Breastfeeding and hungry AF? It’s no wonder you’re ravenous, mama; your body is burning a sh*tload of energy to make that sweet, sweet milk.
While chocolate, ice cream, and candy are a tempting sugar hit when you’re freaking exhausted, making smart choices in the snack department can help your recovery and energy levels post-baby, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and even benefit your baby’s development.
So here are 15 of the best bites for breastfeeding mamas. And yes, you can eat all of these one-handed, should you be indulging while doing the deed!
First, let’s chat about what makes a smart breastfeeding snack choice
Experts recommend breastfeeding moms consume as many as 500 additional calories per day to make up for the energy and nutrients they’re converting into milk. Key nutrients you need while breastfeeding include protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, E, B, and C. In addition, upping your intake of nutrients like DHA (which is a form of Omega-3 fatty acid), can help with your recovery postpartum.
So a smart breastfeeding snack choice is one that’s packed with one or more of these nutrients. Luckily, we’ve done the hard thinking for you, and each of the following ideas is heavy on goodness while not compromising on taste.
Snacks that are quiet to eat at 3am
Hunger doesn’t discriminate. You might be starving at 3pm or 3am. But you don’t want to distract your suckling babe with the sound of crunching in the wee hours of the morning…
1. Fresh strawberries
They’re high in vitamin c (win), and damn delicious. Serve them with ricotta or yogurt for added calcium.
2. Snack balls
You can pack these babies full o’ nutrients. This easy recipe requires no baking and includes peanut butter for a protein hit.
Snacks that are as hydrating as they are nutritious
Staying hydrated will help your body create milk – some foods actually contain high water content, so can contribute to your hydration needs.
3. Cucumber sticks with hummus
Cucumber is so easy to chop up into snacking sticks. Dip it in hummus for added protein. Hummus is brimming with protein (tick), and cucumber is packed with water – double the win.
4. Celery sticks with peanut butter
Celery is literally 95% water. On its own, it’s nothing special but add some PB into the mix and you’ve got yourself a treat.
Snacks you can pack into any purse (or diaper bag)
Remember what we said about being hungry at any time of the day? Take your snacks to go to avoid any ‘hangry’ incidents…
5. Dried apricots
These are another source of vitamin c and are thought to increase prolactin (the hormone that tells your body to produce breastmilk). Sign us up.
6. Nut mix
Nuts are a fabulous source of healthy fats and protein (as well as antioxidants, and fiber). So much to love.
Rich in calcium and also thought to increase prolactin, fill these puppies up with nut butter (oh hey, protein) and you’ve got yourself an indulgent snack.
Snacks that are ultra-fresh
Having a babe on you 24/7 can be sweaty business. Even more so if it’s summer. So fresh-outta-the-fridge snacks can help keep you chill.
8. Green smoothie
So delicious, so summery, and so full of goodness. Try this recipe which includes spinach and kale, for a hit of iron.
9. Green peppers with ranch dressing
Green peppers are high in vitamin c, and easy to slice up and munch on throughout the day. Dip in ranch dressing for a bit of tang!
10. Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs are a protein powerhouse and a source of DHA. Doubly good! Serve hard-boiled (for ease of consumption) and dipped in a fancy salt (like this one) for added flavor.
11. Apple slices with nut butter
Apple slices are a classic snack on their own. But serve with a side of nut butter, and you’ve got a taste sensation and an extra hit of protein.
Snacks for when you’re really starving
Is no snack satisfying your hunger? Time to crack out the big guns: whole grains. Combine them with proteins and fats to help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
12. Smoked salmon with cream cheese on toast
Smoked salmon is loaded with DHA. Pile it onto some toasted whole wheat bread with a smearing of cream cheese for a damn good snack.
13. Peanut butter and banana on toast
Peanut butter and banana is a grade-A flavor combination that delivers you nutrients like protein, fiber, and vitamin c. Serve on whole-wheat bread, and drizzle with honey.
Snacks for when you want to give your partner something to do
Post-partum can be an isolating time for your partner. Get them involved in the experience by asking them to make you some snacks.
14. Granola bars
This five-ingredient recipe – which includes peanut butter, dates, almonds, rolled oats, and dried fruit – is a hit-list of healthy goodness.
15. Sweet potato chips
Sweet potatoes are full of iron, calcium, vitamin c, and while you can make your own (this recipe is easy and tasty) chips at home, you can also buy tasty AF pre-made options too (like these yummy ones).
Happy snacking, mama – you deserve it!