Healthy Snacks Ideas for Postpartum Women
Depending on many different factors (mom’s pregnancy diet, short intervals between pregnancies, higher than normal blood loss during delivery, to name a few) there is the possibility that certain body nutrient stores may need to be repleted, postpartum. Making sure you have healthy snacks on hand can help boost your energy, as well as provide the opportunity to get the extra nutrients your body needs. Additionally, adequate fluid intake, particularly for breastfeeding women is an important element of overall, good nutrition.
When putting together a snack, think complex carbohydrate – fresh fruit, vegetables, or whole grains – along with some protein. The carbohydrates give your body immediate energy and nutrients, while the protein gives you lasting, satisfying fullness as well as the building blocks your body needs to stay healthy.
Below are some ideas for your next snack. Choose one protein (top bullet) plus one of the complex carbohydrate options below it.
Dairy & Eggs
- 2% cottage cheese with…
- Fresh fruit such as: melon, pineapple, or berries
- ¼ cup salsa mixed in PLUS fresh cut vegetables, such as: cut bell pepper or cucumber. Use the vegetables to scoop up the cottage cheese dip.
- Low fat or fat free
ricotta cheese with…
- 1 bell pepper, sliced into quarters. Divide ricotta cheese between the bell pepper ‘boats’ and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- 1 – 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, a drizzle of maple syrup (optional) PLUS fresh cut fruit.
- Hummus mixed in PLUS vegetables to dip
- Greek or regular
unsweetened yogurt with…
- Fresh or frozen berries
- Toasted wheat germ or sprinkle of granola
- Sliced banana PLUS chia seeds, flax seeds or chopped nuts
- Cheese with…
- 1 whole fruit
- 1 whole grain English muffin
- Fresh cut veggies, such as: sugar snap peas, baby carrots, bell peppers, jicama
- Whole grain crackers
- Mini Egg Omelet (or 1 hard
boiled / scrambled egg) with…
- 1 piece of fruit
- 1 whole grain English muffin plus shredded cheese (optional)
- Recipe for 3 Mini Omelets: Whisk together 6 eggs. Add in 1 to 1.5 cups chopped spinach, salt and pepper. Spray or spread oil into 3 muffin tin cups and divide egg mixture between each. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until eggs are set. Keep in the refrigerator and use through the week!
Nuts & Seeds
- Nut butter (peanut,
almond, sunflower, etc) with…
- 1 serving whole grain crackers
- Spread onto a banana, apple, or dates
- 1 slice whole grain toast
- Whole nuts (almonds,
walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pecans, etc) with…
- Dried figs, apricots, raisins, cherries
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh popped popcorn plus dried fruit
- Chopped Apple Salad
- 1 chopped apple mixed with 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, 1 Tbsp raisins, 2-4oz Greek yogurt, plus a dash of cinnamon.
- Cucumber Salad
- 1 chopped cucumber, 1 Tbsp rice or red wine vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp sesame or sunflower seeds
- Hummus with…
- Fresh veggies to dip, such as: carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, cucumber spears, etc
- Whole grain crackers
- Whole wheat English muffin
- Edamame (or other
- Mixed with salsa and topped with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt
- Sprinkled with salt and lemon (as well as other herbs and spices if preferred)
- Chopped Bean Salad
- Ingredients: 1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, 1 (15oz) can black beans, 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen/defrosted), 1 cup chopped carrots, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional), salt and pepper.
- Directions: Rinse and drain beans. Toss all ingredients together and keep refrigerated in a closed container to use throughout the week.
- Chocolate Delight: ½ cup milk or milk alternative, ½ cup silken tofu (or 4 oz plain Greek yogurt), 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 Banana
- Avocado Freeze: ½ avocado, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice.
- Berry-Licious: ½ cup milk or milk alternative, ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup frozen berries, 1 Tbsp toasted wheat germ.
- Orange Monster: 2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup canned pumpkin, banana (frozen), ½ tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp cinnamon.
- Greek Monster: 1 cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup water (as needed for consistency), 1 banana, 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach or baby kale.
- Peanut Butter: ½ cup milk or milk alternative, ½ cup silken tofu (or plain Greek yogurt), 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 banana, 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Drink lots of water and if you are breastfeeding, make sure to get 13 cups of water per day!
What to Do
Eat frequently throughout the day
Going too long without eating can lead to feeling overly hungry, which may result in eating more than your body needs. Instead, try to eat every 3-4 hours. If you know you may be out-and-about or working for longer than this time frame, plan ahead by bringing a portable snack with you, or stocking them in your office, such as:
- Whole fruit plus nuts
- Bars made with whole fruits and nuts
- A bag of veggies and hummus
- Fresh popped popcorn plus dried fruit
- Whole grain crackers with nut butter
Keep healthy food stocked and in sight
And foods you’d like to avoid hidden. This way the first thing you see will be your go-to snack items, making you more likely to eat them. Take the time to cut up fruit and chop veggies to leave in the fridge for easy grab and go snacks.
Keeping highly processed snack items behind other foods in cabinets or the refrigerator makes them less accessible. Out of sight, out of mind!
Remember the combination!
Choose a protein (nuts, seeds, yogurt, cheese, eggs, beans) along with a complex carbohydrate (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) for both quick and lasting energy and satiety.
Looking for quick snack ideas?
Choose pre-packed snacks that have a short ingredient list and are primarily whole foods to ensure you’re taking in quality nutrients and lasting energy. Examples:
- Bars made from whole fruits and/or veggies with nuts
- Single-serve hummus or nut butter with pre-cut fruit and veggies
- Nuts and dried fruit with no added sugar
- Popcorn made with healthy oil plus a little salt (optional)
- Small salad bar container full of vegetables, beans, seeds, dried fruit, and an oil-based dressing
When we eat while multitasking we often do not take the time to recognize that we have had enough, leaving us eating more than we may really need in order to satisfy those original hunger pangs. When possible, set aside what you’re doing so that you can focus on eating your snack, even if for just 5 minutes. Giving yourself time to eat without distraction allows you to be mindful of your hunger levels and also enables you to enjoy your food!