If you're breastfeeding, you may need to consume more calories to keep your energy up (the amount varies from zero to 500 extra calories per day depending on how active you are and whether your child is nursing exclusively), but the good news is you don’t have to follow a special breastfeeding diet—the amount of milk you make is based on supply and demand, not what foods you eat. Still, it’s a smart idea to have balanced meals with nutrient-rich food that will satisfy the seemingly insatiable hunger that comes with the territory (especially when your baby is going through a growth spurt). Try some of our breastfeeding-friendly recipes to help you stay happy, healthy and full!Photo: iStockphoto
Nothing tastes like comfort more than chicken soup. And trust us, you're going to need some comfort food when baby cries and feeds non-stop. Chicken is a wonderful source of protein and barley is a great breastfeeding-friendly ingredient. Barley boosts lactation and also keeps you hydrated. But don't forget to also drink lots of water.
Get the recipe: Chicken Barley SoupPhoto: Roberto Caruso
Say hello to yummy, colourful and tasty! Salmon is a great source of protein and it contains large amounts of DHA, a fat that helps with the development of baby's nervous system. It's also got omega3 fatty acids, which are key for brain function. The baby spinach is a tasty source of calcium and when it comes to nursing your little one, the more calcium the better.
Get the recipe: Warm Salad of Salmon, Baby Spinach, Orzo and Crispy CapersPhoto: Maya Visnyea
Five minutes is all you need to make this colourful carrot salad. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A and studies show that they can improve the quality and quantity of breastmilk. Tip: Drink carrot juice mixed with water so you can get your daily carrot boost and keep hydrated.
Get the recipe: Grated Carrot SaladPhoto: Maya Visnyei
This Moroccan-inspired stew is yummy and healthy. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A, which is key for baby's vision and bone growth. They also contain potassium, an energy producing carbohydrate that fights fatigue, perfect for mom. Apricots are also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. They can also increase prolactin, the helpful hormone that tells your body to make more milk. Tip: Keep a few dried apricots in your diaper bag for a healthy snack on the go.
Get the recipe: Red Lentils with Sweet Potato and ApricotsPhoto: Maya Visnyei
Guacamole, known for being a party snack, is actually very nutritious. Avacados, the main ingredient, are rich in fibre and potassium and they contain healthy fats that help the body absorb vitamins and help with brain development. They are a must for mom and baby. So serve some up at your next mommy and baby playdate.
Get the recipe: GuacamolePhoto: Rob Caruso
This Asian-inspired dish is tasty and full of nutricious ingredients. Tofu is a great meat alternative and a source of calcium. Sesame seeds are high in calcium too and a source of fibre and iron. Tip: To add some colour and more nutrients to the dish toss in some in some bell peppers. Did you know they contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits?
Get the recipe: Sesame and Sweet Chili TofuPhoto: Maya Visnyei
These delicious bars are great for busy mornings when you don't have time to sit down and eat—and blueberries are the star of the show. They are rich in antioxidants and they boost energy. Trust us, you'll need all the energy you can get with all those late night feedings.
Get the recipe: Blueberry-Cinnamon Granola BarsPhoto: Maya Visnyei
This classic Asian take-out meal can be easily made at home and it's full of nutrients that support mom's and baby's health. The beef boosts energy and is a great source of protein and iron, while broccoli is a great source of calcium and vitamin A. Talk about yummy and healthy!
Get the recipe: Beef and Broccoli Stir-fryPhoto: Jodi Pudge
Great for breakfast or a snack, this smoothie is packed with protein and nutrient-rich fruits. The Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium and will make you feel full for longer. Greek yogurt is also full of healthy bacteria and probiotics that are great for both mom's and baby's digestive systems.
Get the recipe: High-Protein SmoothiePhoto: Roberto Caruso
This rustic bowl of goodness will keep you feeling full (perfect for when you have no time to eat later), and is full of delicious and healthy chickpeas. For vegetarian and vegan moms, chickpeas are a perfect meat alternative. Protein is important for you and baby so if you're planning on avoiding meat, add more alternatives into your diet. Chickpeas are also a great source of fibre and iron.
Get the recipe: Orecchiette with Rustic Tomato SaucePhoto: Jodi Pudge
A batch of this delicious side dish will keep for several days in the fridge, reheats easily and is a simple way to add extra fibre, iron and protein to dinners. And, classic baked beans are filling and comforting. Eat up!
Get the recipe: Smoky Campfire BeansPhoto: Roberto Caruso
Brown rice is a much healthier alternative to white rice. Brown rice is also a great energy booster, which is exactly what new moms need. Packed with nutrients, this yummy side dish is easy to make and full of fibre. Bonus points for a delicious meal that encourages healthy digestion.
Get the recipe: Brown Rice PilafPhoto: Maya Visnyei
Some believe that rolled oats (the regular kind, not the packets of instant oatmeal) help boost milk production. That hasn’t been scientifically proven, but we do know that eating whole grains is a great way to stay full longer. So get your oat on.
Get the recipe: Oatmeal Meat Loaf Muffins with Horseradish FrostingPhoto: Maya Visnyei
If friends or family ask if they can bring food over, mention this tart as a great option. It freezes well, is easy to eat with one hand and delivers tons of protein and minerals thanks to the eggs. And it's vitamin-packed thanks to the kale. Not to mention it has bacon (though, you can leave that out if you want to make this a vegetarian dish). Delish!
Get the recipe: Quick Kale and Bacon TartPhoto: Andrew Grinton
These flavourful burritos offer a one-two protein punch with both turkey and beans. Plus, they contain great brain-boosting fats thanks to the avocado, which is also high in calories—a must-have when you’re nursing.
Get the recipe: Turkey and Bean BurritosPhoto: Andrew Grinton