My 12 Favorite Snacks for Nursing Moms

My 12 Favorite Snacks for Nursing Moms

Breastfeeding is a big job and as such, snacks for nursing moms are essential! Not only is making breastmilk physically demanding, but it can be mentally and emotionally demanding as well. Many mamas are feeding their babies around the clock and may additionally be dealing with issues like; nipple pain, clogged ducts, milk blebs, undersupply, oversupply, latch problems, the list goes on. The point being, breastfeeding takes a lot of energy; physically, mentally and emotionally. 

So nursing mamas need snacks! Lots and lots of nourishing snacks. 

I want to share my 12 favorite snacks for nursing moms here;

  1. Pretzels or veggies with hummus
  2. Celery with peanut butter and raisins
  3. Cottage cheese with crackers or chips
  4. Brie and crackers
  5. Homemade granola bars with Zoi Plain Greek Yogurt
  6. Yogurt peanut butter banana bites
  7. Protein shake
  8. Simple salad
  9. Edamame
  10. Custom trail mix
  11. Banana Veggie Pancakes
  12. Fruit salad

How Much Should Breastfeeding Moms Eat?

As I think about what I need to eat in a day while breastfeeding, I find the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intake calculator quite helpful. You can enter your stage of lactation, age, weight, height and activity level and the calculator will give you a nutrient profile and how many calories you need in a day.

I was surprised to see how much fiber, fat, protein and water it calculated I need as a lactating mama. According to the DRI calculator, I should be consuming about 400 extra calories per day as I’m breastfeeding my 9 month old baby. This is more or less how many extra calories many nursing mamas need, but it depends on different variables that the DRI calculator accounts for.

It’s hard to know exactly how much 400 extra calories is in terms of food. I’ve never been a calorie counter, so I googled how 400 calories translates to different foods. Heath Mangieri Nutrition shares what 400 calories looks like and compares nutrient rich foods with less nourishing foods.

Getting a visual of how different foods add up to 400 or so calories made me realize that in order to get all my recommended nutrients in and stay within a 400 cal range, I need to have relatively healthy and easy to prepare snacks on hand. And obviously eat well balanced meals too.

So the snacks I share here are meant to easily fit into a busy and hectic day, while simultaneously providing necessary calories and decent nutrients for breastfeeding mamas.

My 12 Favorite Snacks for Nursing Moms

As a hungry and busy nursing mom, I graze on these snacks throughout the day in between meals. Or let’s be honest, sometimes they are my meals. So I do not eat perfectly everyday, but I’m always trying to do better!

Please note that I am not a dietician or medical professional. What I share below is what works for me, but may not work for everyone. Listen to your body and your own qualified physician for customized snacking ♡.

1. Pretzels or Veggies with Hummus

I love pretzels (GF or regular) with a good balsamic hummus. It’s a quick tasty snack that creates zero dirty dishes! You can simply stick a bunch of pretzels in a hummus container and you’re good to go. 

pretzels dipped in hummus
And nutritionally, hummus offers nursing moms a boost of protein and fiber. It does have a lot of sodium however, so all things in moderation. While I primarily eat my hummus with pretzels, I try to throw in a carrot and celery stick every so often too for added fiber and vitamins and minerals.

2. Celery with Peanut Butter and Raisins

Some peanut butter spread on celery with raisins on top is your classic ants on a log. Crunchy, refreshing and nutritious.

When I’m in a hurry though, I just put a big spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl, throw in some raisins and dig in with a celery stick. Because when it’s go time, who has the energy to finely spread pb and line up raisins? 

healthy snack for nursing mom
WebMD notes that celery is rich with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins (A, C, K, folate, potassium, calcium). Additionally, Milkology explains that nursing moms who don’t have a peanut allergy or family history of one can eat peanut butter and possibly help reduce their baby’s risk of developing a peanut allergy.

3. Cottage Cheese with Crackers

Cottage cheese is a good fueling protein snack. A quarter cup of Trader Joes cottage cheese for example, has 13 grams of protein. And when you’re breastfeeding, some extra protein is important!

In fact, Choice explains that breastfeeding moms need 54-67 grams of protein a day.  And this snack is super easy to gobble up. Cottage cheese on its own? Bleh, no thank you. But used as a dip with some wheat thins or Sun Chips? Yes please! 

easy protein snack for nursing moms

Or if you’re going gluten free or wanting a healthier cracker option, there are tons to choose from. 

