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Healthy Postpartum Snacks (20 Ideas)

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. 

mom kissing newborn baby in bed

I’m currently in my second postpartum period. But I also think the postpartum period is longer than we think.

I still consider myself postpartum, though Hannah is almost one year old. Similarly, I still think of my running as postpartum running even though I’m a year out. Thankfully, it is much different than my running in the third trimester.

A study published in the Journal of Prenatal Medicine defines the postpartum period as having three distinct phases:

  1. Initial or acute period – 6-12 hours after delivery
  2. Subacute postpartum period – 2-6 weeks after delivery
  3. 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!

black plate with quinoa, grains, chicken and veggies

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!

frozen labeled storage bag of cookie dough bites

Some of what I share will be healthy snacks for breastfeeding (but if you want more lactation snacks or lactation smoothies, I’ve got posts on those too)! These are my top 5 favorite healthy breastfeeding snacks

But, they can also apply to moms and families who formula feed, too. There’s no judgment either way.

Lastly, a great resource on all things pregnancy and postpartum nutrition is Lily Nichols, who is the author of Real Food for Pregnancy

List of Easy Postpartum Snacks

Healthy Postpartum Snacks

These healthy snacks for new moms can work as healthy snacks while breastfeeding or just when you need quick, portable options with a new born or little ones!

Let me know what some of your favorite lactation snacks or healthy snacks postpartum were!

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