The best foods to eat when you’re nursing: Think healthy for you and your baby. Dig into this list!
Hungry much? Probably: Your body needs an extra 500 calories a day when you’re breastfeeding, the equivalent of an extra meal. What you eat, though, is just as important as how much. "You want to eat a wide variety of foods—fruits, vegetables, ones with good protein and calcium," says breastfeeding expert Diane Spatz, Ph.D., the Helen M. Shearer chair in nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "But mostly I want to see moms eating the foods they like."
There are plenty of no-brainer options besides turkey sandwiches. Dietitian Eileen Behan, R.D., author of Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding, shares her recommendations on meals for new moms:
- Frozen whole-wheat waffles topped with yogurt and fresh fruit (skip the syrup; it’s loaded with sugar and empty calories).
- Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast with banana slices.
- Three-minute eggs. Before bed, mix up the ingredients: 2 eggs, milk, grated cheese and chopped tomatoes. In the morning, zap in the microwave for 3 minutes or until the eggs are firm and not runny.
- A bowl of bran cereal. It’s high in zinc (great for breast milk) and fiber (to ease any constipation).
- Orange-cream smoothie. It’s packed with calcium and easy to make: Simply blend one can of frozen orange juice, 1 cup of nonfat powdered milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, water and ice cubes. (Serves 3)
- Bean and veggie salad. Mix protein-rich kidney beans with black olives, cooked broccoli, and rotini pasta. Toss together with Italian dressing.
- Mini pizza. Top an English muffin with mozzarella cheese, a slice of tomato, and fresh oregano. Warm in the oven until the cheese has melted.
- Angel food cake. It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth but is low in fat and calories.
Popsicles! Good for staying hydrated if you’re getting tired of drinking water—and easy to nibble on as you nurse.