Answer by Rebecca Stevens, founder of Nourish & Nurture Nutrition
Being a mum of a newborn is a 24-7 role. Your nutrition or what you eat in this phase of life plays an important role in your overall health. But it can be incredibly difficult to eat well with all the extra demands on your time especially if you have other children at home. If you choose to breastfeed you’ll also need to be eating more to provide your body with the energy to produce the milk. As a nutritionist and mum of three, I’m often asked what new mums should snack on. Ideally, aim for snacks that are nutrient-dense so they not only fill you up but cover some of your daily nutritional needs. This doesn’t mean you can’t have some cake (or similar) when you feel like some; this is not the time to be restrictive.
Here’s a list of healthy snacks that are tasty, filling (the majority include a source of protein), nutritious and easy to prepare. Some of the options are portable for on-the-go snacking, some are shop bought, others can be thrown together very quickly either by yourself, your partner or a visiting friend.
1. Hummous with pita bread and crudités – select the hummous of your choice, grab some pitta, cucumber and carrots and you’ve covered off some of your five a day target.
2. Banana – so simple to throw in your buggy or change bag and snack on when you start to feel hungry. These are a fantastic source of fibre providing about 10% of your fibre needs each day.
3. Nut butter on toast – there are so many different nut butter options these days and even if it wasn’t your favourite as a child, it is worth considering it again. Nut butters contain protein, healthy fats and fibre. If you don’t fancy toast, try some on apple slices instead.
4. Edamame beans – from the soya family, these beans are a good protein source and include magnesium, iron and fibre. Buy them roasted or frozen and leave to defrost overnight. Just be careful not to add too much salt to avoid dehydration.
5. Plain Greek yoghurt with berries and seeds– Greek yoghurt is another good protein source, add berries of your choice for a vitamin, mineral and antioxidant boost and a sprinkle of mixed seeds.
6. Handful of nuts – protein combined with healthy fats and easy to transport for out and about snacking. Aim for unsalted nuts.
7. Boiled eggs – admittedly not everyone’s favourite but these are handy little snacks and can be boiled earlier in the day and eaten when you fancy.
8. Oat cakes with cheese and grapes – oat cakes provide a sustainable release of energy and the cheese provides a range of nutrients including protein and calcium.
9. Snack balls – there are a range of these in the shops these days so try out a few and select your favourite. They are also relatively simple to make, check out this recipe.
10. Trail mix – buy one or prepare some yourself with the ingredients of your choice. Try nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dried peas, chocolate pieces, pretzels, popcorn etc.
Also don’t forget to stay hydrated, your body needs extra water when breastfeeding and it is very easy to become dehydrated. Don’t wait for those dehydration headaches to set in before reaching for some water or other drink of your choice.
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