The PCOS Diet Plan: Make Meals a Priority!

By Hillary Wright, MEd, RD, LDN
Director of Nutritional Counseling
The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF


The following is an excert from Hillary’s new book,“The PCOS Diet Plan” — the first nutrition-based PCOS book written by a registered dietician.  

Make Meals a Priority!

If the desired outcome is for most days to eat pretty well, you have to figure out what you need to do to set the stage for that to happen. If you think of the process of eating well (or in a way you’d like to avoid) as a Domino effect, where the last Domino to fall is “I ate a good meal,” start tracking backward to see what steps need to occur to make that happen:

  • If you want to eat well, you have to have good food choices close at hand.
  • To have those foods as your default choices, you need to make time to prepare your meals and snacks, and pack it if it’s going to work with you.
  • To have food to prepare and pack, you need to budget out some time each week to go to the grocery store, farm stand, or wherever it is you buy food, so that food is available for you (feel free to share this responsibility with a spouse or partner!).
  • To have time available to shop, you need to decide how to plan the rest of your time to prioritize food shopping over the week.

This is the “planning” part that eludes many would-be weight losers, and to make it happen you have to decide this is important. Probably more important than a lot of other things you’ve gotten used to spending your time on. Possibly the most important thing you need to accomplish in your life right now, particularly if part of your plan is pregnancy and time is of the essence.

Most of us know from past experience that if you don’t take time to think about your next meal, and end up trying to plan dinner when you’re starving, the chances of grabbing take out or making boxed mac and cheese are pretty high. That doesn’t mean you have to start cooking elaborate meals every night from scratch though. I’m all for short cuts as long as they result in reasonable choices. But unless you married a chef or are wealthy enough to hire one, you do need to put at least a little elbow grease into planning and preparing meals. Our ancestors, right up to our grandparents and maybe even our parent’s generation, devoted much of their life to figuring out what they were going to eat and how they were going to get it on the table.

Since the beginning of recorded history, food procurement and preparation was a valued life skill passed down from one generation to the next. Think about it: If you have at least some basic cooking skills, someone probably taught you them when you were young. I know for me it was my mother and my grandparents, all of whom could throw together a healthy, balanced meal on a shoestring.

But if no one in your house is cooking, how is the next generation supposed to figure out how to feed themselves when they’re out on their own. Answer? They won’t. They’ll eat out all the time, which is not only more expensive, but likely to continue to feed the ever inflating obesity epidemic. So, if nothing else, consider your efforts to prepare meals ““ at least most of the time ““ as an investment in the next generation!


After 12 years as a nutrition-based educator for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (HVMA), Hillary transitioned to a part-time position at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She is also the founder of New Vision Nutrition in Arlington, Massachusetts — a private nutrition consulting practice that includes nutrition counseling, public speaking, and teaching nutrition to colleges and institutions. 

She is a contributing editor and regular writer for the newsletter “Environmental Nutrition” and is currently working with the Arlington Public Schools on grant-funded programs designed to increase nutrition, education and physical activity in  the community. Hillary’s clinical interests include women’s health and nutritional management of polycycstic overy syndrome (PCOS).