And the best thing is no dishes to wash later! Again, snacks for nursing moms need to be simple. Just grab a box of crackers from the pantry and a container of cottage cheese from the fridge and snack away. Or, if you’re on the go, just substitute a string cheese for the cottage cheese and head out the door. 

4.  Brie with Crackers

Plain old saltines with a nice brie cheese seems like an unlikely pairing, but it’s so perfect! I also love brie with Trader Joe’s gluten free Crispbread, which is filled with seeds and oats. 

brie with cracker snack for nursing mom

And who doesn’t want to eat a delicious soft cheese like brie after being told they could not have it while pregnant.

Plus, Healthline labels brie as a nutrient dense food with vitamin b12, riboflavin, calcium, protein and fat. Salumi Pasini Nutrition warns though, that the flavor of brie can transfer to breast milk so a nursing baby may show signs of dislike. Additionally, brie could aggravate skin conditions like baby eczema and it also has a lot of sodium. I have not found either to be true for my baby, but it’s good to be aware of anyways. 

One can certainly have too much of a good thing when it comes to brie, but I love to keep this snack on my list to enjoy in moderation. And again, there are lots of healthy cracker options out there to get some yummy grains and seed in. 

And surprisingly, my 3 year old is a fan of brie as well! So when the brie and crackers come out we can enjoy a snack together.

5. Homemade Apple Oat Granola Bars with Zois Greek Yogurt

It may sound ambitious to make homemade granola bars, but it’s actually very simple! I share these Simple Homemade Granola Bars for Toddlers here, but they are for adults too! While obviously these require a little prep, once they are baked, they are a great grab and go snack (they’re gluten free too). And it actually requires very little time to make them, so there’s really no good excuse not to.

And homemade granola bars just taste so much better than sugary store bought ones. Plus, these ones have a healthy helping of oats. Very Well Family explains that oats are beneficial for breastfeeding mom because the beta-glucan fiber in them helps boost milk supply by increasing a mama’s prolactin hormone levels.

And for a protein boost, I like to dip these homemade granola bars in Zoi Greek yogurt. Zoi plain Greek yogurt is thick and creamy and fluffy and when paired with fresh strawberries or these granola bars, almost tastes like a decadent whipped cream! I don’t usually like yogurt, but I like this plain Zoi stuff. 

homemade granola bar snack

6. Protein Shake

Mixing some protein powder in with a plant based milk and a banana is an easy way to get an extra dose of protein. 

protein powder container

I like simple vanilla flavored protein powders mixed with soy milk and a banana. I’ve tried protein powders that have added greens and prebiotics as well, but I find it hard to get those down.

7. Simple Salad

When the days are busy and filled with jumping from task to task with children, it can feel hard to get your greens in. Who has time to put together a decadent salad and sit down and eat it? If your salad is simple enough though, it is actually very easy to get those greens in!

Throw some lettuce into a bowl, sprinkle on some sliced almonds and feta cheese, and then drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar all over. That takes about 2 minutes. Maybe less. And if you’re feeling like putting in another minute or two, this simple salad is delicious with some chopped up apple pieces. 

simple salad for busy nursing moms
And I have found that a light salad provides some refreshing fuel that doesn’t put me into a food coma, especially when I’m getting the afternoon sleepies and I’m trying to keep up with my toddler and baby.

8. Edamame

This is such an easy and nutritious snack to prepare and is one of my favorite simple snacks for nursing moms. And it only takes as long as it takes you to pull a bag out of the freezer, jiggle out some frozen edamame onto a plate and pop it into the microwave for a minute or two. 

plate of edamame
Eating Well explains that edamame is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Edamame also has a low glycemic index (good for keeping blood sugar levels in check) and may help prevent osteoporosis and manage high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

9. Customized Trail Mix

Taking a little time to make a container of your favorite trail mix fixing can really pay off when you just need to grab a quick handful of something to snack on. I like to put dark chocolate chips, chopped up dried fig pieces, almond slices, toasted coconut flakes, toasted coconut flakes, gf mini pretzels and Chex cereal squares in mine.

homemade trail mix

Interestingly, I developed a strong craving for dark chocolate after I started breastfeeding. I never liked dark chocolate before becoming a mom, but now it tastes so delicious to me. I have heard this from other nursing mothers as well, so want to sure a little side note on dark chocolate since it must be included in my trail mix!

