Feel Out Of Control Around Food? Here’s Why | The PNW Clinic

Most people can think of a time they tried a meal so delicious, they ate a second serving. Perhaps they were tempted with a third even though they felt full.

Or when you attend a family event where your grandmother has made a nostalgic dish – you may feel like you could eat the whole platter!

Eating multiple servings or a large portion of a meal or snack on occasion is normal and something most people do. 

However, some people may feel that they cannot control how much they eat in one sitting and are unable to stop eating.

In other circumstances, some people find they feel that they cannot say no when near or offered food. This may lead to them eating more than what feels comfortable in their body.


Reasons You Feel Out Of Control Around Food

There are many reasons why someone may feel out of control around food. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons:


Restrictive eating

Restricting and dieting can cause obsessive thoughts about food (1). The “binge-restrict” cycle is something many people fall into when eating ‘clean’ or ‘being good’ becomes the focus of their dietary choices (2) 

Some healthcare professionals use the analogy of a pendulum to explain the binge-restrict cycle. At one end is extreme restriction and the other is extreme overeating. The pendulum (eating habits) wants to balance in the middle when left to its natural state (2). 

Restriction can include limiting how much food you eat, what foods you allow yourself to eat, and/or when you eat.

Restrictive eating patterns or behaviours may look like following an extremely low-energy diet or struggling with an eating disorder.

The loss of control, overeating or binging that occurs alongside restrictive eating is sometimes perceived as lack of willpower. Regardless of ‘willpower’, their body will fight against the restriction by ‘losing control’ around food at some point. This is the body trying to protect itself against starvation.

 Social media and diet culture may also encourage feelings of guilt and shame after breaking food rules and ‘losing control’ (e.g. cheat days or meals).

Feelings of guilt cause individuals to restrict more to compensate for any rule breaking, leading to further binging in the future (1).

This cycle and/or restrictive behaviours can increase the risk of developing an eating disorder like binge eating disorder (BED) (1, 3).


All-or-nothing thinking

Linked to the binge-restrict cycle is all-or-nothing thinking and behaviours.

One half of this thinking is being committed to one behaviour, while the other half is the complete opposite. When related to food, it can look like either following a strict ‘healthy’ diet or having no control around diet at all (4) 

If someone breaks their ‘good’ behaviour they may feel like they have failed so may as well continue before resetting.

For example, someone may decide to stop eating ice-cream entirely as part of a ‘healthy’ diet:

Their favourite ice-cream is on special at the supermarket.

After restricting for some time they buy a large tub of ice-cream and eat the whole thing to the point of discomfort. 


girl eating a tub of ice cream


Food rules

There are many different food rules. Some common rules are:

  • Eliminating particular foods or food groups from the diet.
  • Only eating at certain times or in certain places.
  • Consuming a set amount of food/a particular food.
  • Categorisng some foods as ‘good’ and others as ‘bad’


Often, food rules are made when people are following a particular diet or trying to make a ‘healthy’ change.

Like with restrictive eating patterns, enforcing food rules can lead to obsessive thoughts about these foods. This can lead to feeling out of control around them when they are available (5, 6).


Emotional eating

Food can be more than just a source of energy; it is part of socialising, celebrating and can be comforting in difficult times for some people.

Uncontrollable eating may be used as a coping mechanism to deal with uncomfortable feelings.

For example, the feeling of being out of control around food may be triggered by feelings like sadness, anger, or being overwhelmed.

Food and eating can cause physiological responses that increase happiness (7)



Similar to emotional eating, feeling stressed can trigger someone to eat larger than comfortable amounts of food. In this instance, food may be used as a way of coping with the feeling.

This is due to a hormonal response to high levels of cortisol in the body; cortisol is released as part of the fight-or-flight stress response. This spike in cortisol can cause increased motivation including motivation to eat (8).  


girl with her hands on her head, stressed


Not eating enough during the day

In the same way that intentional restrictive behaviours can cause bingeing, unintentional restriction can do the same. 

Unintentional restriction during the day often occurs to busy and time-poor people who struggle to find time in their schedule to eat regular meals and snacks.

If you do not eat enough as the day goes on, you may find that you experience a lack of control around food when arriving home at dinner time. This is your body’s reaction to being unintentionally put in starvation mode when you haven’t eaten enough during the day.


Poorly planned meals

While you may be eating meals or snacking throughout the day, only eating certain foods will not satisfy your body’s nutrient needs. This may lead to overconsumption later.

