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If you are a breastfeeding mom, chances are you’ve felt “breastfeeding hunger” – aka the intense hunger you get when you are eating for two. If you thought pregnancy cravings were bad, breastfeeding hunger can be a whole other ball game!
Now since the foods that you eat directly give your baby nutrients, it’s important that we eat healthy breastfeeding snacks.
As much as it might be tempting to snack on unhealthy treats, it’s better to go for the healthier, guilt-free foods (although let’s be honest it is nice to treat yourself every once in a while!).
When it comes to lactation snacks, it is important to eat energy giving foods since when you breastfeed, you burn lots of calories. Make sure to regularly eat snacks or small meals to keep your energy levels up!
Here are some quick breastfeeding snacks you can munch on to keep you going throughout the day:
The Best Breastfeeding Snacks
Nuts are a great source of protein. They are ideal breastfeeding snacks since they are portable, handy, filling, and nutritious so you can bring them with you while on the go and grab when you need to fuel up.
In particular, almonds are a great choice for breastfeeding snacks since they contain omega-3 fatty acids which help in brain health and vitamin E, which helps promote faster healing.
They also contain DHA, magnesium, and calcium. Most importantly, almonds also help to increase your milk supply. Aside from snacking on almonds as is, you can also add them to your oatmeal or cereal for that extra (and nutritious) crunch.
Another alternative is almond milk, which is great on your cereal or in smoothies.
Oats contain iron that can help moms, especially during the postpartum period when you are experiencing postpartum bleeding.
They also encourage your body to produce more milk as well as providing fiber and protein.
Another pro to oatmeal as a breastfeeding snack is that it keeps you full for longer. Try to stay away from instant packs of oatmeal that contain a lot of sugar.
Instead, choose cooking oats for example and place healthier options/ toppings like berries, nuts, chia seeds, or flax meal. You can make overnight oats since you can make them ahead of time and take it out when you need a snack.
I try to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day. My favorites are apple cinnamon, or a big bowl with a scoop of peanut butter mixed in with a handful of chocolate chips! But if I’m in a big hurry I’ll just make plain oatmeal with a squirt of maple syrup and it does the trick!
Made of chickpeas, this healthy breastfeeding snack contains loads of folate, iron, B vitamins, and phosphorus. Chickpeas are also great for your milk supply.
If you are a vegan mom, chickpeas are also a good source of plant-based protein and fat.
You can pair this with carrots, celery, cucumber or any kind of veggie sticks for an effortless but super nutritious breastfeeding snack. Some whole grain crackers or bread will also pair well with hummus.
Cookies are a great snack to nibble on while breastfeeding (these lactation cookies are especially great for milk supply). It’s also a good source of energy for mom as well.
This breastfeeding snack is a popular one because who doesn’t like chocolate? The key here is to choose dark chocolate that is low in sugar and contains at least 70% cocoa solids.
Dark chocolate is generally more beneficial than milk chocolate and that’s why it is considered healthier. It has a lot of antioxidants, which are good for your body. Aside from helping to increase your milk supply, it also has a lot of flavonoids, which are good for your heart.
Smoothies are great because you can add whatever healthy ingredients you want like fruits, oats, almond milk, dairy, spinach, or chia seeds.
It’s also great to have with you when you are on the go and you would want an awesome pick me up that is healthy, refreshing, and great as a breastfeeding snack.
I love green smoothies and usually will add a handful (a heaping cup) of spinach, a banana, strawberries and a little bit of orange juice. It is so yummy! I will sometimes add in some extras like greek yogurt or chia seeds for some extra nutrients!
A great option for a breastfeeding snack, you can never go wrong with a healthy piece of fresh fruit. Bananas are a great source of energy and potassium that can fuel you for the day. You can also create a fruit salad or a yogurt parfait for a tasty breakfast.
Whether they are eaten fresh or dried, berries are also a great source of antioxidants and fiber. You can also add them to your smoothies, oatmeal, and cereals.
Apricots, prunes, or raisins are rich in iron, which makes them nutritious. Try not to eat too much though since you might be increasing your sugar intake.
The first couple of weeks postpartum I lived off of dried apple chips. They were healthy and gave me some quick energy between taking care of my baby and chasing my busy three-year-old.
You can slice a few cucumbers, carrots, or peppers for a super healthy snack. Cucumbers have a lot of water so its great to keep you hydrated while breastfeeding.
Hard-boiled eggs are filling and healthy snacks to have. It has essential fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein to keep mom healthy.
Bonus Tip: If you like hard boiled eggs try making them in bulk in an instant pot!
Because it contains probiotics, it is great for your digestion. It also has a lot of protein but low in calories. Have it with some fruit for a refreshing and delicious breastfeeding snack. You can also put some granola with your yogurt for that extra crunch.
Sweet potato chips
Sweet potato contains vitamin A, C, calcium, and iron. You can make your own baked ones or you can also buy ready made sweet potato chips.
Related: How To Relieve Clogged Milk Ducts
It contains protein and essential fatty acids that are beneficial for a breastfeeding mom. For optimum benefits, choose natural peanut butter that only contains peanut and salt.
It tastes amazing and you can pair it with celery, apple, or spread it on wholegrain crackers/toast for an energy-boosting snack. If you want to mix things up, you can try almond butter, sunflower, and even cashew butter.
These are popular, convenient to bring around, and easy to eat one handed, especially for busy moms. Pick those with whole oats that is excellent for milk production. Avoid bars with high sugar content. The more natural they are, the better.
Air popped popcorn
This has a lot of fiber but low in calories. You can put whatever toppings you want – I keep it simple with just a little melted butter and salt, but feel free to get creative!
Bonus Tip: For an extra milk production boost, sprinkle some brewer’s yeast on top.
Feeling adventurous? Edamame is basically soybeans that contains a lot of protein, fiber, and vitamin K. These are tasty for snacks but also nutritious with the simplest preparation procedure – you just place them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes and you’re done! Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and enjoy!
Make sure you have a glass of water beside you while breastfeeding to keep you hydrated. It has been recommended that breastfeeding women should drink 4 extra glasses per day.
If water is getting a bit boring for you, you can always make your own fruit flavored water by filling a bottle of water with lemon, limes, cucumber, orange, strawberries, or any other fruit you prefer.
When you eat a variety of healthy food and postpartum snacks while breastfeeding, you are also passing on those essential nutrients and vitamins to your baby.
All the vitamins you get from these breastfeeding snacks can also help your postpartum body heal quicker and increase your milk supply at the same time.
When you breastfeed, you are also encouraging weight loss and having healthy snacks while breastfeeding is also one way of achieving this goal.
Which breastfeeding snacks are your favorite?