If you’ve ever fed a baby from your breasts – whether that looked like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping, or a combination – you know that it makes you hungry. Really hungry. First, your body likely recently grew and birthed a human being. Maybe more than one! That is hard work and you did a great job. Now, your body is working hard to produce milk to feed that human being. No wonder you feel hungry all the time!
In order for you to feel your best and to create milk for your baby, you need to eat. And you need to eat well. Sometimes that can feel extremely difficult, but it’s so important! Many of the best breastfeeding snacks are ones that are easy to eat one handed and easy to keep stocked near where you will be pumping or breastfeeding.
The best snacks for breastfeeding have protein, healthy fats, and enough calories to help you stay full. (But let’s be honest…sometimes the best snack is chocolate! Leftover Halloween candy, anyone?) Here are some of my favorite breastfeeding snacks:
Eggs are one of my favorite foods! They provide protein, fats, and other important nutrients. They’re easy to prepare and delicious! Hardboiled, scrambled with toast, or fried in butter… I love them all. I also love to make egg muffins or quiche for a quick, hearty meal. Eat the yolks, they’re good for you!
Oatmeal is considered to be a galactagogue – a food (or herb) that can increase milk supply. Oats are a filling option for breakfast or snack that have many awesome benefits. They have fiber, antioxidants, and can help lower cholesterol & balance blood sugars! Overnight oats are an easy, no-cook way to enjoy – mix oats, liquid (usually milk and/or water), and fruits or other ingredients before bed and you can simply stir & eat in the morning! You can also make oatmeal on the stove or make a big pan of baked oatmeal to reheat. Top with fruit, nuts or nut butter, seeds such as chia or flax, and any other toppings you want – like chocolate chips or shredded coconut!
Smoothies are a great option at any point in the day! Add veggies to boost the nutrition (steamed sweet potatoes or carrots, fresh cucumber or celery, even fresh herbs can be great choices), any fresh or frozen fruit you like, a handful of greens such as spinach or kale, and liquid of your choice to thin it out. There are so many extras you can add for nutritional benefits or taste – greek yogurt, cocoa powder, nut butter, seeds such as chia/flax/hemp, even coffee for a pick-me-up! One of my favorite combinations is banana, spinach, blueberries, cocoa powder, nut butter (usually almond) and milk.
Yogurt (or Cottage Cheese)
Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, is a great snack for anytime. You can even get single-serve packs of yogurt for on the go! Greek yogurt is a great source of protein! You can top it with fruit (fresh, frozen, or dried), nuts or nut butter, seeds, shredded coconut, granola, or any number of other extras. Whole/full fat, low or no sugar options are ideal. Cottage cheese is great topped with fruit or veggies! I love it with lemon pepper and a side of cucumber slices, or topped with blueberries and nuts!
Fruit and Dip
Fruit is a great choice for snacks. Adding a dip can make it more fun to eat, as well as adding protein or healthy fats. Apples or banana drizzed with nut butter, fruit kabobs with yogurt/cream cheese dip, or apples and nut butter dip are all filling, delicious ideas! One of my all time favorite snacks is Honeycrisp apple slices with dip made from greek yogurt, peanut/almond butter, maple syrup/honey, and cinnamon. It’s my favorite “treat!”
Veggies with Hummus
Hummus is a great savory dip (made from chickpeas) that goes well with many veggies. You can also serve it with crackers or pita bread. My favorite hummus has greek yogurt and is topped with sesame oil, garlic, salt & pepper, and lemon juice.
Air Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is a great whole grain, fiber rich snack – but stay away from the microwave version. Air popped popcorn is filling and crunchy. You can top it with ghee, melted butter, or coconut/olive oil if desired, as well as any spice combination you like. Some people even add parmesan cheese! I love to add nutritional yeast and sea salt. It’s also easy to pack some popcorn in a bag for snacking on the go.
Hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans… there are many different kinds of nuts and they’re all delicious! I prefer to buy raw, unsalted nuts. The list of trail mix ingredients is endless! Nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, popcorn, cheerios, granola, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), pretzels… You can buy premade trail mix, but you’ll just want to make sure whatever you choose don’t have a ton of salt, sugar, or artificial ingredients.
Avocado or Guacamole
Avocado is full of healthy fats! It also happens to be creamy, delicious, and super satisfying. I love to sprinkle half of an avocado with salt & pepper and top with lemon or lime juice. It’s also great on top of crackers or toast. Guacamole served with crackers, pretzels, or raw veggies is another great snack idea.
String cheese (or Babybel cheese, cheese cubes, etc…) is a great, portable, easy to eat snack that has a lot of calcium and protein. Pair it with some nuts, fruit, or veggies for a balanced snack.
Fruit and nut or granola bars are the best snacks to grab while pumping/breastfeeding, toss in the bag for snacking on the go, or eat during a middle of the night feeding. Make sure the bars you choose don’t have too much sugar. My favorite brands are Lara Bar and RX Bar, but you can make your own too!
Energy bites are really popular, and for good reason! They’re easy to make, easy to eat, and portable. They usually have nut butter, oats, seeds, dried fruit, and others. You can adjust them to your taste preferences. There are so many varieties! Carrot cake, blueberry muffin, chocolate chip, mocha, peanut butter… so many different options! Here is a great, seasonal recipe for Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites from Gimme Some Oven.
What are your favorite snacks to eat while breastfeeding? Let me know in the comments!