For example, insufficient protein intake will leave the body feeling unsatiated and cause cravings or feelings of uncontrollable bingeing if ongoing. 


Taking back control

Relationships with food are personal and unique but feeling out of control around food is often the result of not eating enough/restrictive behaviour around food and uncomfortable emotions. 

To take control of feelings around food, it is important to identify the reason why you may feel out of control.


Managing emotions and stress:

If your food behaviours are influenced by uncomfortable emotions, it may be helpful to discuss these feelings with a healthcare professional.

Working with a dietitian and/or psychologist can support your relationship with food. They may provide advice on how to gain control of the emotions you experience and other ways of coping with them that are not food related.

Other coping mechanisms that do not revolve around food include going for a walk, reaching out to a support person, or building distress tolerance. Keeping a food and mood diary can also be helpful in helping you reflect on how your emotions and eating behaviours are related.


girl journalling in a food and mood diary


Gaining food freedom

The online dietitians at the PNW Clinic can provide strategies and support to help remove food rules and restrictions that are not supporting your health from your diet. 

Some actions that may be helpful include:

  • Identify your food rules by writing a list. Having any rules written down will help clear your mind and make them less overwhelming to tackle.
  • Make small changes, one at a time. Totally changing your diet can be overwhelming and make changes harder to stick to.
  • Use positive language around food. Rather than labelling some foods as ‘bad’, ‘unhealthy’ or ‘junk’, think of how including a range of foods in your diet is part of ‘balance’ and it is okay to enjoy different foods. Another mindset that may be helpful is considering how different foods are ‘nourishing’ to your body and support long-term health.


For the busy-bee:

If you find you are time-poor and this is why you often miss out on meal time or snacks, there are many ways to make time in your day to eat.

Setting an alarm on your phone is an easy way to remind yourself to take a lunch break. An alternative to this is having a time blocked in your calendar every day to create a period where you have no other commitments. 

Setting up meal time with someone else can hold you accountable for taking a break. For example, you might make arrangements to have lunch with a colleague at the same time each day.

Another tip for busy people is to meal-prep or cook large portions. This way you always have something ready-made and easy to grab when you are on the go.

This could be cooking extra dinner to eat as leftovers the next day, or spending time on a particular day each week prepping ingredients to be easily put in a container.


Knowledge is power

Working with a dietitian like our team at the PNW Clinic can also be helpful if you need inspiration for meals and snacks that will nourish your body.

A dietitian can create a meal plan with foods that support your health and will leave you feeling satisfied. They can also provide information and resources to empower you to build satisfying and nourishing meals yourself.


a dietitian can help you learn how to build nutritionally balanced meals



Eating more than you feel like you should or feels good in your body is something many people struggle with.

Feeling out of control around food can be caused by many things. Most have the core theme of food as a way to cope with difficult emotions or not eating enough and/or the right foods to satisfy your body’s needs.

Each individual’s relationship is unique. Identifying the cause of your food behaviours is the first step in working on feeling more free around food.

Strategies for regaining a sense of control can vary depending on why you feel out of control to begin with.

Healthcare professionals can provide support and guidance if you are looking to work on your relationship with food.

The PNW Clinic’s online dietitians offer free 15-minute discovery calls. These are a great place to start if you would like to find out if a dietitian is the right person to support you.




Written by: Student dietitian Lilee Lunney

Reviewed by: PNW dietitian Jade Wrigley

What Nutrients Are Missing on a Low FODMAP Plant-Based or Vegan Diet? | The PNW Clinic

Low FODMAP diets have gained popularity in recent years, particularly among individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive issues. The low FODMAP diet aims to reduce the consumption of specific carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that can trigger digestive symptoms.

When on a plant-based diet, it can be common to miss certain nutrients while eating low FODMAP foods. This article will discuss what nutrients you may be missing out on and strategies to ensure you are meeting your requirements when following a low FODMAP plant-based diet.

Introduction to the FODMAP diet

The low FODMAP diet was created by Monash University as a therapeutic intervention to
help those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)(1).


What are FODMAPs?

They are a diverse group of carbohydrates that can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine causing some people discomfort (2).

As these specific carbohydrates are not efficiently digested by the body, they instead accumulate in the large intestine resulting in one of two pathways:

  • Some FODMAPs attract water into the intestine, potentially leading to diarrhoea or increased pressure within the gut, resulting in bloating or discomfort (2).
  • FODMAPs can also be fermented by the bacteria living in our gut, generating gas as a by-product. While this process is considered normal, those with IBS may experience symptoms such as bloating, excessive gas, or discomfort.

