats like avocado oil or olive oil, as well as some protein like some chicken or salmon on it or even some steak strips.

This is going to be so much more nutritious, so much more protein, so much more filling. It’s going to leave you satisfied for a lot longer and so my point is that even if you feel like your appetite is rather small, the nutritiousness of a meal, quote, meal is going to be so much more than what we conventionally think of when we think of a snack. So how does that fit into your schedule? As you’re thinking out what you’re going to eat for the week, try to actually eat at least two solid meals with maybe a snack or ideally three meals. Now, if you’re following more of a time-restricted eating window, you may only have two bigger meals as compared to three medium-sized meals. That’s all up to you but the point being is plan meals and then use snacks as an addition if you couldn’t quite make it from meal to meal or your meal got bumped back a little bit because life happened. Snacks are also a great way to combat that craving strike that might hit if you’re someone who gets an energy slump around 3:00 in the afternoon. Again, first, I want you to look back to what did you have for lunch.

Was your lunch as good as it could have been? Or is that why you’re needing a snack? Now, again, life happens. Sometimes we don’t have time to pack wonderful lunch, and we had something that wasn’t as optimal. Then we need to have a snack available. Ideally, we planned ahead with our snacks or have things that are a good option available to us. We don’t further derail ourselves by also having a less than ideal snack. The three in the afternoon is a common time where people will get that energy slump. Having things like nuts in your drawer at work, that’s a great way to eat a handful of nuts. Now, remember, nuts are very energy dense, meaning they’re higher in calories. A little goes a long way, they’re not going to fill up the space in your tummy, so you’re not going to feel stuffed. However, they will satisfy you if you just give them a few minutes. Eat a couple, drink some water, give it some time, your energy will start to come up. Your hunger and cravings will start to die away and you’re good to go about your afternoon. But I think it’s important to realize that planning ahead, having those nuts available, having fruit and nuts available, having something like a cheese stick available, and we’ll get into more options as well.

But having something that’s easily available for you so that if and when you need it, you have it but that is also okay if you don’t eat it. When we think about actual snack ideas, there’s a couple of categories that I like to make sure that we cover. One is non-perishable, easy to have stored in various places as quote, emergency snacks. These are snacks that are going to be something where you accidentally work through lunch. Not maybe accidentally, but we’re at, unforeseeably had to work through lunch. Something happened to where you forgot your lunch at home and you’re like, instead of going out and buying something that’s not going to be great. I’m just going to have a small snack and then eat sooner when I get home as compared to later and you just adjust throughout the day. Non-perishable, healthy snacks are one of the hardest things to come by. I have found some small packages of olive, lots of different flavors, kinds of olive. They’re salty, they’re savory. They have really great fat in them. They’re very low process. You’ll look and see what’s on them. Sometimes they’re marinated or have been packaged in such a way where they’ve added some less than ideal ingredients.

But for the most part, packaged Olives are going to be a really great one. I forget which brand, but I was just at the grocery store the other day and they had almost like small cups, like those little plastic cups of fruit, but they had them with Olives. That’s a fun one. They are sealed, they are preserved, they’re an individual serving sizes. That would be something that you could have stored in your desk at work, in your pantry without having to have something fresh and perishable always on hand. Another great one is nuts, any nuts, you can mix nuts, things like that. Ones that you want to stay away from that I think oftentimes get mixed with your nuts are dried fruit. Dried fruit is rarely just fruit. Usually, it has quite a bit of added sugar as well as when you dry a fruit, you already condensed down the sugar of the fruit itself. Where before, if you ate maybe a handful of cherries, a handful of cherries would take you quite a while to eat. You would sit and eat them very slowly. They’d be filled with a lot of water. You have to deal with the pits.

Maybe you would eat 8-10 of them. Eight to 10 dried cherries you can eat almost in one bite. They have no water left in them, and they have just as much sugar as they did before and the velocity, the quickness of how that will hit your bloodstream with blood sugar is exponentially more powerful. So dried fruit, not that you can never have it, but don’t think of it as a healthy snack. Fruit in general can be a little bit unfortunate when it comes to PCOS hormones. Fruit is amazing, and I think that we should all eat lots of different kinds of fruit, huge variety. It’s going to have all your nutrients, your antioxidants, all sorts of wonderful things but if we’re eating fruit without anything else, we are giving our bodies quite a glucose high, and we’re setting ourselves up for glucose drop, which is going to drastically lower our energy after about an hour. It’s going to drastically increase how much we want to eat again, and it’s going to give us that insulin effect that we don’t want. So having fruit by itself is not my favorite. I like to mix it with nuts, with cheese, with yogurt, something where you’re getting some degree of fats and proteins along with it and I like to pair it so that there’s less fruit than there is the other. All right, so then as far as things that are more perishable, of course, we talked about including fruits and cheeses and yogurt. You always want to stick with yogurt that is high in protein and low in sugar. Ideally like a plain yogurt, the less processed, less added things, the better. Also, veggies are a really good one. This is a really great place to get your veggies in. You can have hummus or you can make some vegetable dip that has a good amount of healthy and fats in it, lots of conditioning so that it makes your vegetables really yummy. A hard boiled egg is an amazing snack. It may not be something that you are super excited about because it’s boring. If you bring hard boiled eggs, you can peel them before. I used to do this when I had to commute to work, and so I was out of the house about 10-12 hours a day. I used to have baggies with 2-3 already peeled hard boiled egg. I would just get up in the morning and I would peel them while I was drinking some coffee and talking to my husband.

