When I was breastfeeding Sofie, I was always hungry. Why? Because women emit anywhere between 425-700 calories per day into their breast milk, which is great for baby but also leaves you feeling depleted and constantly craving food. Take care of yourself and eat smart with nutrient-dense snacks that make your milk healthy while fueling you with a much-needed boost of energy.
If you can make snacks ahead of time (say, on the weekend while someone else cares for the baby), they’ll be on hand for easy grabbing during the week. Here are five ideas:
Nut Butter on Whole-grain Bread
This combination of protein and whole grains really takes the edge off hunger. Nut butters are delicious and come in a variety from peanut to almond to cashew (although avoiding peanut butter may decrease your child’s chances of a peanut allergy). Try these delicious and healthy nut butters — I love the chocolate almond! Toast the bread, spread on the nut butter and top with sliced banana for some extra potassium.
Avocado Drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar
This is one of my favorite snacks anytime. Full of healthy, monounsaturated fats, the avocado is high in fiber and vitamin C. The balsamic vinegar perks it up with just the right bit of tanginess. And it leaves you feeling full. If you have the time, make a BALT (bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich) on whole-grain bread. Yum!
Yogurt with Fruit
Two cups of fruit per day is a general guideline for nursing moms. Apples, bananas, berries and grapes are yogurt-friendly options that also provide necessary vitamins. The yogurt provides the extra calcium you and baby need. Lactating women need 1,000-3,000 mg of calcium per day in order to build baby’s bones and maintain their own supply.
The perfect snack in itself. Sprinkle a little sea salt or a spice like turmeric on the egg for some added flavor (turmeric has the added benefit of naturally reducing inflammation). And don’t be scared of the yolks. Eggs are not the cholesterol-scary food they were once considered to be. Rather, egg yolks are one of the most nutrient- and vitamin-rich foods in the world! Baby’s gonna love that.
Veggies and Dip
Raw vegetables are an easily prepared snack from carrots to celery to peppers. They’re packed with vitamins and are portable for nursing moms on the move. Pair them with a nutrient-dense dip like hummus (from protein-rich chickpeas), salsa, pesto (basil provides iron and vitamin A) or yogurt with chives.