Quick and Healthy Snacks for Nursing Moms

Although you could eat a relatively unhealthy diet while nursing and still provide your baby with healthy breastmilk it is important for YOUR health to eat properly. You need to consume an additional 500 calories per day while nursing and more with twins. It is important to eat when you are hungry and drink when thirsty.

Several studies have shown that vitamin supplements may actually be doing more harm than good so it's critical that you eat a diet high in fruits, raw vegetables and grains in order to preserve or improve and extend the quality of your life.

In general try to avoid foods that contain additives like colorings, artificial flavorings, preservatives, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (the source of trans fats), saturated fat, sugar, high fructose or regular corn syrup, or flour. See www.fedupwithfoodadditives for more information on what and why to avoid.

Please note many of these foods are not appropriate if you are following an elimination diet. Also if your baby suffers from reflux you may find that dairy, citrus, tomatoes and spicy foods aggravate his reflux.

Some healthy quick snacks to eat while nursing (or anytime) are:

  • Pre-baked sweet or regular potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator and re-heated in the microwave at a moment's notice. Choose healthy toppings like cottage cheese or shredded cheese, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes or salsa. Sweet potatoes are great drizzled with fresh orange juice or sprinkled with sea salt.
  • Yogurt - it is better to choose plain yogurt and mix in real fruit. Pre-mixed varieties contain food colorings or lots of sugar and the fruit is so processed you may as well not eat it at all.
  • Hard boiled eggs - boil by the dozen then label them and put them back in the same carton in the fridge. They should last for several weeks. Add plain whole milk yogurt, mustard and paprika to make egg salad.
  • Granola - Layer a parfait with granola, yogurt and fresh fruit. To make granola mix 4 cups old fashioned oats with 2 cups coconut and 2 cups slivered almonds. Stir together 1 cup honey, 2 tablespoons molasses and 3/4 cup vegetable oil. Coat dry mixture well. Pour onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to partially cool before breaking up. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks. You will never buy granola again once you've tasted this!
  • Whole grain toast topped with almond butter and banana. Peanut butter is not recommended because it is one of the highest allergen causing foods. By delaying its introduction to your infant through your breast milk you can decrease the odds that your child will develop an allergy or intolerance to peanuts.
  • Omelets take only minutes to make. Using cottage cheese as a filler saves time shredding harder cheeses. It tastes great and provides more protein with less fat.
  • Cottage cheese combined with fruits like fresh or canned peaches, mandarin oranges or pineapple.
  • Tortilla chips that contain no flour or trans fats, dipped into cottage cheese or salsa.
  • Low fat, low sodium Triscuits contain whole grain and trans fats. Top with cottage or mozzarella cheese to keep the fat content down.
  • Fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil salad - cubed then drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic then sprinkled with sea salt and topped with fresh basil sprigs.
  • Lightly steamed veggies and red potatoes drizzled with vinaigrette and sprinkled with sea salt.
  • Raw veggies dipped in whole milk yogurt with a small amount of powdered ranch dressing added.
  • Fruit and Yogurt smoothies - Try a banana/strawberry or pumpkin/banana combo.
  • Freshly made vegetable juices - These cannot be made ahead of time or the nutrients will dissipate. My favorite is apple/beet/carrot/ginger/celery/parsley but you are only limited by your palate and imagination.
  • Old-fashioned oatmeal - add one peeled, chopped apple and a dash of cinnamon then cook covered without stirring for 10 minutes. Stir in a dash of vanilla and brown sugar or honey to taste.
  • Remember - in order to take care of others you must first take care of yourself.

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