Healthy Foods That You Can Snack on While Breastfeeding

Healthy snacking ideas to satisfy breastfeeding hunger pangs

Everyone has heard of the pregnant woman cliché who crankily demands a tub of ice-cream in the middle of the night. In reality, the scenario is pretty similar for a breastfeeding mum. As you work overtime as a milk machine, you also work up a pretty large appetite. Hunger pangs are the body’s way of refilling what its losing. Not honoring that can leave you depleted, low on energy, lacking nutrition, a whole lot more sleep deprived. While it’s easy to reach out for the sweet-laden carb-rich snack, we recommended stocking up on healthier snacks that will be more nourishing. Here are some excellent ideas to help you snack healthy and kill your breastfeeding hunger pangs.

When should you eat snacks?

Newborns should be fed on demand, which means that they should be fed whenever they are hungry. This is why mothers should be well-nourished. As breastfeeding takes up a lot of energy, it is natural for a mother to feel hungry very often. Eating small bites between two meals like mid-morning, evening and late evening snacks is quite helpful. Babies often breastfeed during the night. Research indicates that this is because more breastmilk is produced during the night and especially around dawn. Apart from a higher quantity, nighttime breastmilk also contains sleep-inducing as well as brain-boosting hormones that help children develop sleep and hunger cycles. So, if you are wondering if you should eat at night while breastfeeding, then you must know that staying awake will naturally make you feel hungry. This is why it is vital to nourish yourself. 

Snacking strategies

Snacking can sometimes lead to overeating which is why it is important to understand the difference between snacking and binge eating. Here are a few strategies that can help you snack in a healthy manner:

  1. Stock up on healthy snacks: Stocking up on healthy snacks does not necessarily mean that you must go to a supermarket and fill your trolley with prepackaged breastfeeding snacks. Snacks can be prepared at home using readily available ingredients. Stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables is a good option.
  2. Play around with ingredients: Healthy food conjures up an image of boring and tasteless food, but this is not necessarily true. Healthy can also be exciting and a feast for your taste buds. You can play around with ingredients to prepare refreshing side dips or finger foods that you find appetizing.
  3. Go for healthier options: Choose alternatives that can make food healthier such as baked items instead of deep-fried items. Use whole grain or multigrain flour instead of refined flour. You can alter ingredients or cooking methods to make food healthier.
  4. Check labels: Store-bought breastfeeding snacks may seem very healthy but they may not be so. That is why it is essential to read nutritional labels on packaged food very carefully before buying them off the shelf.

If you are looking for breastfeeding snack recipes that are healthy as well as fun to eat, here are a few options.

Laddu - A healthy laddu prepared with besan, jaggery and dry fruits is a nutritious snack that one can munch on at any time during the day.

Trail mix - A mix of oats, dates, almonds, walnuts and other nuts and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds is a great nutrient-dense snack when you're on the go.

Fenugreek tea - Fenugreek tea or fenugreek soup is an excellent way to incorporate fenugreek into the diet as well as to maintain proper hydration.

Boiled eggs - These are the best snacks to satiate mid-morning hunger pangs. 

Yoghurt - Yoghurt with fruits is a good way to include proteins and vitamins in your diet.

If you are really hard-pressed for time and yearn to get away with some of the packaged snacks available in the market, then opt for frozen or canned fruits. However, keep an eye out for added sugar, artificial flavour, colours and preservatives. 

Laddus and chikkis made of rajgira seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, or flax seeds also make good snacks for breastfeeding mothers. 

Porridges like ragi porridge, dalia with pulses and sooji porridge are good options too. You can also make date and oatmeal cookies or bars that are tasty breastfeeding snacks to have at night.

If you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can choose from easy-to-make options like anjeer barfi and panjiri. A traditional sweet made of figs, mixed nuts and sesame seeds, anjeer barfi is a quick and easy snack that is rich in iron. Panjiri is a snack made of wheat flour, jaggery, coconut powder, nuts, gondh, ghee and melon seeds. This recipe can be modified using locally available ingredients. 

Along with keeping healthy snacks handy, it is also important to keep yourself hydrated by drinking atleast 6-8 glasses of water every day. It is also advisable to restrict caffeine intake and avoid alcohol during breastfeeding.