First off, I must apologize for the long radio silence. I am currently thirty weeks pregnant, and have just made an enormous cross-country move to Boulder, Colorado. Suffice to say, I have been hard pressed to find the energy and mental inspiration for writing. The good news is that I am surrounded by a group of new moms who are constantly yearning for health and nutrition advice, giving me some motivation to get going! The top question I get from them is how in the world to feed yourself when you have a little one to care for. Since the possibility of cooking a real meal is usually off the table, the healthy food options are greatly diminished. In addition, they have to be easily accessible, and easy to consume with one hand. Apparently we as mothers only really have one hand to do anything with since the other is always otherwise occupied. Finally, they have to be nutrient-dense since the energy spent breastfeeding and caring for a little one is extremely taxing on the body. The body needs each and every nutrient that you can offer it, and even more than that I’m sure! So, in effort to help all you new moms (and dads, grandmas, sisters, caretakers) out, here is a list of 10 essential post pregnancy momma snacks.
10 Essential Post Pregnancy Momma Snacks
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Moms, this one is for you. I get it, you are exhausted, starving, almost too tired to eat, but in desperate need for something delicious, satisfying and easy. Say hello to the avocado pudding. Avocado pudding is one of the best things I have ever discovered because it couldn’t be easier to make and more delicious to eat. All it is comprised of is blended avocado in milk (like almond milk) with cacao powder (unsweetened superfood chocolate powder). You can then sweeten it with stevia (for a no-sugar option), raw honey, molasses, maple syrup or even a soaked date, and viola! The best tasting healthy sweet treat you can imagine. And, before you ask, no, it does not taste anything like avocado. I promise. Now the reason we are starting with this snack is because avocados are super rich in key healthy fats needed for momma and baby, and cacao is an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is the mineral that keeps us sleeping well, our nerves from feeling fried, our moods calm and even, and our muscles relaxed (and certainly not restless when sleeping). Top with granola, sliced bananas, a nut butter drizzle or coconut shreds if you like. Eat up new mommas!
Super Green Smoothie
We all know that green smoothies are healthy for us, so let’s start drinking them! In all actuality, they only take ten minutes to make, and they can be prepared in advance so you always have something to grab when hunger strikes. And even better news? Your partner, neighbor, kind friend or anyone supporting you post pregnancy can whip one up. There is no magic way to make them, all you need is a combination of frozen or fresh greens like kale or spinach, a bulking fruit like frozen banana, roasted sweet potato or avocado, a scoop of protein powder or nut butter and you are good to go. Seems too ambitious? How about make a batch when you do have time and freeze them. You will be grateful for something so refreshing and nourishing that can be consumed with a straw, I promise.
Now this is going to be a staple go-to – superfood bites for energy. They are a combination of some of the healthiest, life-enhancing, energy-boosting superfoods you can find. Each ingredient provides your body with therapeutic nutrients to help support your recovery from pregnancy and labor, and to help make you feel yourself again. They have goji berries, maca, cacao, Brazil nuts, almonds and coconut, so they taste as good as they make you feel. The best part? These superfood bites are easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for weeks.
Have you tried chia pudding before? It is a fantastic invention that takes the natural properties of chia seeds and turns them into a crazy healthy pudding. Chia seeds are seeds that when hydrated create a gel-like substance similar to the texture of pudding. Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and antioxidants – all the things a post pregnancy mom needs! Plus, they are a great natural way to promote normal bowel movements and avoid stubborn constipation.
Overnight oats is a super easy and delicious, great solution for a hungry momma. Overnight oats are when you soak rolled oats in yogurt and/or milk overnight so that they become nice and gooey and soft. You can also add in pureed fruits, chia seeds and other goodies to boost the flavor and texture of the oats. The reason that this is a favorite snack or meal of mine is that all the prep is done the night before (while the baby is asleep), and the flavor variations are endless. You can also boost the nutrition of this fiber-packed meal by adding in healthy fats like nuts, nut butter, chia or hemp seeds, coconut or coconut butter, or vitamin and mineral-filled fruits.
