Hi everyone! Today we’re sharing some go-to nutritional meals for all of the nursing mamas out there from our friend and new mama herself, Lauren Gores Ireland of You & Lu. Below you’ll find some helpful tips and delicious recipes with your post-baby body in mind…
Early motherhood is a mega transition—both emotionally and physically—and I think all nursing mamas need natural ways to boost both their mood and milk supply. In those early days of nursing, I found myself feeling mentally depleted and constantly hungry. I called on my friend and longtime nutritionist Kelly LeVeque for help guiding me through changing my diet so that I was naturally boosting my milk supply while satisfying my ongoing hunger.
Nursing is like a serious workout that’s happening all day long (as in, you burn between 400-600 calories merely breastfeeding). Hence, why new moms may feel like they’re always starving. The solution? FAT.
“Fat is one of the best ways to curb hunger because it triggers the release of our satiety hormone and slows the digestion of our meals, helping us to feel more satisfied,” Kelly says. “Think healthy fats like egg yolks, tree nuts, and omega-3 rich salmon.”
More specifically, here are foods Kelly loves for breastfeeding moms (and yes, even chocolate makes the list)! Plus, keep reading for specific meal and snack ideas based on Kelly’s favorite foods…
Salmon, Grass-Fed Beef, and Bison
Omega-3 fats keep you full while reducing anxiety. Kelly says salmon can support your baby’s brain and retina development via breastmilk, while also giving you a boost, too… “Salmon can help you balance the changes happening in your body by delivering a good dose of DHA which is linked to lower rates of postpartum and interim depression.”
This nutrient-packed food majorly reduces hunger pangs. Adding just half an avocado to lunch makes you 40-percent less hungry three hours after your meal. Plus, Kelly reminds us that avocados regulate blood sugar levels, which can help keep your mood steady (and let’s be real, #MOMLIFE can make us all moody).
Cucumbers and Spinach
Magnesium-rich greens like cucumber and spinach are key for new mamas. Kelly continues to tell me Magnesium calms the nervous system and regulates the release of serotonin (AKA, the “happy hormone”). I try to load up on cucumbers and spinach in my morning protein smoothie.
Almonds make a great snack for new moms, because they contain healthy fats and they’re loaded with zinc (hooray)! Zinc helps fight inflammation post-pregnancy, and keeps us healthy. Kelly says, “Zinc increases the body’s ability to fight viruses such as the common cold.”
UMM, thank goodness chocolate makes this list of Kelly-approved foods! Lean toward dark chocolate to get the most out of your sweet treat. Chocolate improves your mood and decreases anxiety and depression.
As a new (and exhausted!) mama, I remind myself this process is a lot less about dieting post-pregnancy, and a lot more about giving your body what it needs to feel its best. If you find yourself craving carbs, you’re not alone! This is normal while nursing. I gravitate toward butternut squash, sweet potatoes and gluten-free pasta. PLUS, oatmeal is a great way to naturally boost milk production.
Here’s what I’ll typically have in a day while I’m still nursing…
I follow Kelly’s BeWell Smoothie recipe, while making a few additions to specifically increase milk supply. Oats and Flaxseed are great ways to encourage the production of more milk.
- 1 serving vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 Tbsp almond butter
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 2 cups almond milk (+ ice)
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 Tbsp flaxseed
- 1 Tbsp oats
I’ll snack on a cup of almonds or a spoonful of nut butter. Nuts will satisfy a growling stomach without spiking your blood sugar.
I usually load up on my greens at lunchtime. I’ll include grilled chicken or steak, along with half an avocado and sunflower seeds. You can also top your salad with flaxseed to continue boosting milk supply. I’ll oftentimes make a cup of gluten-free pasta as a side.
Salmon is packed with omega 3’s, which is especially great for nursing moms. I’ll have it with a side of greens and butternut squash. Other dinner favorites include grass-fed beef and zoodle Bolognese.
I’ll make chocolate-dipped cashews topped with sea salt to satisfy my sweets craving. Dark chocolate bars are another great option — my personal favorite is Hu Chocolate. It’s vegan and paleo, and comes in several flavors. You can also see Kelly’s recipe for her guilt-free fudge bars here.
Thank you Lauren for sharing these helpful and nutritious tips for all of the nursing mamas out there! If you’d like to see more lifestyle content from her, be sure to check out Lauren’s blog, You & Lu, here!
If you’re a new mama, be sure to let us know any tips that you found helpful in your fourth trimester in the comments below!
XO Team LC