If you've ever had the life literally sucked right out of you, this post is for you!
All jokes aside, being the mom to a newborn can be exhausting. Recovering from childbirth and constant breastfeeding can put demands on your body that you didn't even know existed until postpartum.
With pregnancy, it feels a bit like an indulgent opportunity. The idea to "eat for two" paired with pregnancy cravings reminds us to not only eat often but also embrace the weight gain.
With breastfeeding however, mom's appetites tend to be ravenous. It's as though as soon as our babies are born, our bodies tell us we deserve a steak dinner ... every day. And yet too many moms get so preoccupied with quickly losing their baby weight that their focus prematurely shifts off of fueling their bodies for breastfeeding. Instead, we must choose to remember:
For a well-nourished baby, it takes a well-nourished mom.
It often surprises new moms to learn that it requires more calories to breastfeed than it does to be pregnant. However unlike the cravings we may have let ourselves indulge in during an allotted nine month "grace period," we now are in a place where we are more aware of the need to make intentional food choices.
Not only to fuel our bodies for breastfeeding, but also to establish the eating habits we want our growing family to have moving forward.
As dietitian moms, all the contributing moms to this article and myself can relate.
We know that in order to be pro-breastfeeding, we also need to be huge supporters of healthy, nutrient-dense postpartum snacks too. That's why in this week's post, we are sharing our favorite postpartum snacks. Many of these are ideal when you only have one-hand to eat or two seconds to spare. We hope that in the foods that follow, you will be more empowered to crave the calories in the most nutrient dense of ways.
Favorite Postpartum Snacks
You may not have the energy to make these yourself in the early days with a baby, but these make some of the healthiest, most enjoyable postpartum snacks to bring a new mom friend or to ask family members to make for you! Then later, you can start making these recipes as part of your new normal.
Favorite Recipe Free Postpartum Snacks
- Trail Mix: Make your own creative combo of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and/or dark chocolate bits. Or look for premade ones with raw or dry roasted nuts, and limited to no added sugar or salt. Dietitian Ruth's favorite combo is: organic dried banana chips, toasted coconut chips, natural almonds, and dried cranberries and mangoes. Yum!
- Chips & Guacamole & Pico de Gallo: I love the pre-portioned mini GOODFOODS guacamole cups with whole-grain or bean-based chips like Food Should Taste Good or Beanitos for dipping! Make a quick quesadilla instead if you are needing a particularly substantial snack.
- Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey Sandwiches: Make with whole-grain bread, all-natural peanut butter, sliced bananas, and honey. To make this even easier on you, just smear some PB&J on some of those cottage cheese pancakes above!
- Energy bars: Can't make your own energy bites? Buy premade favorites like RxBars or LARAbars.
- Yogurt with Granola: Top a small container of low sugar added yogurt (my fave is Siggis 4%) with granola, nuts, seeds, and some fresh (or frozen!) berries.
- Smash Toast: Toast up your favorite whole grain bread, then SMASH avocado on each slice. Top with scrambled eggs, sliced boiled eggs, a fried egg, or veggies like sliced tomatoes, spinach, or grilled zucchini! This one is trickier to eat one handed but it will definitely fill you up for longer.
- Smoke Salmon Bagel Bites: A favorite from Molly Wong Vega, MS, RDN, LD, spread whipped low fat cream cheese on mini wheat bagels. Layered with sliced smoked salmon. Thinly sliced red onion and capers optional. Enjoy!
- Deviled Eggs: Boil some eggs and make these on the weekend when you may have an extra hand or two. Then, grab and eat one-handed over the course of the week!
- Egg or Chicken Salad with Whole-Grain Crackers: Turn some of those boiled eggs from above into a simple egg salad. Or use canned chicken breast to whip up a simple chicken salad for a high-protein snack option.
- Pitted Dates with coconut butter or almond butter: So simple and yet a perfect little snack to pull together in seconds, not to mention to satisfy a sweet tooth! This is a personal fave of integrative medicine dietitian, Nicole Fennell MS, RDN, LD, CLT.
- Loaded Oatmeal: Mix quick or old-fashioned oats with water, milk, or a non-dairy alternative to cook. Then top with any combo of nuts, seeds, nut butters, and/or your favorite fresh, frozen, or dried fruits. Besides being a super healthy snack, the oats (plus any added flax!) will help promote milk production, which makes this snack a particular fave!
- Build Your Own Snack Pack: Love this idea from Paula Mrowczynski-Hernandez MEd, RD, CSSD to include any of the following for an easy snack box to bring on the go or when travelling! Bring grapes, almonds, cheese, Picky Bars, Rx Bars, hummus, sliced vegetables, crackers, apples, almond butter or peanut butter
A Quick Note for the Mom Wanting to Lose Baby Weight
We have all been in your shoes of working for the final few pounds to budge. So first let me just say, GO YOU! You have done such an amazing job growing a baby, bringing him/her into this world, and now finding a new normal that still prioritizes your and your family's health. The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby in this season is to continue to adopt healthy habits that both help you reach your own goals while also helping your family reach theirs.
If you are breastfeeding, consider trying to gradually add in exercise each day rather than cutting out the nutrient-dense nutrition you and your baby need. You can continue to adapt the amounts and frequencies you eat at each meal and snack around your appetite and energy needs. Just be sure to stay aware of what your body (and often your baby!) is telling you! Many mom experience drops in their milk supply when their bodies drop below a certain weight. Consider how you can fully fuel your body for the season you are in -- whatever that is.
If you are not breastfeeding, consider similar advice. Gradually adding back exercise while including a balanced diet will be key to you feeling back to yourself again. While you will not have the same increased energy needs as a mom who is nursing, these are all excellent snack ideas for ALL moms. Many of us still live off of these staples today, even after we no longer have infants.