Nut Butter Stuffed Dates
What is the one thing that we all crave when we are dead tired and can barely move? Sugar. Sugar is the body’s most basic source of quick energy, which is why we crave sugar when exhausted. The trick is to find a healthy source of sugar that is balanced. And by balanced I mean paired with a food that slows down the release of sugar into our blood, preventing one of those notorious blood sugar crashes. That is why these nut butter stuffed dates made it to the list. Dates are certainly a sugar packed fruit, while nut butter provides the perfect protein and fat balance to slow down that sugar high. So how do you make these tasty treats? All you have to do is slice open a date, take out the pit, and stuff it with nut butter. Then, if you want to be even more naughty, stuff in a piece chocolate. You’re welcome!
Classic Hard-Boiled Egg
In effort to not overlook some of the most essential and classic snacks, hard-boiled eggs are next on the list. Hard-boil a batch of eggs for easy access when you’re starved. While we know that eggs are a great source of protein, you might not know that they contain essential nutrients for a healthy growing baby and breastfeeding momma. All B vitamins are found in eggs, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, choline, biotin, and folic acid. And B vitamins are what keep you energized, alert, and feeling mentally stable. Choline is a standout among these B vitamins. In fact, eggs rank higher in choline than any of our other food. Choline is a lesser-known vitamin that helps the body detoxify. It also is a basic building block for our cells, and for neurotransmitters. Eggs are also a very good source of both selenium and iodine. Iodine is needed for thyroid function, which is especially important for post pregnancy mommas since the thyroid is what drives your metabolism and mood, and keeps your temperature regulated and your weight healthy. So what do you do with a hard-boiled egg? Add a little sea salt and nutritional yeast (a great vegan source of B12) and eat away.
Protein Powder Pancakes
Okay new moms, this recipe right here is a lifesaver. For one, you get to eat pancakes, and who doesn’t love pancakes especially when you are drained and tired. Secondly, they are packed with protein. Protein is what keeps our energy going and our belly’s satisfied for more than a couple hours. It is also an essential nutrient in breast milk, aiding in the growth of our new little ones. Finally, these pancakes contain eggs, which are one of the most nutrient-dense foods that contain a slew of healthy fats and vitamins. My favorite way to eat these is to spread some nut butter on them, or either organic Greek yogurt or almond yogurt, and top with fresh cinnamon and bananas. Fold in half and enjoy! No need to add high-sugar maple syrup, which will inevitably run down your arm and get you and your baby super sticky.
Matcha Granola Bars
Have you heard of matcha before? It is a fabulous healthy, energy-boosting form of green tea that is one of my favorite coffee alternatives. It does provide some caffeine, but it is balanced by an amino acid called L-theanine which keeps you focused, your energy levels balanced, and prevents any jitters or crash. In addition, matcha is an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect your body’s cells from aging, disease and cancer. That is why I always recommend matcha for new mommas since it gives you that little boost you’re in desperate need of, but you don’t have to worry about it being over stimulating for baby. While drinking a cup of matcha is always great, eating it is just another essential way to meet your energy needs. This is where these granola bars come in. Enjoy!
Banana Blueberry Coconut Bread with Nut Butter
There is nothing more satisfying than homemade banana bread. Slather some coconut oil, grass-fed organic butter or ghee, or even a tablespoon or so of nut butter and you’ve got yourself quite the hearty snack or meal. This recipe is from Faring Well, a favorite food blog of mine, and is vegan and gluten-free. It is packed with lots of mommy supportive nutrients such as medium chain fats from the coconut oil, potassium and vitamin B6 from the bananas, antioxidants from the blueberries, blood sugar balancing cinnamon and fiber from the oat flour. Have a helpful friend or partner make a batch, freeze, and enjoy at will.