Breastfeeding Snacks That Give You Energy
Are you always reaching for a snack while you’re breastfeeding? Do you get extra hungry at night while nursing your baby? That’s totally normal, mama! Healthy breastfeeding snacks can really come in handy when you are using so much energy to make the perfect breastmilk and nutrition for your baby.
Why You Need Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks
First, let’s talk about how your breastmilk is made so you can better understand why healthy breastfeeding snacks are so important.
Your breast milk is the perfect food for your baby no matter what you eat! The foods you eat are broken down in your body and those nutrients are used to make your breastmilk. A healthy diet consisting of whole foods is the best source of lactogenic foods to increase milk supply. These foods include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, and wild-caught fish, which are all ideal as you recover from delivering your baby.
Proper nutrition and adequate water intake will help ensure a speedy and healthy recovery in your postpartum phase as well as provide the best possible milk composition for your baby’s needs. You can read more about postpartum recovery in my post here 10 Tips for Healing Your Body After a Baby.
The reality is that newborns require attention around the clock. You will be sleep deprived in the first few weeks, which means it’s more important than ever to fuel your body with real food that will give you the energy you will need. Whether you bottle feed or exclusively breastfeed, your infant will require nourishment even at night!
Calories to Make Breastmilk
Imagine your body like a machine making milk–it takes energy to make it, just like it does to run a machine. It takes approximately 250 to 500 calories each day for you to make breast milk for your baby. That number depends on how often you’re breastfeeding your baby. So if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, then certainly that number is more like 500 calories per day. If you’re just doing partial breastfeeding, maybe it’s about 300 calories and if you’re nursing occasionally it’s likely in the 250 calorie range.
Now you can see why you need to sustain your body with healthy, real foods! This allows you to provide the best possible nutrients in your breastmilk and continue to nourish your own body. Even if you’re not able to have a healthy diet 100% of the time, it’s still helpful to include healthy foods in your diet with key nutrients like Omega 3 so that you’re able to continue to nourish yourself, especially in the postpartum period.
Look for Key Nutrients in Your Breastfeeding Snacks
Try to add extra vegetables to one or two of your meals per day. That will really help increase the number of nutrients you’re getting. I also like to remind mamas to aim for as little added sugar as possible in the snacks that they’re eating. So try to stick to more natural sugars.
So fruit, for example, is a healthy snack that you can munch on. It contains a lot of fiber and other nutrients your body can process and use as energy. It is a “smart carb” so to speak. If you pair it with protein and healthy fat like almonds or a slice of cheese, it can help sustain you for even longer. Proteins and fats, in general, will help sustain your energy as well. So aim for as little “added sugar” or simple sugars as possible. Check the ingredients on the back if you’re eating something that’s in a package.
If it’s not in the package, then it’s likely a raw whole food, and it’s closest to nature which is a good thing! That breastfeeding snack is your best option. When I had my son, I craved fruit. So my husband was always supportive during this time, thankfully. He would venture to the grocery store and buy me those nice little packages of precut fruit. I loved eating those, as well as nuts. I ate a lot of nuts as well. Make sure you drink a lot of water, otherwise they could constipate you. Hydration with quality water is really important.
So in summary, look for these key nutrients in your breastfeeding snacks:
- Healthy Fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6
- Complex carbohydrates
- Vitamin K
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Essential amino acids found in whole grains and animal proteins
Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks
- Beef sticks or beef jerky – Check the ingredients for fillers or preservatives, or other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Larissa’s Kitchen is a good brand and they sell grass-fed beef sticks in a few different flavors. These are also toddler approved!
- Lara Bars or any sort of whole food protein/snack bar. You can even find some with spirulina like these Rev Bars which is a great superfood.
- Granola with no added sugar, or with minimal maple syrup or honey. Livlo keto granola is a great option. You don’t want a sugar spike and crash, so stick with the brands that are the least processed.
- Raw walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds offer a combination of protein and healthy fats.
- Chia pudding- This is a great option that you can make ahead of time and it will last in the refrigerator a few days. I have a favorite recipe in the Nutrition Mini-Series course here! It’s super easy to make and you can make it make a decent size batch and then it’ll last for a few days. Chia seeds are full of healthy fats and amazing for both you and your baby.
- Overnight oats with fresh fruit- oats are a great source of iron which is needed for ample milk supply.
- Green smoothies with plain yogurt, greens like a handful of spinach, the fruit of your choice (banana and blueberries are my favorite combination), flax seeds, chia seeds, and almond milk. This flax and chia seed blend is a great option!
- Homemade trail mix. This will last longer and it’s a cheaper option for you too. My favorites are macadamia nuts, almonds, coconut pieces, dark chocolate chips, dried cherries or cranberries (with no added sugar), and sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
- Celery and apples with nut butter, peanut butter, or almond butter, whatever your preference is.
Look for These Lactogenic Foods
If you’re looking for additional options, look for lactogenic foods that contain these, or just eat these in their purest form! Oats are one of the best sources because they contain a lot of iron. If your low in iron, which often happens after the birth of a baby, you may see an increase in your supply if you add oats or oat milk to your diet.
- Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Wild salmon
What are your favorite breastfeeding snacks for long-lasting energy? Drop them in the comments below!
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