Breastfeeding can be a magical time, a bonding moment between mother and child. However, it goes without saying that it can be tiring — and can produce some serious hunger pangs!
Even though you’re eating regular meals, you find yourself feeling hungry after you feed your babe. Sound familiar?
While you may be reluctant to eat more, here’s why you should.
Why Breastfeeding Increases Your Hunger
While you may think you’re eating enough, it’s important when you’re breastfeeding to not worry too much about the calories, but instead focus on the nutrition you are getting. It is normal (and expected) that you will get hungry at various hours, based on the fact that you’re producing food yourself.
It takes a lot of work and energy for your body to create breastmilk. As a result, your body signals to you (though hunger) that you need more energy from food. While breastfeeding, you’ll need to eat more often – or eat more than you may normally do – to meet your increased calorie and nutrient needs and to maintain your milk supply.
In fact, you may need to eat about as many calories as you did during your third trimester of pregnancy.¹ Remember, your body needs energy to function for your own needs as well. So, if you’re nursing your babe during the night and are feeling famished, don’t go hungry. Instead, reach for a healthy snack.
Breastfeeding Snacks: Ideas For The Hungry Nursing Mom
It’s good to have some snacks prepped and on-hand for when those hunger pangs kick in. Your snacks should provide a nice balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates.¹ Having food prepared and ready to go helps you make good snack choices, so you don’t eat junk foods (as often) and, instead, fill up on nutrient-dense, healthy foods.
Here is a list of wholesome breastfeeding snacks to have on hand. These are super-easy ideas that are healthful for late night, or anytime really.
1. Fruit and Nuts
Have on hand fresh fruit and various nuts. Have the fruit cut-up, washed and placed in the fridge, and nuts in a common area that you can access easily when tired. Some good combinations are: almonds and grapes, cashews and oranges, apples and peanuts, hazelnuts and berries. However, you can mix and go with anything. The nuts provide some sustainable energy and are really useful for helping curb the hunger while providing your body the fat and protein it needs. Trail mix is another good fruit-and-nut option that is an easy snack anytime.
2. Sliced Apples and Nut Butter
This is such a healthful but energy packed snack that will leave you satisfied. Pre-slice a few apples (squeeze a bit of lemon on it to prevent browning), and dip them in your favourite nut butter. Crunchy almond butter with apples is delicious and very satisfying.
3. Cheese, Crackers and Grapes
It seems obvious, yes, but often overlooked. Always have some cheese (if you are vegan, there are a lot of vegan options available now). For crackers, there are so many varieties, but ones that provide some good nutrition or are now just packed with salt are best. Opt for ones such as melba toast, or rye crackers, or whole wheat pita crackers, etc. These provide some good energy.
4. Yogurt with Granola
A nice cup of yogurt with organic granola is a perfect go to, even at night. There are granola that you can find that don’t contain a lot of sugar and are made with nuts, flax, and so forth. It’s a perfect way to fuel up and even sustain you.
Cereal is a great snack choice for any time of day. Of course, avoid the sugar-filled ones, and perhaps opt for ones that contain more than 2g fibre per serving.
6. Energy Bites or Power Balls
If you have some time one day, go ahead and prepare some energy bites. It consists of ½ cup rolled oats, 2 tbsp nut butter, honey or maple syrup (optional), flax or chia seeds, and any topping of choice (coconut, dried cranberries, or even cocoa chips). Mix everything together and roll into balls. You can keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and take out a bite anytime you need.
If you can’t always eat something, drink it. Blend together a bunch of fruits (you really can’t make a smoothie wrong), your choice of liquid (orange juice, milk, coconut milk, etc), add protein powder or nut butter if you wish, and blend away. If it’s late, consider pre-making some in the evening and storing in the fridge. If you are looking to get more “greens”, make a green smoothie, if you have the ingredients on hand.
8. Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Make some easy cookies with three main ingredients, and no flour or sugar. These make great breastfeeding snacks because they’re super nutritious, provide protein, energy, fibre, and will keep you running. They can be eaten for breakfast on the go, or even stored in the fridge when needed. There are a lot of recipes for these easy cookies online. Here is one for your convenience.
9. Mini Veggie Wraps
Take a whole wheat or vegetable wrap and toss in some veggies, some cream cheese or hummus, and roll it up (as you would any wrap). Cut it up into small bites and store in the fridge. It can last up to three days and a perfect go to snack when you are low in energy and need a quick bite. This way you can do without eating the whole wrap if you don’t need, and still getting a wealth of healthy nutrients.
10. Avocado with Crackers or Toast
No need for fancy guac; simply take an avocado, mash it up, season with salt, pepper and some lime and eat with crackers or whole-grain toast. This provides you with the healthy fats your body needs, and will give you some longer-lasting energy.
So don’t worry, momma! You continue feeding your baby and yourself; with these easy breastfeeding snacks, you’ll be armed to take on those hunger pangs.
More Breastfeeding Snacks and Meal Ideas
💡 If you’re looking for wholesome, easy snacks and meal ideas to keep you eating healthfully, check out our exclusive recipes by Nat from Sneaky Mommies.
Mother of toddlers, foodie at heart, city-loving, blogger, writer, marketing specialist, and overall busy-bee, that is Christina Chandra in a nutshell. Christina lives in Vancouver where she is a freelance writer & marketing specialist, and also blogs at ChristinaChandra.com. In her spare time, you can find her exploring local eateries, cafes and local hot spots.