being a mom
7 Secretly Healthy Foods That Helped Me to Survive Breastfeeding
Everyone talks about how leafy greens, lentils, chick peas, oats and water are great meal choices when breastfeeding, or for any hungry mama. Like, yeah, no doi, vegetables are good for you. But what about the other foods that people never mention? Like pizza? Here are a handful of foods that I ate to get me through some of the hardest months of my life. I’m not a nutritionist and I know nothing about dieting. In fact, I’m a few pounds overweight and diabetes runs on one side of my family. On the flip side, I did lose my pregnancy weight plus 10 pounds in less than 2 months after delivery. Do you really want to sit around eating leafy greens all day? If yes, then this article isn’t for you. But if you’ve had it with chia seeds, fresh organic tomatoes, and farina and you just want some food suggestions to get you through 3-6 months of breastfeeding hell until it gets a little easier, enjoy this list of healthy food for breastfeeding.
Here’s some options for healthy food for breastfeeding that will keep your boobs full and your tummy happy:
1. Nut Butter
In the early days of breastfeeding, I’d wake up starving and not know if it was 9 PM or 2 AM. All I knew was that the baby was asleep, for who knows how long, and that it might be enough time for to run to the kitchen to pour something down my face, fast, before he realized that I was gone. That’s where Justin’s Maple Almond Butter comes in. Sure, the stuff is pricey, but it costs less than a night of Chinese take-out and is secretly good for you when you’re burning 7 miles worth of calories a day. I’d peel a banana and dip it into that ooey gooey jar of goodness and take a bite, dip and bite, dip and bite until the thing was gone. It’s kind of fun to finish a jar. I’d never done that before until I was breastfeeding. I couldn’t eat almond butter like that when I wasn’t breastfeeding, because I wasn’t running marathons on the regs and hadn’t given up on life, but it got me through the hard days of breastfeeding with aplomb. Also, a serving size is 2 tablespoons, which is a very filling, yummy glob.
2. Chocolate Bars
NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt bars are my jam. They are delicious, satisfying, human, not pigmy sized snack bars. The mint ones are OK, too, even if they do taste a little like depressed Thin Mints. They are only .99 cents each, too. You can’t even buy an actual candy bar for .99 cents anymore; a Snickers will run $1.29 at Rite Aid. I’m embarrassed that I know that. But I do. NuGo bars are high in protein, so they say, and very portable, durable and really tasty. I’d stick one in the baby’s diaper bag when I was headed out and did not even for one little tiny second feel badly about eating it in 1.5 bites on the street in front of passers by, just like a human anaconda.
3. Chocolate Cake
Have you ever had a slice of chocolate cake or a square of bread pudding on top of oatmeal? Yeah, I’m crazy like that. I learned I could put pretty much anything on top of any kind of oats to make a not boring, tasty and filling meal. Not to mention, as a starving lactating person, I really appreciated the fact that one serving of oatmeal is ½ a cup, which amounts to a pretty huge heaping bowl of food equalling only about 120 calories. Plenty of leftover calories for a slice of apple crumb pie and screw it, a scoop of ice cream, too.
4. Waffles or Pancakes
I have a waffle maker. Yeah, I said it. I bought it for my “husband for Christmas” and we have waffles every Sunday, except sometimes I make pancakes instead of waffles. We use Arrowhead Mills multigrain mix so that when we add dark chocolate chips, blueberries, maple syrup and whipped cream to the tower, we can pretend it’s diet food with all those whole grains, the dairy and fiber. It’s not exactly healthy, though I could eat a lot worse things, and it filled up this lactating mama faster than I could say, “more pancakes, please”.
There are more damaging things to eat in the world than bread, cheese and tomato sauce with some veggies or meat on top. But I make my own pizza at home, because at least then I truly know what’s in it. Once when I was high on lack of sleep and mama lion hormones, I grated a cauliflower head into crumbles (they even sell packages of this pre-crumbled now) and mixed it with equal parts shredded cheese, some olive oil and one egg. I formed it into a crust-like looking blob and cooked it at 350 for about 10 minutes. Once it looked something like a pizza crust, I took it out and topped it with cheese, veggies, pesto and popped it back into the oven. Yes, that’s right, I put cheese on the cheese. Then I cooked it for a few more minutes and ate the hell out of it. I ate it like my life depended on it, because it kind of felt like it did when my main daily duty was to boob feed a newborn.
Did I say guacamole? I meant I just ripped an avocado open with my teeth and ate the innards with a spoon. High in good fat and calories, those suckers kept me satisfied for some time. Avocado toast is another solid way I got useful nutrients into myself quickly. I didn’t even bother with the whole “toasting” aspect. Who has time for that? I just smooshed the avocado onto something resembling bread, sprinkled a little salt and pepper on it, unhinged my jaw and consumed it in one gargantuan bite.
7. Chocolate Milkshake
1 banana, 1 cup of any kind of milk, 1 handful ice, 1 handful any kind of frozen or fresh fruit like banana, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, dates, whatever. 1-2 scoops of yogurt, 1 tablespoon peanut butter or handful of nuts, 1-2 heaping teaspoons of cocoa powder. Blend. This awesome shake satisfied my sweet tooth and hunger pangs, as well as delivered healthy nutrients and goodness to my body. The cool thing about this too was that any errant piece of fruit or last handful of granola or raisins in the bag could be tossed in there and it somehow worked. Carrots, why don’t you just go suck it?
OK, that’s my list of fun calorie dense but nutritious foods that I ate to help satisfy my starving mommy self, especially before or after breastfeeding but any other time, as well. I love salad and eats tons of veggies too, but that’s not the only way to provide healthy milk-making ingredients to a mom system. That’s all I’m saying. That and nom, nom, nom.
What are some of your go to healthy foods for breastfeeding? Let us know in the comments and share a recipe if you have it!
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(Image: iStock / Halfpoint)