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15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas

Looking for breastfeeding recipes? We've rounded up healthy and easy meals for breastfeeding moms. Bonus: They're tasty, too.

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas

Breastfeeding tips

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!

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: iStockphoto

Chicken Barley Soup

Nothing tastes like comfort more than chicken soup. And trust us, you're going to need some comfort food when the 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 also to drink lots of water. With a limited prep time, this chicken soup is a dinner made quickly for the whole family on a cold night.

Get the recipe: Chicken Barley Soup

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Roberto Caruso

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Warm Salad of Salmon, Baby Spinach, Orzo and Crispy Capers

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 develop the baby's nervous system. It's also got omega-3 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. Are you hesitant to introduce your kids to capers during family dinner? Try frying them for a great crunch!

Get the recipe: Warm Salad of Salmon, Baby Spinach, Orzo and Crispy Capers

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyea

Grated Carrot Salad

Five minutes is all you need to make this colourful carrot salad. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A; studies show that they can improve the quality and quantity of breast milk. Tip: Drink carrot juice mixed with water so you can get your daily carrot boost and keep hydrated.

Want to boost your milk production? Add a sprinkle of brewer's yeast for lactation. You have nothing to lose with this five-minute recipe that is both vegan and gluten-free!

Get the recipe: Grated Carrot Salad

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyei

Red Lentils with Sweet Potato and Apricots

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 vitamins A, 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. And if you have a sweet tooth, finish your meal with these lactation cookies.

Get the recipe: Red Lentils with Sweet Potato and Apricots

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyei

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Guacamole

Guacamole, known for being a party snack, is actually very nutritious. Avocados, 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.

Guacamole can be used for many dishes. If you are having burgers, tacos, or simply dipping tortilla chips, be sure to have this delicious spread that is nutritious for the whole family. They are a must for mom and baby. So serve some up at your next mommy and baby playdate.

Get the recipe: Guacamole

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Rob Caruso

Sesame and Sweet Chili Tofu

This Asian-inspired dish is tasty and full of nutritious 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. Not only is chilli very nutritious, but the peppers also boost your serotonin levels, giving you that extra boost to get through the day!

Tip: To add some colour and more nutrients to the dish toss in bell peppers. Did you know they contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits?

Get the recipe: Sesame and Sweet Chili Tofu 

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyei

Blueberry-Cinnamon Granola Bars

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. Blueberries 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.

Granola is high in the calories you need for breastfeeding while also being a great source of protein and fibre. This bar is everything you need all found in a quick snack!

Get the recipe: Blueberry-Cinnamon Granola Bars 

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyei

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Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry

This classic Asian take-out meal can be easily made at home and is full of nutrients supporting 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!

Even though having something similar to this dish at a restaurant may taste delicious, it is just as easy to make at home. It takes less than 20 minutes! If you have leftovers you can incorporate the stir-fry’s elements into a completely new dish for tomorrow’s dinner.

Get the recipe: Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Jodi Pudge

High-Protein Smoothie

For anyone with a regular workout routine, it is always important to have your go-to protein shake. So why not make something that helps breastfeeding? This smoothie, which is also great for breakfast or a snack, 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. Have a baby older than six months? The best baby food delivery services offer baby-friendly versions of this recipe.

Get the recipe: High-Protein Smoothie

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Roberto Caruso

Orecchiette with Rustic Tomato Sauce

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 your baby so if you're planning on avoiding meat, add more alternatives to your diet. Chickpeas are also a great source of fibre and iron. Need more protein in your diet? Try sprinkling a dash of this vegan-friendly chickpea protein powder into your favourite recipes for a boost.

Get the recipe: Orecchiette with Rustic Tomato Sauce

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Jodi Pudge

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Smoky Campfire Beans

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. Classic baked beans are filling and comforting.

Navy beans are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin B. Onions are also high in vitamins B and C. We recommend pairing this dish with our recipe for Mexican Chicken Scallopini Fajitas. Eat up!

Get the recipe: Smoky Campfire Beans

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Roberto Caruso

Brown Rice Pilaf

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.

These sauteed onions, which give this dish the name of pilaf, are a great source of vitamin C. If the adults at the table so choose, you can top off this dish with salt and fold in almonds.

Get the recipe: Brown Rice Pilaf

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyei

Oatmeal Meat Loaf Muffins with Horseradish Frosting

These muffins are perfect candidates for any meal, cutting your cooking time in half for a regular meatloaf. You can pair this dish with some mashed potatoes for a hearty lunch or dinner!

Some believe 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 Frosting 

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Maya Visnyei

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Quick Kale and Bacon Tart

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!

Kale is rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and K. Eggs are high in vitamins A, B12, and folate. Onions great sources of vitamins B and C. So many nutrients and so tasty!

Get the recipe: Quick Kale and Bacon Tart

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Andrew Grinton

Turkey and Bean Burritos

Figuring out what to make for dinner is always a pain. Thankfully, there are many recipes out there that help you clean out your fridge in one go. That means no extra trips to the grocery store! Try out our burrito that combines many common items in your kitchen and feel free to put your own spin on it!

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 Burritos

15 Easy and Healthy Breastfeeding Meal Ideas Photo: Andrew Grinton

Can't be bothered to cook?

That's alright! Consider trying any one of these healthy meal delivery services that make nutritious meal prep a breeze without the hassle of slicing, dicing or grocery shopping:

food delivery box iStock

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This article was originally published on May 01, 2020

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