Breastfeeding is an important process, both for providing your baby with the nutrients they need and for bonding with them. While breastfeeding, you burn a lot of calories! Around 500 additional calories per day, so you may find that your hunger levels increase, causing you to need more snacks throughout the day. It’s easy to grab whatever snack is available, or just because it’s convenient, but the key is to eat healthy snacks that satisfy your cravings while also providing your body with the nutrients it needs during breastfeeding. All snacks are not created equal, especially when it comes to fueling your body with the necessary nutrients for breastfeeding.
In this article, we will discuss what makes a good breastfeeding snack and several different snack options to consider. Keep reading to learn all about healthy breastfeeding snacks!
What Makes a Good Breastfeeding Snack?
When it comes to choosing your ideal snacks while breastfeeding, your main concern should be selecting items that are healthy, safe, and also satisfy your cravings.
According to Healthline, breastfeeding moms should aim to eat highly nutritious and balanced snacks, while avoiding or limiting certain foods, such as:
- Fish high in mercury
- Certain herbal supplements
- Highly processed foods
In general, when planning your snacks while breastfeeding, it is essential to make sure you are replenishing your nutrients and energy stores. Breastfeeding can be an exhausting process for your body to go through, so making sure you get adequate protein and carbs during the day is key.
The standard rule for eating protein is that it should make up about 20% to 25% of your daily diet. However, it is typically recommended for breastfeeding moms to eat even more than this, aiming for between 65 to 70 grams of protein per day.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
As you breastfeed, your body loses fluids more quickly, requiring you to drink more water and beverages with electrolytes to replenish your body’s hydration levels.
The typical recommended amount of water to drink for a non-breastfeeding person is around 0.5 to 0.75 cups per pound of body weight. When breastfeeding, this amount should be increased by at least another 0.25 cups.
One of the best ways to track whether or not you are getting enough hydration is to observe your urine. When properly hydrated, your urine should be clear to pale yellow in color.
Without further ado, let’s now look at some of the best healthy snack foods for breastfeeding moms.
Homemade Snacks for Breastfeeding
When breastfeeding, you can end up with some pretty serious snack cravings all throughout the day. This can take a toll on your wallet, as store-bought snacks can be quite expensive for not a lot of quantity. Save money on store-bought snacks by whipping up your own bites to eat at home.
These homemade snacks are easy to make and highly satisfying:
Oatmeal Protein Balls
Oats are an awesome snack choice, as they are high in both protein and carbs and will keep you feeling satiated for longer.
To make oatmeal protein balls, you will need:
- 1 to 1.5 cups of oats
- 0.25 to 0.50 cups of peanut butter (or another nut alternative, like almond butter)
- 1 to 4 tablespoons of honey (the amount depends on your sweet tooth!)
- Extra healthy add-ins like dried fruit or dark chocolate chips
Once mixed by hand or in a food processor, all you need to do is form them into balls and enjoy!
This is my absolute favorite 5 ingredient protein ball recipe!
Cucumbers With Cream Cheese
Get a bit of creaminess with your daily dose of veggies with a cucumber and cream cheese snack tray.
Cucumbers are high in nutrients while also being low in calories. Plus, they have a ton of water inside them, helping you to stay better hydrated throughout the day.
On the other hand, cream cheese is a good source of antioxidants and protein. For a healthier version, opt for low-fat cream cheese when shopping at the store.
Want a sweet treat that you can slurp and enjoy after breastfeeding?
Smoothies give you many vital nutrients and are a great source of hydration. Plus, you can sneak in leafy greens, like spinach or kale, with your fruits to give your smoothie an even greater health boost.
For a creamier smoothie, use Greek Yogurt instead of milk or water to help blend everything together.
Take a look at these delicious smoothie recipes and tips for creating your own!
Store-Bought Breastfeeding Snacks
With a newborn around, you may not have much free time to craft homemade snacks. Luckily, there are plenty of store-bought snack options to choose from while breastfeeding, including:
This is one of the easiest grab-and-go snacks around.
Dried fruit snacks provide you with a heaping serving of vitamins and nutrients, all while coming in a form that is easy to store and has a much longer shelf life than fresh fruit.
As we have covered, oats have many benefits for breastfeeding moms.
Instead of crafting your own homemade oatmeal protein balls, you can find an equivalent snack at the store in the form of oat bars.
When choosing an oat bar to purchase, look for one with dried fruit as a sweetener instead of added sugar and preferably has extra protein, vitamins, and nutrients.
Many moms know the power of bananas when breastfeeding — and you should learn as well!
Bananas help fill you up and keep you satiated, while also providing your body with the potassium it needs to maintain higher fluid and electrolyte levels. In one banana, there are roughly 25 to 30 grams of carbs and 1 to 2 grams of protein, making it a powerful food in its own right.
To make your banana snack a little tastier, you can add a small spoonful of peanut butter or honey on the side to dip your banana in.
Sometimes you want sweets while breastfeeding, sometimes you want something savory. There are plenty of snacks out there that can suit your snack cravings without requiring you to resort to overly processed foods like salty potato chips.
Here are 3 awesome ideas for savory snacks that are healthy and safe to consume while breastfeeding:
Made from chickpeas and garlic primarily, hummus is a nutrient and protein-packed snack that is perfect for breastfeeding moms.
The best part about hummus is that it pairs great with many different vegetables, such as celery, carrots, and cucumbers. Whip up a hummus snack plate next time you feel hungry to keep your body full and functioning well while breastfeeding.
Baked Kale Chips
Although your goal is to avoid highly processed foods while breastfeeding, chances are, you will at some point find yourself wishing for a salty bag of chips.
To satisfy this craving, swap your processed potato chips out for baked kale chips. These kale chips are easy to make and can also be purchased in some grocery stores.
To make kale chips at home, all you will need is fresh kale, extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks Conclusion
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience in which you bond closer with your newborn — but it can also be hard on your body and cause you to need more food and water while it occurs.
The healthy breastfeeding snacks discussed here are excellent options for a healthy bite to eat that provide positive effects for you and your baby. By eating a good amount of healthy snacks throughout the day, you can stay energized while also replenishing your stores of essential nutrients needed to fuel both you and your baby.
Author: Isabella Adams
Isabella is an experienced nutritionist and a passionate freelance writer. She uses her knowledge and experience to write about trending nutrition topics and develop a healthy and joyous relationship with food and the body. Her tips help to make healthier lifestyle choices.