FODMAPs stand for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols which can be found in various foods. They include:

  • Oligosaccharides (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)): wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes and nuts.
  • Disaccharides (lactose): dairy – milk, cheese, cream.
  • Monosaccharides (fructose): honey, certain fruits and vegetables – apples, pears, mango, sugar snap peas.
  • Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol): artificial sweeteners, stone fruits, mushrooms (2)


lactose is a type of fodmap



How is the low FODMAP diet implemented?

After all first-line strategies have been investigated, it may be recommended for you to follow a low FODMAP diet. This diet is strongly recommended to be supervised by a qualified dietitian specialising in gut health due to its level of restriction.

Low FODMAP diets have three main stages:

  • Stage 1: Elimination stage- a 2-to-6-week period of restriction where high FODMAP foods are eliminated in the diet (3).
  • Stage 2: Re-introduction – FODMAPs are gradually reintroduced and challenged. This helps to identify which FODMAPs you are sensitive to (3).
  • Stage 3: Personalisation – Using the results from stage 2, your diet is personalised using a mix of low FODMAP and high FODMAP foods that don’t cause you symptoms (3).

As this diet restricts a number of foods, food choices can already feel quite limiting. On top of this, following a low FODMAP diet while maintaining a vegan or plant-based lifestyle can feel even more challenging.

While vegans omit all animal products, there can be a reliance on many high-FODMAP foods for many nutritional needs e.g. legumes for protein, wholegrains for carbohydrates, certain fruits and vegetables for key vitamins and minerals.

However, with careful planning and information of suitable alternatives, it is possible to maintain good vegan nutrition while on a low FODMAP diet.


Nutrients at risk on a low FODMAP diet

While a low FODMAP diet can be beneficial for symptom management, it’s important to be aware of potential nutrient deficiencies as a result of the restriction of certain foods.

Here are some nutrients that may be at risk on a low FODMAP diet:


Fibre is crucial for maintaining digestive health, regulating bowel movements, and supporting a healthy gut microbiome. FODMAPS are a type of fermentable fibre that can contribute to digestive symptoms.

By eliminating all high FODMAP foods, some people may unintentionally lower their overall fibre intake (4).



Iron is essential for oxygen transport and plays a vital role in energy production and immune function. As there is restriction of many iron-rich carbohydrates such as wholegrains and legumes, there are limited options and therefore increase risk of deficiency (5).


legumes are a great source of plant-based iron



Calcium is essential for bone health, muscle function and nerve transmission. As calcium is commonly found in dairy products that are high in FODMAPS, those following a low FODMAP diet may be at risk of calcium deficiency (4).



Zinc is essential for growth, development and immune health. Foods high in zinc include legumes, nuts and seeds. During stage 1 of the low FODMAP, many of these foods must be eliminated, meaning zinc can be harder to get enough of through the diet (6).


B Vitamins

Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B9, B12 are responsible for many parts of the body. These roles range from energy production, skin and eye health, cell production to red blood cell formation and nerve health. As these vitamins are found in many wholegrains, it can be
harder to meet the recommended requirements when on a low FODMAP diet (7).


Nutrients at risk on a plant-based/vegan diet

While there are increased risks of varying nutrients when on a low FODMAP diet, there are also nutrients to consider when following a plant-based diet. Here are some of the nutrients that may be at risk when on a vegan diet:


Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart and brain health. There are plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts that provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

However, conversion of ALA to the more bioavailable form EPA and DHA, is limited. This can in turn, make it harder for vegans to meet their omega-3 requirements.


walnuts contain plant-based omega 3


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous system, supporting red blood cell production, and facilitating DNA synthesis. As vitamin B12 is primarily present in animal-based foods and not naturally occurring in any plant-based foods, it can be a concern for those following a vegan or plant-based diet.

While some plant-based foods are fortified with B12, it is common for many vegans to supplement this vitamin as they cannot meet their requirements with a food only approach (7).



As previously mentioned, iron is essential for transporting oxygen to tissues and cells.
Plant-based sources of iron (non-haeme) may be less readily absorbed by the body compared to the iron found in animal products (haeme).

For this reason, those following a plant-based diet need 1.8 times the recommended intake than those consuming animal-based foods like red meat making it more difficult to consume enough regularly (7).



Calcium is most readily available in dairy products. When following a plant-based diet, it can be harder to meet requirements from naturally occurring sources.

This can be a concern as calcium intake is already a struggle for many on a low FODMAP diet without the addition of a plant-based dietary approach.

