Keep your energy levels up when your baby is feeding with these easy snacks
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, your body is working hard to produce milk, so you’re going to need all the energy you can get as it actually burns extra calories on top of your daily needs. ‘The same healthy eating guidelines apply to breastfeeding mums as normal women except that your energy requirements will be increased due to milk production,’ says Dr Emma B. Williams from The British Nutrition Foundation.
It’s vital you’re stocked up with plenty of healthy snacks, dishes and drinks. ‘Breastfeeding mothers can feel hungry quite often, which is perfectly normal, but it means that that you should be eating an extra 500-600kcal per day,’ says Emma.
Pick out some of these foods to snack on through the day…
Breastfeeding can be very tiring, so make sure you’re eating starchy carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up. ‘Pick potatoes, rice or pasta, but go for wholemeal versions, as they’ll keep your digestive system healthy,’ says Emma. You could have a small pot of potato salad, a slice of wholemeal toast with sliced banana on or a small portion of rice salad.
For on-the-go snacks, you can’t beat a piece of fresh fruit. Bananas are the ultimate portable snack as they just need peeling and you can eat them straight away, but apples, satsumas or a small bunch of grapes will also give you an energy and nutrients boost.
Nutrients from fish, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are passed onto your baby through your breast milk, so including regular portions is good for you both. ‘Try some tinned mackerel or sardines mixed with cream cheese and spread on toast or crackers for a quick and easy snack,’ says Emma.
Make up snack pots of carrots or sliced peppers and have with a few spoonfuls of houmous. Sliced cucumber is great because it has a high water content, so perfect for rehydrating you while you breastfeed. ‘You could also try a small bowl or cup of vegetable soup, which will fill you up and keep you going for a few hours,’ says Emma.
Meat or eggs
Boost your protein intake and keep you feeling fuller for longer, with a small portion of eggs – go for hardboiled – or meat. You can buy small packs of cooked chicken which is great as a snack on its own, or served in a small sandwich.
Aim for at least two servings of dairy per day. Go for a glass of milk – perfect for having with you when you sit down for a feed or a chunk of cheese. ‘You could also have a pot of yogurt, but watch out for varieties that are very high in sugar,’ says Emma.
Nuts and seeds
An excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds are an ideal snack as you can keep a handful of them in your bag when you’re out and about.
Rich in iron, dried fruit is a great snack to have to hand when breastfeeding. ‘Try raisins, prunes or apricots,’ says Emma.
Drinking plenty of fluids is extremely important when you’re breastfeeding as you are of course, giving up plenty of fluids each time you feed. ‘It’s recommended that breastfeeding women drink 700ml extra per day, which is about four extra glasses,’ says Emma. ‘Make sure you always have a drink beside you when you are breastfeeding. Water, milk and unsweetened fruit juice are good options to choose.’ Try fennel tea as a study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found it could help aid milk supply.
What snacks do you like tucking into when you're breastfeeding? Let us know in the comment box below.