These Snacks For Breastfeeding Moms are easy to make ahead of time and are healthy recipes to help keep your body fueled and energized while nursing.
Today we’re tackling some topics I don’t get into very often on the blog – weight, calories etc…specifically as they relate to breastfeeding. As many of you may remember, I only breastfed Squish for six weeks and I was really sick during most of that time. I gained about 25 pounds while I was pregnant with him and I lost all 25 pounds, plus 15 more in the six weeks after he was born. This was fairly drastic and obviously not the norm. It also didn’t give me any idea how exclusively breastfeeding for an extended period of time would affect my body.
Little Miss and I have successfully survived over 3 months of breastfeeding. I lost most of the 25 pounds I gained with her in the first 2-3 weeks and am now currently focused on maintaining my weight.
Although my weight fluctuated a lot during high school and college, once I graduated and learned how to eat things besides Cheerios and bagels, I figured out my set point weight and have maintained it for the past 10 years or so thanks to a fairly balanced diet, exercise and intuitive eating.
I know about how much I have to eat each day to maintain my weight. While I don’t count calories….if you’re looking for a number, it’s definitely north of 2,000 calories per day. When I add in CrossFit (weightlifting and high-intensity workouts), which I do for lots of reasons…one of which is not currently weight loss…I have to eat more to maintain my weight.
Now I’ve also added exclusively breastfeeding into the mix. Breastfeeding women are encouraged to eat extra calories (anywhere from 300-500 per day on average).
If you’re still following along here, that means that right now, I have to eat a lot.
And some days I struggle with it.
I’ve never really been someone who enjoys eating huge meals. I prefer smaller meals + snacks throughout the day…which is fine…except finding the time to eat all day long can be tough when you have a screaming newborn and a high-energy toddler running around.
Lately I’m often trying to shove something in my mouth while nursing one kid and getting food for the other. And when I do have a chance to sit down and eat I’m either too tired or too indecisive or nothing sounds good, etc.
Most of the time when meal or snack time rolls around, I’m facing one of 3 scenarios:
- Both Squish and Little Miss are screaming to eat…so I walk around the kitchen nursing her while getting food for him, dipping his food in ketchup, picking up the napkin he threw on the ground for the 1ooth time, etc.
- Squish is screaming to eat and Little Miss is sleeping…so I feed him and then run around the house trying to take advantage of the fact that she’s sleeping by doing a million other things like folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, writing blog posts, taking photos etc.
- Both kids need fed, so I feed them. Then Squish goes off to play. I attempt to eat something and he somehow ALWAYS hears me and makes a beeline back to the kitchen so I give up and decide to try again later because I don’t feel like arguing with him about why HE can’t eat again.
Obviously, there are times when I do sit down and eat when he’s eating or I grab a snack without him noticing or I let the baby cry for a few minutes longer while I eat, or I eat with one hand once I’ve given him his food…but not always.
Side note- hubby usually gets Squish up in the morning and gets him breakfast while I feed the baby, which is helpful and when he’s home for lunch he helps out too….but there are still a lot of meal and snack times when I’m on my own.
A couple weekends ago, I reached a bit of a breaking point. I’d done a few tough workouts, paired with a few unintentionally skipped meals and I was so hungry I could barely function. I complained to hubby and we took a break from our errands on Saturday to eat meatballs and loaded tater tots. I ate a donut with dinner that night and another for breakfast on Sunday…and then an entire double chicken burrito bowl with guacamole for lunch because I knew I needed the calories.
Do I regret or feel guilty about eating all that? No.
However, I don’t think it’s the best approach to daily eating 🙂
The point to all this is that I realized I need to step up my game a little bit. I need to make more of an effort to have my fridge, freezer and pantry well-stocked with healthy, calorie-dense snacks that I can eat quickly throughout the day and I need to prioritize sitting down and eating meals….even when I’m busy or feel like I have a million other things to do.
I realize this isn’t a struggle for every mom, but I do know there some others out there like me….so I thought I would share some of my favorite go-to snacks:
I buy a big bag of trailmix from Costco that has peanuts, almonds, cashews, raisins and m&ms but it’s just as easy to make your own with all your favorite things in it! Think nuts, seeds, popcorn, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cereal, bite-sized crackers etc. Or try this Popcorn Snack Mix.
Yogurt with Toppings
Try full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt and top with a handful of granola, cereal or fresh fruit and nuts/seeds. Or make up a few jars of Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt to eat throughout the week.
These are so easy to make and perfect for stocking your freezer. Make a double batch and freeze them so you can pull out one or two out to eat quickly. Try these Lemon Energy Balls or these No Bake Peppermint Chocolate Bites.
Granola or Protein Bars
I make these No-Bake Protein Bars all the time. If you don’t want to add protein powder, try these No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars, these No-Bake Blueberry Almond Bars or these Sweet Potato Protein Cookies.
I’ve been eating a couple of these each day for a quick snack or dessert. This is my recipe for Dairy-Free Lactation Cookies and there are tons of other variations out there!
I’ve been loving these egg wraps with turkey and guac or hummus. I make up 8-10 on Sundays to have on hand throughout the week.
Need more ideas?
- hummus with carrots or chips (bonus points if you make this greek hummus topping too!)
- apple slices with peanut butter
- frozen pb banana sandwiches (put a little pb between two slices of banana and freeze)
- tuna salad stuffed mini peppers (cut peppers in half, stuff with mix of tuna + avocado or hummus + salsa)
- overnight oats
- PB toast or waffle with peanut butter (I like these Whole Wheat Yogurt Waffles – i make a batch to freeze then just grab one and pop it in the toaster)
- pudding – try this PB banana version or this chocolate avocado pudding recipe
- cold leftovers – i like these Thai Chicken Meatballs or chicken avocado burgers straight out of the fridge
That’s all for today! Keep in mind these healthy make-ahead snacks are great for everyone, not just nursing moms!
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What’s your favorite make-ahead snack?