Luckily, there are many fortified dairy alternatives for vegans to choose from. However as this is not an industry standard, it can be difficult to get enough calcium if not consuming fortified options (8).



If you follow a vegan or plant-based diet, you’ve probably heard that vegans may struggle to get enough protein. While it is entirely possible to consume adequate protein, it can still require some thought and planning (9).

When on a low FODMAP and vegan diet, many plant-based sources of protein aren’t an option. Foods such as legumes and beans are considered high FODMAP and shouldn’t be consumed in the elimination stage.

This can present a challenge for many vegans to meet their protein requirements.


tofu is low fodmap plant-based

Tips on following low-FODMAP diet on a plant-based or vegan diet

Following a low FODMAP plant-based diet can be challenging. As previously mentioned, it can be harder to meet all your nutrient requirements.

To get you started, here are our top tips on how to stay on top of your vegan nutrition when following a low FODMAP diet:


Identify your low FODMAP foods

Having a list of foods you know are low FODMAP can help you plan your meals and increase the diversity in your recipes.

Here is a summary of some low FODMAP plant-based foods as listed by Monash University:

  • Fruits- Pineapple, orange, mandarin, rockmelon, green kiwi fruits, firm banana
  • Vegetables – eggplant, green beans, bok choy, green capsicum, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, potato, zucchini.
  • Grains – oats, quinoa, rice, wheat/rye free breads, low FODMAP bread from Bakers Delight
  • Dairy alternatives – soy milk (made from soy protein), almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk
  • Protein sources – firm tofu, tempeh, edamame, canned lentils (1/4 cup)
  • Nuts and seeds – macadamias, peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds.
  • Sugars and sweeteners- dark chocolate, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, table sugar (1)

For more information, you can download the Monash University FODMAP Diet app here for access to their database.

Prioritise protein

Protein is important for the maintenance of our tissues and our immune function.

When building a meal, ensure you’re including a good source of protein to help meet your requirements and to support muscle and immune health. This could include tofu, tempeh, edamame or low FODMAP nuts/seeds such as hemp seeds, peanuts and walnuts.


Eat enough fibre

As previously mentioned, fibre is important for a healthy digestive system. Include low FODMAP fruits, vegetables, seeds, and gluten-free wholegrains during mealtimes and snacks to ensure you’re meeting your requirements and supporting your gut


citrus fruit is low fodmap


Look for fortified low FODMAP plant-based alternatives

As it can be more challenging to meet all nutrition needs, opting for fortified options can be a practical way to boost
micronutrient intake. Fortified dairy alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk are an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and sometimes vitamin B12.

Additionally, fortified low FODMAP cereals like gluten-free Weetbix and gluten-free Special K offer a range of vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, folate, as well as essential minerals like potassium and magnesium (10).


Follow a low FODMAP diet for the recommended time

Going on a low FODMAP diet is only temporary and is not recommended to be followed long-term.

The diet is intended to help identify trigger foods and alleviate symptoms. Once these foods have been detected, it’s important to gradually reintroduce the non-triggering high FODMAP foods to avoid developing deficiencies and worsening your gut health.


Work with a health professional

Working with a dietitian specialising in gut health is highly recommended and can be extremely helpful when following a low FODMAP plant-based diet. We will discuss the range of benefits in detail below.

For more tips on following a low FODMAP plant-based diet, check out some of our other
posts related to this topic.



Why is it important to work with plant-based dietitian on a low FODMAP diet?

Working with a healthcare professional, such as an online dietitian from the PNW clinic while following a low FODMAP diet can be beneficial for several reasons. Some of these include:


Maintaining nutritional adequacy

A plant-based dietitian can help maintain a balanced and nutritionally adequate diet while following low FODMAP guidelines.
Dietitians can provide recommendations on how to replace high FODMAP foods with suitable alternatives to ensure you meet your nutrient requirements.


Food variety

Following a low FODMAP diet can be restrictive, particularly when combined with a plant-based or vegan diet. A plant-based dietitian can help expand food choices and suggest different foods and recipes to try.

This can help to overcome palette fatigue and increase satisfaction with meals.


Prevent nutrient deficiencies

As discussed, eliminating certain high FODMAP foods may lead to potential deficiencies in specific nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. A plant-based dietitian can monitor your intake and work with you to maintain a balanced diet while avoiding deficiencies.


prevent deficiencies by working with a low fodmap plant-based dietitian

Managing symptoms

A low FODMAP diet is primarily implemented to alleviate digestive symptoms (bloating, abdominal discomfort, flatulence etc). A dietitian who specialises in gut health can provide individualised advice to manage symptoms while adhering to low FODMAP guidelines.


