The Best Easy Breastfeeding Snacks

Hillary Bennetts

Table of contents

  • Intro
  • What Makes a Good Snack?
  • The Best Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks
  • Ensuring Nutritional Wellness During Breastfeeding
  • The Bottom Line

0 min read

Intro

Breastfeeding mothers know one thing – there’s no hunger like breastfeeding hunger. 

Why? Because creating enough milk to feed a growing baby places enormous demands on your body. You need more nutrients, but you also need more calories. Breastfeeding requires about 20 calories per ounce produced, so when you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby about 25 ounces per day, you’ll need about 500 extra calories per day. 

But when you’ve got a baby who requires a whole lot of your attention (and perhaps some older siblings too), finding time to make (and eat) enough can be a challenge. That’s why snacks are so key. When mealtimes are thrown off or not ideal, snacks are a great way to help meet your caloric and nutrient needs. And keep any breastfeeding induced "hanger" at bay.

What Makes a Good Snack?

Choosing healthy snacks while breastfeeding isn’t all that different from doing so at any other time in life, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Nutrient density: Nutrient needs are high while breastfeeding and what you eat affects the quality of your milk. And since sometimes a collection of snacks turns into a meal, it’s helpful to focus on nutrient dense foods. There’s no need to stress about finding the perfect snack, but aim to be nourished, not just fed. Think proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Balanced: When we’re hungry (or hangry), it’s common to want to grab the quickest form of energy - carbs. Carbs also tend to be convenient and portable. But eating carbs alone can cause a spike in blood sugar that results in hunger again soon after. To help balance out your hunger, aim for a combination of fiber-rich carbs alongside protein or fat (or both!). 

Convenient: Finally, as every nursing parent knows, logistics matter when you’re holding a baby with one arm and trying to snack with the other. So we’re sharing plenty of options perfect for one-handed munching.
Supportive of milk supply: If you’re interested in supporting your milk supply with snacks, there are some foods, known as galactagogues, that have been associated with promoting lactation. Simply eating enough calories is also supportive of milk supply.

    The best easy and healthy breastfeeding snacks

    It might feel like a lot of guidelines for a snack, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. We share several ideas below, as well as some thoughts on how to combine these ideas into a heartier balanced snack. 

    Portable protein

    Protein requirements remain high during the postpartum period, especially as the body recovers. However, since protein often requires preparation, it can feel tough to fit it in throughout the day. 

    Aim for portable and low-prep protein sources like hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon, and meat sticks (we like the high quality options from Paleovalley, Chomps, EPIC, and The New Primal). When possible, aim for grass fed or pasture raised meat, poultry, and eggs, and wild caught fish. 

    Needed’s Collagen Protein can also be added into any liquid or soft food for an easy protein boost. 

    Nuts and seeds

    Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fat and fiber, and they pack a lot of nutrition into a little package. For example, pumpkin seeds are a good source of Magnesium and Zinc, almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, and Brazil nuts are a good source of Selenium.

    Nut butters are another good choice. They can be spread on toast, mixed into oats or drizzled onto yogurt, or just eaten with a spoon (no judgment!). If you’re feeling up for an extra step, nut butter is great mixed into energy bites or lactation bites

    Yogurt and cottage cheese

    Dairy-based yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is high in protein. Go for the full fat plain versions to get the benefits of healthy fats while avoiding excessive added sugars. You can easily flavor them with fruit, granola, or some raw honey.

    If you don’t tolerate dairy, look for a plant based yogurt with as few ingredients as possible. Coconut yogurt from Cocojune, CocoYo, and Coconut Cult are great choices since they are low in added sugar, high in healthy fats, and don’t contain any gums or fillers. Add some protein by mixing in a scoop of Collagen Protein.

    Cottage cheese is another great snack option. It is high in protein and calcium and certain types like Good Culture and Nancy’s also contain probiotic cultures. 

    Granola and oatmeal

    Granola typically contains a mix of oats, nuts, and seeds which provide great fiber and healthy fat. Making your own is pretty easy, but there are several store bought options that include high quality ingredients and less sugar if mixing up your own feels like too much (we get it). 

    Granola is great on its own and can also be combined with other healthy snacks, like yogurt or cottage cheese. 

    Oats are a good source of fiber and they are also considered a galactagogue, meaning they are known to support milk supply. They’re used in granola but can also be used to make oatmeal, energy bites, overnight oats, muffins, and more. One Degree sprouted oats are a great option that is gluten free and glyphosate free.

    Oatmeal can feel like a lot of carbs if you don’t add anything else. Balance them out with protein and fiber by stirring in some collagen and drizzling nut butter on top. You can also beat an egg and stir it in slowly as you cook your oats on the stovetop. 

    Fresh Fruit & Veggies

    Fruits and veggies provide great fiber to help digestion and satiety, plus a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. 

    Fruit is a great snack if you’re craving something sweet while veggies are a great way to bulk up whatever you’re eating. 

    Because they are light and contain primarily carbs, fruits and veggies pair well with a protein or fat source. For example, you can dip apples in nut butter or carrots in guacamole.

    Smoothies

    Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrition into a convenient drink. Read more about how to make a healthy smoothie here - and don’t forget to mix in your Prenatal Multi powder and Collagen Protein!

    Crunchy snacks

    Sometimes you just feel snacky. Fortunately there are some snack foods that satisfy your craving while also providing some nutrition. 

    Some good options include Simple Mills crackers, Hu crackers, Lesser Evil Power Curls or Paleo Puffs, Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips, Siete tortilla chips, Brad’s veggie flats, Gimme Organic Seaweed Snacks with olive oil, Lesser Evil popcorn, and EPIC baked pork rinds.

    Ensuring Nutritional Wellness During Breastfeeding

    Even with the healthiest of snacks, your body needs extra support during postpartum and breastfeeding. Remember to keep taking your prenatal supplements throughout your breastfeeding journey to optimally support you and your baby for years to come. Needed’s Fourth Trimester Plan contains several supplements to support everything from your nutrition to hydration to stress and sleep during the demanding postpartum period. 

    Remember, breastmilk doesn’t automatically contain all the nutrients your baby needs. Certain nutrients, like Omega-3s, will only be present if you include them in your diet or as a supplement. Other nutrients, like calcium, will pull from your own stores if your diet is lacking. That means that baby will get what they need, but you’ll be left depleted. In the case of calcium, this means more brittle bones for mama. 

    The Bottom Line

    Breastfeeding can feel like a full-time job, especially in the beginning. But it also requires tremendous nutritional support. That means that nourishing yourself with plenty of healthy snacks is key to supporting your body and your baby.



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    Hillary Bennetts, Nutritionist

    Hillary Bennetts is a nutritionist and business consultant focusing on prenatal and postpartum health. In addition to nutrition consulting, she provides business consulting and content creation for companies in the health and wellness industry. Hillary spent almost a decade in corporate consulting before shifting gears to combine her lifelong passion for health and wellness with her business background and nutrition education.