Cooking? Hah! Baby needs a feed.
Cleaning? Pfft. Baby needs a diaper change.
Showering? Hahahha. Baby is asleep on my shoulder and I’m not going anywhere.
But, it’s important that you take care of yourself – you’ve got a tiny little squishy baby depending on you after all.
One thing you can do that will help is to prepare healthy snacks in advance. It’ll assuage those hunger pangs and keep up your milk supply.
Related: Best Nursing Pads of 2019
Easy Snacks to Prepare in Advance
These are some of my favorite snacks that you can whip up in a batch and keep in the fridge or pantry until needed. Make sure you keep them in a special container AND let the rest of the household know that these are your snacks. No postpartum tears because someone ate your last breakfast bite when you’re dying of hunger at the 3am feed!
Hard Boiled Eggs
Eggs are super healthy and they provide high-quality protein and disease-fighting components such as zeaxanthin and lutein. They are also really easy to prepare in advance. All you need to do is put a couple of eggs in boiling water and cook for approximately ten minutes. (Cook longer if you’re cooking more, or want to make sure your eggs are really cooked.)
You can make up to a dozen at a time and they’ll keep for up to a week.
Popcorn has one of the most significant concentrations of fiber and is rich in essential nutrients. It’s also really easy to whip up a batch (use an air fryer if you want to lower the calories – though if you’re nursing feel free to keep the oil or butter for extra calories and energy!)
You can store popped popcorn in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks, though it might not be as nice as when fresh. This is great to keep at your breastfeeding station so if you’ve run out of other snacks it’ll do in a pinch.
Not only do lactation cookies promote milk supply they are also delicious and filling. Here’s a list of many different cookie recipes you can try – I’m sure you’ll find a few that take your fancy!
Make a batch and store them in an airtight container, hidden in the nursery… or share them. Whatever works. On the bright side, if you go through them too quickly you can try out a new recipe for your next batch!
You don’t exclusively have to eat lactation cookies just because you are a’lactatin’. Some great cookies to try that aren’t specifically lactation based include:
- Anzac Biscuits
- Choc chip cookies
- White chocolate macadamia
Muffins are a convenient excuse to eat cake for breakfast… or for any time you like. Make your own from scratch to control the ingredients and make sure they’re super healthy.
Trail mix is a great portable snack that’s easy to whip up at home in a big batch.
You may even have all the ingredients you need on hand. Add as much as you like of:
- nuts – pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, almonds
- seeds – pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds
- dried fruit – cranberries, dates, apricots, cherries, banana chips
- cereal – cheerios, granola, chex
- legumes – soybeans, vegetable ‘chips’
- chocolate chips
Soup is an excellent way to add extra vegetables, protein and just use up whatever leftovers you have in the fridge. You can also make massive batches with relative ease and freeze the leftovers into single serve containers to make things even easier for yourself.
Soup makes a great snack or even a light meal if you add:
- one or two slices of wholemeal bread
- a big dollop of greek yogurt
- extra vegetables, especially things like pumpkin or potato
- leftover rice or pasta
- leftover salad greens
- a swirl of olive oil
- crumble parmesan on top
- add a handful of nuts
Celery, carrots, red peppers… all make excellent crudites (vegetable sticks) for snacking on. You can eat them as is or with a dip like hummus, guacamole, peanut butter, or whatever you have on hand.
What if you make too much smoothie? (This never happens to me… because I just drink the extra!) Make it into smoothie icepops! All you need is a popsicle mould and some smoothie.
Like cookies, but not? Bliss balls are delicious and there are literally so many recipes out there you can find the perfect flavor that you’re craving or ingredient profile you need to suit allergies. Bonus, a lot of these recipes freeze well… though you might have to wait a few minutes to chow down on your treat after you get it out of the freezer for it to get soft enough.
Delicious, packed with protein, vegetables and fibre. Zucchini slice is awesome! You can add anything you like from zucchini, to cheese, to bacon, to leftover chargrilled red pepper slices and olives. Most recipes also freeze well, so you’ll be able to find a nutritious snack in your freezer.
Easy Healthy Snacks to Buy From The Store
Sometimes your energy levels only extend to opening a packet. And that’s ok. (So long as that’s not every meal.) Here are some great choices for store-bought snacks.
I love pretzels. Salty, wheaty goodness that they are.
It’s most economical to buy pretzels in a jumbo bag and then use ziplocs to portion out a good size… or you could just eat them straight from the bag. It’s all good.
Pretzels are great to have with cheese too.
Rice cakes aren’t exactly uber nutritious, but they are filling. They also make a good vehicle for more healthy foods, like hummus, avocado, ham or cheese slices etc.
Cheese is delicious, filling and full of calcium.
For ease of consumption, you might want to grab a range of different cheeses:
- cheese sticks and string cheese – for quick and portable snacks while breastfeeding or on the go.
- cottage cheese – for breakfast with fruit
- soft cheese (think Camembert or Brie) – for snacks with crackers or rice cakes, because why not?