Personalised approach

Each individual’s dietary needs and tolerances vary. A plant-based dietitian can help tailor the low FODMAP diet to your specific requirements.

Dietitians can take into account your plant-based preferences, potential trigger foods, intolerances, and other dietary considerations. There is also ongoing support with an ability to adjust the diet as needed based on progress and feedback.


Following a low FODMAP plant-based diet can be an effective intervention for managing symptoms associated with conditions like IBS. Working with a healthcare professional, like one of our online dietitians at the PNW clinic, can help you personalise and maintain a nutritionally balanced diet.

If you want to learn more, book in for a free 15-minute discovery call and see how we can help guide you through this journey to avoid nutrient deficiencies while on a low FODMAP diet.



Written by: Student dietitian Leanna Fyffe

Review by: PNW Dietitian Jade Wrigley

Post Pill Nutrition | The PNW Clinic

There are many reasons why people use oral contraception. There are also many reasons why people stop using oral contraception, including to fall pregnant.

Discontinuing the contraceptive pill can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. Sometimes with unwanted or unexpected side effects. A common side effect of the pill is nutrient deficiencies.

In this article, we will break down the important nutrition focuses after coming off the pill.


Nutrients at risk

Research since the 1970’s has shown us that oral contraception affects the metabolism of certain nutrients. In particular, 9 main nutrients depleted by the pill include:



A mineral responsible for thyroid functioning and protecting against cell damage and inflammation. It also plays an important role in reproduction (1). 

Foods high in selenium include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Meat and poultry
  • Eggs



Plays a key role in immunity, growth and development. 

Research since the 60’s has shown that the oral contraceptive pill is associated with lower zinc levels (3).

Zinc can be found in (4, 5):

  • Meat, poultry and eggs
  • Fish- especially oysters
  • Nuts and seeds- pumpkin seeds, cashews and almonds
  • Legumes- lentils, kidney beans, peanuts
  • Wholegrains- quinoa, rice and oats



Magnesium plays many roles in the body including bone mineralisation, immunity and energy production. It is also important in muscle relaxation and sleep. 

Research hypothesises that the risk of blood clots associated with the pill is related to reduced magnesium levels (3). 

Dietary sources of magnesium include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts- almonds, cashews
  • Seeds- pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
  • Dark chocolate


magnesium is a nutrient that can be depleted on the pill


Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and assists collagen formation and iron absorption. 

Research suggests that the oestrogen in oral contraception decreases Vitamin C levels, but deficiency is rare with adequate fruit and vegetable intake.

Foods high in Vitamin C include:

  • Fruits- citrus, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit
  • Vegetables- brussel sprouts, broccoli and green leafy vegetables


Vitamin E:

A group of antioxidants effective in preventing disease and inflammation (7). 

Several studies have found that Vitamin E has a role in improving female fertility and reproductive health.

Vitamin E can be found in foods such as:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds


Riboflavin (Vitamin B2):

A vitamin essential for converting nutrients into energy. Riboflavin is also important for normal cell growth and development (3). 

Vitamin B2 deficiency is common in women of child bearing age and the pill increases risk of deficiency (3).

Foods that contain Vitamin B2 include:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fortified breads and cereals
  • Leafy green vegetables


Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6):

Vitamin B6 is responsible for protein metabolism and conversion into energy.

Pyridoxine levels are lower in those using the pill, and may contribute to the risk of blood clotting associated with the pill (3). 

Maternal Vitamin B6 deficiency is linked to increased pregnancy complications and affects foetal neurological development (3).

Vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as (13):

  • Fish, meat and poultry
  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Potatoes and starchy vegetables
  • Non-citrus fruits



The contraceptive pill has shown to impair folate metabolism, which is critical for DNA synthesis and metabolism. 

It is critical to maintain folate levels in women of child bearing age, particularly as pregnancies may occur when ceasing the pill contraception (10). Folate deficiency is particularly dangerous during pregnancy as it is of utmost importance for cell division and preventing neural tube defects in foetal development. 

Dietary sources of folate include:

  • Bread and wheat flour bread products are fortified with folic acid in Australia (this excludes gluten free and organic options)
  • Green vegetables- asparagus, spinach, brussel sprouts and broccoli
  • Legumes- red kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • Fortified cereals and juices
  • Vegemite


folate is a nutrient that can be depleted on the pill


Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is essential for creating DNA and energy production. 