I would just put some baggies of boiled eggs together. I didn’t want to mess with the shells while I was on the road or while I was at work. I would just have some eggs ready to go. Yes, they’re not super delicious or exciting. They’re very good, but they’re not exciting. Veggies and hummus to me seems a lot more interesting but those eggs, there was no hunger, there was no cravings. I felt great. There’s definitely a place for just getting something to make you feel good and to give you the energy that you want to run on the rest of the day. You can make some homemade energy balls. Just be careful. A lot of the recipes out there call for a lot of maple syrup or they’re made with a base of dates or raisins. Again, dates are dried fruit, but they’re dried fruit that have so much more sugar than other dried fruits. Think of anything with dates in it as a dessert. Not that you can’t have it, but think of it as a dessert. You could make egg muffins. You can make all sorts of things that you could make ahead of time that would allow you to have something portable that you can take with you for a snack.

I also love pickles, I like string cheese, I do have a couple of protein shakes that I like, I’ll put them in the comments. They’re one that my husband has found and liked that are sweetened with monk fruit. They do have whey in them. If you’re trying to stay away from dairy, these wouldn’t be great, but those that they can be okay. Protein bars, be careful. They’re so processed and so much added stuff to them. Even if they’re a pretty good amount of protein, just be aware that they’re very processed. A lot of inflammatory ingredients in those and so use them as a last resort, not something that you do on a daily basis. But again, I think it’s really important to look at what would you have done instead. Would this have led to you eating too much cake at a coworker’s birthday party because you were too hungry and set yourself up for disaster versus you ate a slightly less than ideal protein bar? We always have to weigh the what are we helping ourselves avoid? What are we trying to do? and look at the practical here as well. But I don’t want to make it sound like protein bars are a free for all. They’re great for you, they are very processed, very full of additives and preservatives and things that are not going to be hormone-friendly and they typically… There are some that have some pretty good protein amount in them, but typically their protein-to-carb ratio isn’t amazing, especially if they have any added sugar or sweetener that has calories in it, they’re really not going to be all that great and the ones that don’t have sweeteners or the ones that have sweeteners that don’t have calories in them, they typically can be a little bit upsetting to our stomachs and we want to again limit how much of that we’re getting. Just tread lightly with those ones. Okay, so as you can see as we wrap up today, snacks and planning ahead and having a list of snacks that you really enjoy is very important. As you discover how your body relates to things, you’re going to find which ones do the best for you. You don’t need a huge variety, but you are looking for things that you can have readily on hand in case you need them.

Ideally, if you’re finding that you need snacks frequently, take a look back and see what is going on with your meals, do you need to eat more at a meal? Is it that the snacks are more interesting to you? Because honestly, I think that even though it’s all-natural, no sugar-added peanut butter, that apples and peanut butter are definitely more tempting than a green salad sometimes with protein on it. However, when I eat the salad with the protein on it, I feel so much better throughout the day. I last without cravings, with better energy. I just don’t have to think about food all the time and so if you’re constantly needing a snack, reevaluate what are you choosing for your meals? Are you eating enough of your meals? And what’s going on with why you’re choosing what you’re choosing? Because sometimes we just have to be like, Okay, look, I need to eat to fuel and nourish my body and then find times where I also eat for enjoyment. But the number one thing is because I want to feel good after the meal, right? We also want to enjoy what we’re eating. So make your salad good. I’ve been having some really good salads this summer because everything is fresh and in season and I’ve really been enjoying them.

However, I never feel like making them. It’s almost like I need someone to make them for me and then I can sit down and enjoy it. But that’s not practical. I’m an adult. I need to make my own salads. But when I do make them, I really enjoy them. However, there is a hurdle. It’s so much easier just to grab an apple and a spoon full of peanut butter. You might have to unpack that a little bit and see where is it that you’re getting hung up. But ultimately, know what snacks you have available, know why you’re having them, have them when you need them, focus on your meals. Snacks don’t have to be super elaborate. They can be leftovers too. You could just bring a small amount of whatever you had from a previous meal. It could just be some meat that you have left over. It could just be some steamed veggies that you eat cold. Steamed veggies, cold are actually really good and that way you’re getting some more of your actual meal, even if you need to space it out because you don’t feel good if you eat too much at a meal. Lots of different ways that we can look at how we approach each snacks. We don’t need to make it overly complicated. We want to try to stay away from the overly processed, ready-made snacks that we can get at the grocery store.

And until next time, I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite PCOS nourishing snacks? Send me a DM over on Instagram. You can find me @Nourishedtohealthy. I look forward to hearing from you over there. Until next time, bye for now.

Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves. This is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started. My PCOS Fertility Meal Guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.

Take The PCOS Root Cause Quiz

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Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now