- feta – because it’s delicious and goes perfectly on a salad, or with eggs
Protein & Granola Bars
Protein and granola bars are ideal snacks on the go. If you can find protein bars designed for nursing moms, they should contain a good balance of protein and other ingredients.
Hummous is super easy to make from scratch at home, or you can buy it from the store and save time. It’s full of protein and is very nutritious and filling. Bonus, it’s also delicious.
Slices of Deli Meat
Now that the prohibition against deli meat has been lifted, you’re free to indulge your love of honey roast ham and sliced turkey roll… they also make great, filling and protein-packed snacks you can snatch out of the fridge any time you get a spare minute.
Fruit makes an excellent snack packed with vitamins and minerals and natural sweetness.
Favorite low-fuss fruits:
- bananas (they come with their own frustration-free-packaging! *usually)
- apples, pears
- mandarin oranges
Get your omega-3’s by snacking on a can of tuna. There are loads of different flavors you can get these days, check the ingredients if you’re into flavors to make sure you aren’t consuming too much added sugar, weird preservatives or other gross stuff.
Best type to get: plain in spring water.
Healthy Snacks – Make it Fresh, In Minutes
Peanut Butter and Apples
Peanut butter is full of healthy fats and protein that’ll help you make more milk and maintain (grow) your muscles. It’s a true fact that you’ll likely never have been so strong after having a baby (unless you did a bit of strength training before). Your little weight grows as your muscles do…
Peanut butter and apple is a classic combination that gives you protein, fat, fibre and some sugar to keep you going. And it’s delicious. Just sayin’.
Bananas are an excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Also, bananas are high in antioxidants! Boom. Go team banana!
Banana sandwiches are quick and easy to whip up. Just butter up some bread and slice some banana slices. You’re done.
Greek Yogurt with Fruit and Nuts
Yogurt’s high protein and probiotics make it a healthy snack. Yogurt also happens to be a great source of calcium which is necessary for the baby’s growth and development.
The best type of yogurt to get is a good quality Greek Yogurt that is unsweetened. Add natural sweetness with a handful of seasonal berries (I love blueberries), sliced mango (divine) or diced apple with cinnamon. I like to add a handful of flaked almonds for crunch and extra nutritional value.
The Microwave is Your Friend
Although you might usually just use the microwave to heat up leftovers, defrost food and try the occasional (usually disappointing) mug cake, there are some great snacks you can make with it:
Buy frozen, podded edamame beans, heat them in the microwave and enjoy!
Make it on milk for extra calories and nutrition. It’s a super quick and filling way to satisfy a hunger craving and the possibilities are endless when it comes to yummy mix ins:
- add cocoa powder and shredded coconut
- add slices of banana and stir through until it sort of melts
- add chocolate chips
- sliced strawberries and maple syrup
- sliced mango and coconut
- add a handful of nuts on top for crunch
If you find a good mug cake recipe, keep it handy. Nothing is better to satisfy sweet cravings than a yummy mug cake.
Learn how to make scrambled eggs in your microwave – it’s faster than boiling and perfect for those days where you’ve run out of boiled ones and just need something now!
Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated
It’s important to remember to stay hydrated when you’re breastfeeding. Luckily, you’ll most likely get lots of reminders from your body to drink more water. (When you have a milk letdown, you often feel thirsty.)
Here’s how to stay hydrated:
Fruit Flavored Water
If you’re tired of regular old water, you can put slices of fruits in your water bottle to add flavor. Lemons, cucumbers, and lime are all perfect choices. The fruits serve as a tasty addition and come without the high sugar content of typical juices.
I love drinking unsweetened iced tea, but I almost never did until I picked up this great hack from a friend of mine. I’m a bit lazy and the idea of making iced tea the traditional way… boiling water, brewing tea, pouring it into a jug… ugh.
Here’s the lazy girl way:
Add one or two teabags to a full water bottle and leave in the fridge overnight.
Easy as pie. You’ll wake up to a bottle of fresh, refreshing chilled iced tea. (Great with added fruit bits too.)
Sparkling Mineral Water
If you’re avoiding soft drinks (which is probably a good idea for both the caffeine and the sugar that they usually come packed with), try drinking sparkling mineral water instead.
I love it plain, or with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. You can also improvise something awesome combining the fruit and iced tea ideas from the last two points.
I love smoothies, they’re awesome for breakfast! Also a great way to pack in lots of fibre, protein and vitamins and minerals. Check out this massive list of lactation smoothie recipes – dare you to work your way through them! These ones also have the benefit of including plenty of galactagogues (ingredients that boost your milk supply!) Win win!
How Many Calories ‘Extra’ Do Breastfeeding Moms Need?
Do you really need to eat all that much extra just because you’re nursing?
According to Kelly Mom, breastfeeding moms will need around 300-500 extra calories per day extra. That’s roughly the equivalent of another meal, however, you should eat to your appetite.
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