It is not fully understood how, but blood B12 levels are lower in those on the pill, despite dietary intake (3, 10). 

Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products, however can be fortified into plant based sources.

You can find Vitamin B12 in:

  • Animal meat and fish
  • Eggs and dairy products
  • Fortified cereals, nutritional yeasts, and plant based milks


What to do after coming off the pill

You may notice a variety of symptoms when stopping oral contraception. Everybody is different and will be affected in different ways. Here are some practical tips and recommendations for when you stop taking the pill:


Get a blood test

It is a good idea to get a blood test after coming off the pill. This way you can know which nutrients you are deficient in, if any.

Especially if you are trying to conceive, it is particularly important to check your folate, Vitamin B12, zinc and Vitamin E levels.


make sure you get a blood test after coming off the pill


Start taking supplements

If your blood test shows nutrient deficiencies, it is important to correct these. Supplements can help boost these levels and work to alleviate symptoms.

If you are trying to conceive, it’s strongly encouraged to start taking a prenatal vitamin or consume at least 400µg of folate per day from food folate and fortified foods (12).


Increase foods rich in affected nutrients

Nutrient deficiencies can come with many different symptoms including fatigue, weakness and impaired immunity. It is important to correct these deficiencies for optimal health.

The good news is, you can elevate the affected nutrient levels with the food you eat.

While it may be confusing and overwhelming to know which foods to eat to increase these nutrients levels, it’s helpful to understand that simple whole foods are a great source of nutrients.


Some great tips to focus on include:

  • Enjoying mixed nuts and seeds daily. This can be in the form of salad and toast toppers, or as a handy snack. They provide your body with magnesium, selenium, zinc and Vitamin E
  • Having at least 2 servings of green vegetables a day. Vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach and asparagus are a great source of folate, magnesium and Vitamin C
  • Including a source of wholegrains at each meal can boost your B vitamins, zinc and magnesium levels. Examples include oats, brown rice, quinoa and wholegrain bread.
  • Eating lean protein rich foods at each meal such as lean red meat, poultry, seafood, tofu, legumes and eggs. This can help elevate your zinc, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 levels.


The great thing about focusing on these foods is that they don’t need to be a temporary solution. Incorporating wholegrains, lean protein, vegetables, nuts and seeds is ideal for optimal health and wellbeing.

Working with an online dietitian from The PNW Clinic can help provide guidance and support in ensuring a healthful diet that increases foods rich in affected nutrients.


Consider other birth control if you still need contraception

If you are at chance of falling pregnant unwantedly or unplanned, it may be helpful to consider other contraception options. Speak to your doctor to discuss other options.


Track periods

It can be useful to track your menstrual cycle after ceasing the pill, to ensure regular cycle commences.

For many women, your period can return within one to three months of coming off the pill. It is common for it to be irregular or to experience different period symptoms post pill. This is why tracking your cycle and symptoms can be important to identify any issues of concern.

It is recommended to see your doctor if your period has not returned within three months of stopping the pill (13).


menstrual tracking


Prenatal check up

If you have stopped taking the pill in an effort to try and conceive, it is important to see your GP for a prenatal check up. This is to see if your body is ready for pregnancy or if any issues need to be addressed.


Book in to see an online dietitian from The PNW Clinic

An online dietitian from The PNW Clinic can work with you to assess your nutritional needs and provide strategies to address these. The PNW Clinic can develop a nutrition plan to boost any nutrient deficiencies associated with the pill.


This may look like:

  • Recommending certain foods to include in your diet to boost a certain or group of nutrients
  • Educating you on how to read food labelling to identify fortified vitamins in foods.
  • Assessing whether supplementation is necessary
  • Implementing strategies to restore hormone balance and encourage return of regular menstrual cycle
  • Supporting your body for healthy conception and pregnancy if you are trying to conceive.



Coming off the pill can be an overwhelming experience with unexpected symptoms.

However, post pill nutrition for optimal health and wellbeing doesn’t need to be complicated!

Getting a blood test and checking your nutrient levels post pill is an important step to determine your nutrition focus. 

Focusing on foods rich in affected nutrients is a key step in ensuring your body is provided with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function.


If you are looking for guidance to support your post pill nutrition or would like to learn more, the team of online dietitians at The PNW Clinic are here to help. Book in a free 15-minute discovery call to see if they are the right fit for you.


Written by: Student dietitian Claudia Torrisi

Reviewed by: PNW Clinic dietitian Jade Wrigley