So in bad news, apparently some dark chocolate has high levels of cadmium and lead. Major bummer. Consumer Reports shares which chocolate bars have these higher levels. Since I eat a lot of dark chocolate, I’ll definitely only be buying chocolate bar brands on Consumer Reports “safer choices” list now. Ghiradelli’s 86% cacao bar is on the safer choice list, so I’ll be switching to that! I guess it’s too late for me when it comes to all those Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars I have eaten.

I also want to share a quick note on dried figs since they are also particular to my postpartum life. For any mommas who experienced the same unfortunate bum problems as me (postpartum anal fissures and hemmorhoids, insert ugh and eye roll), figs can help keep stools regular and soft. So, if you’re juggling the unpleasant rear end issues of motherhood and breastfeeding, figs in your trail mix can’t be overlooked!

10. Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Banana Bites

Mix up a dollop of peanut butter in some plain Greek yogurt, dip some banana slices in the mixture, and sprinkle them all with crushed chocolate chips. Then just line these up on a small tray or plate and let them freeze for a couple of hours before they’re ready to eat. 

peanut butter greek yogurt banana bites
These are a refreshing little treat, and your toddler will probably love them too!

11. Banana Zucchini Pancakes

These banana pancakes take some initial prep work, but if you make a big batch you can pop some in the freezer for a grab, toast and go snack later. The simple ingredients (eggs, a little gf or regular flour, shredded zucchini and banana) make these little pancakes taste so wholesome. And the banana makes them sweet enough that you don’t need to add any syrup and can just eat them as is.

Also, my toddler is obsessed with these so I can make a big batch all at once for the both of us! Sometimes we leave the zucchini out if we don’t have one in the fridge, or add blueberries, so these are versatile depending on what add in you have or don’t have in your fridge. 

banana pancakes

12. Plain Old Fresh Fruit

I love having lots of delicious fresh fruit readily available. Apples, grapes, mandarins, berries, bananas and pears are all easy fruits to keep on hand. Luckily my toddler is obsessed with fruit, so I often have it out anyway at meal and snack times so it’s easy to get some bites of it in myself.

I have also started becoming more intentional about eating fresh fruit though and making colorful fruit salads that are a tasty treat. And on a side note, if you haven’t invested in a grape slicer, do it! It’s oddly satisfying slicing those grapes so perfectly and quickly, and most importantly I don’t worry about grapes being a choking hazard for my littles when sliced up. 

grape slicer to prevent toddler choking

Lots of Water

While not a snack obviously, I want to highlight the importance of drinking water throughout the day in-between meals and snacks. I always make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. If you are a mama suffering from Postpartum Fissures or hemorrhoids, you know that keeping things moving smoothly is very important. Water helps.

brie with cracker snack for nursing mom
Bought myself the trendy Stanley tumbler and love it!

Additionally, WebMd states that breastfeeding mothers need 128 oz of water per day. Whoa, that seems like a lot. Not sure if I’m there yet, but I get to almost 90 oz from my trusty Stanley tumbler everyday, and probably get another good amount just through foods with a higher water content and other drinks.

Stocking up on Snacks

Sometimes I rifle through our cupboards and fridge and feel like there’s nothing to eat. Making this list though, and keeping a grocery list on my phone of everything needed for the above snacks helps ensure I always have something decent to snack on.
 Toddler play grocery shopping

Feel free to copy and paste my grocery snack list into your own! This list has everything you need to make all the snacks shared above. In review, we have;

  1. Pretzels or veggies with hummus
  2. Celery with peanut butter and raisins
  3. Cottage cheese with crackers or chips
  4. Brie and crackers
  5. Homemade granola bars with Zoi Plain Greek Yogurt
  6. Yogurt peanut butter banana bites
  7. Protein shake
  8. Simple salad
  9. Edamame
  10. Custom trail mix
  11. Banana Veggie Pancakes
  12. Fruit salad

Grocery List: Snacks for Nursing Moms

  • Hummus
  • Pretzels
  • Celery
  • Peanut butter
  • Raisins
  • Cottage cheese
  • Crackers or chips (eg Wheat Thins, Saltines, Sun Chips, rice crackers)
  • Brie
  • Zois Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Homemade Granola Bar ingredients (unsweetened applesauce, oats, cinnamon, raisins)
  • Bananas
  • Vanilla protein powder
  • Soy milk
  • Lettuce
  • Oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • Feta cheese
  • Frozen edamame
  • Honey Chex cereal
  • Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
  • Dried figs
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Eggs
  • Zucchini
  • Flour (GF or regular)
  • Seasonal fresh fruit

I hope this list of snacks for nursing moms is helpful! Please share any other delicious snack ideas in the comments below. Happy snacking!


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