Since I’m such a big proponent of snacking (and an avid snacker myself – remember that my nickname in college was “snacks”?), I figured detailing a post on healthy postpartum snacks would be beneficial.
I remember two days after having our VBAC home birth, our lovely doula, Lindsay, came by bringing lentil soup. A great anti-inflammatory soup (great for hydration, too!) to help with recovery and healing. I was all about it.
And then my husband made me my beloved baby french toast for the morning and I felt well fed and well cared for.
I’m currently in my second postpartum period. But I also think the postpartum period is longer than we think.
Initial or acute period – 6-12 hours after delivery
Subacute postpartum period – 2-6 weeks after delivery
Delayed postpartum period, which can last up to 6 months
Personally, as a mom, I think we’re always “postpartum” to some extent, but we are likely much more vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies in the early stages if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Preparing healthy snacks for moms should be the norm!
While this post will mostly focus on the best postpartum snacks, I have a whole post on the best freezer meals for postpartum, too, where I share many postpartum recipes.
And breakfast can be hit or miss because you’re likely exhausted from the sleep deprivation and have no energy to make anything. Adapt some of these ideas for breakfasts for athletes, because energy needs will be similar to a high training athlete for recovery.
The main gist is to aim for a balanced plate, quality protein and ample healthy fats and antioxidants. All of this will help support repair and recovery!
What Makes A Healthy Postpartum Snack?
Nutritionally speaking, let’s talk about what makes up easy postpartum snacks that are also nutrient dense. While we generally think of mostly fruits and vegetables as “healthy,” postpartum snacks will need to be more energy dense.
Here’s what you want to think about in your eating occasions.
Note that the quantities of what’s listed below may change depending on what phase of postpartum you are in, and if you are chasing around other kids, resuming activity, etc.
Nutrition is never black and white.
Calories – In the early postpartum period, our calorie needs are higher. We’re trying to replenish the marathon that is birth. Looking for low calorie snacks isn’t going to cut it. You need calories for energy to survive the blur that is the newborn stage. I generally recommend 200-300 calories for a snack.
Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are the body’s quickest source of energy. So while you likely aren’t sleeping a ton in the early weeks and months, carbohydrates can give you more energy during the day and prevent your blood sugar from dipping too much. Opt for complex carbohydrates and whole grains when available.
Protein – Protein is the satiation factor, plus it tends to offer an array of micronutrients, from zinc to iron to B-Vitamins and more (depending on which sources you choose!)
Fat – Do people still think eating fat will make you fat? Fat is essential in the diet and is very important for our brain health, too. Focusing on mostly unsaturated fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids (I love this liquid omega 3 for absorption) boasts several nutrient benefits, and if breastfeeding, can carry over to the baby.
Fiber – Whether you’re on an iron supplement due to blood loss postpartum, or the hormone imbalance or stress is causing constipation, eating enough fiber is imperative postpartum. Fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies and whole grains, also offer several important micronutrients as well. Fruits, veggies, oatmeal bites and bars are great sources of fiber.
Antioxidants – It makes sense that there is inflammation in the body. We just carried a baby for 9+ months and gave birth. Our hormones are very confused, and we have to focus on healing. Making sure to include an array of colors on your plate!
Hydration – Of course, it’s always important to stay hydrated and include electrolytes too, especially if it’s the hot summer months (use these summer hydration tips) or you’re waking up with night sweats in the early weeks (I know I was)! I prefer to make homemade electrolyte drinks and skip the extra sugary Gatorade and Powerade, though I have heard that certain flavors may help with milk production.
Healthy no bake snacks are great for many of the above because you make them once and then reap the benefits later. Plus, you can even make a bunch to freeze for later.
I thrived on these as lactation snacks. I also relied on tons of greek yogurt smoothie recipes as the best snacks for breastfeeding because they can help meet your hydration needs too. Breastfeeding makes you SO thirsty!
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins are a tasty, portable snack option for your little ones. These zucchini and sweet potato muffins are full of veggies and provide a dairy-free option for those who need it
Strawberry Banana Chickpea Flour Muffins are light and fluffy, yet high in protein. These chickpea flour muffins are gluten-free and ready in 30 minutes. They are perfect for on-the-go snacks and kids.
This bright hued sweet potato beet smoothie is the best post workout smoothie recipe. Made with mango, beets and sweet potatoes, it's antioxidant rich, and helps replenish and restore your muscles to expedite recovery.
These vegan trail mix bars are great for athletes on the go, as a pre or post workout snack. Made with oats, maple syrup, peanut butter and nuts, raisins, and hemp seeds, these wholesome vegan trail mix bars are easy make ahead snacks!
Frozen cookie dough bites made with sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, peanut butter and maple syrup are the best homemade cookie dough bites. Just take them out of the freezer and enjoy these no bake cookie dough bites frozen!
Cherry Chocolate Coconut Milk Chia Pudding is a great way to use those summer cherries. Great as a breakfast, snack or dessert, this coconut chia seed pudding recipe with cherries and chocolate is an easy vegan dessert. Add whipped cream if you'd like!
Blueberry Banana Bread with chia seeds makes a great base for a sweet breakfast or on-the-go snack. Made with fruit, chia seeds, oat flour and half the sugar, it's a wholesome, healthy option for the whole family.
This Healthy Sweet Potato Bread with Blueberries will quickly become your favorite holiday staple and will impress your guests. This sweet potato quick bread combines the flavors of fresh, fall sweet potatoes with wild blueberries to create a slightly tart yet sweet, moist, fluffy bread.
Let me know what some of your favorite lactation snacks or healthy snacks postpartum were!