Healthy and Easy Postpartum Snacks

AllisonMS, RDN, CDN

Read time: 4 minutes

What to know about snacking after having a baby

  • Learn why snacks are a healthy part of your diet

  • Learn how to make satisfying and nutritious snack combinations

After delivery, you’re at the beck-and-call of your little one both day and night. Recovering from birth and keeping up with the demands of baby care - all on top of getting less sleep - can affect your physical and mental stamina. 

Additionally, during pregnancy your body provides baby with all the nutrients they require for growth and development, even at the expense of your own nutritional needs. Being low in some nutrients may lead you to feel more fatigue and may impact how quickly you’re able to recover and feel like yourself again after delivery.

Read on to learn why snacks and good nutrition are important during the postpartum period, as well as get tips on how to build a healthy snack.

Why are healthful snacks important during the postpartum period?

Depending on your experience with pregnancy and delivery, it is possible that certain nutrient stores may be low and need to be replenished.

In fact, recovery time after each pregnancy is incredibly important. While you’re pregnant, baby will take all the nutrients they need from what you eat as well as your nutrient stores, and if you’re not eating well, that may leave you depleted of certain vitamins and minerals.1 The postpartum time is when we can replenish these, but a short interval between pregnancies can leave very little time to recover nutrient stores.2

Even if you’re not planning on having another baby within the next 24 months, nutrition can play a vital role in a speedy recovery. Having a well-balanced eating pattern that includes nutritious snacks can help make sure you’re getting the nutrients needed to replenish those reduced during pregnancy and delivery.3,4,5

Having nourishing snacks on hand can also help boost your energy. Additionally, adequate fluid intake, particularly while breastfeeding, is an important element of overall, good nutrition.

Read more:

What to Eat while Breastfeeding

Tips for Staying Hydrated while Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Nutrition Needs Before, During, and After Pregnancy

What is a nutritious snack combination?

When putting together a snack, think complex carbohydrate – fresh fruit, vegetables, or whole grains – along with some protein. The carbohydrates give your body immediate energy and nutrients, while the protein gives you lasting, satisfying fullness as well as the building blocks your body needs to stay healthy. 

Below are some snack ideas. Choose one protein (top bullet) plus one of the complex carbohydrate options below it.

Dairy & Eggs
  • 2% cottage cheese with…

    • Fresh fruit such as: melon, pineapple, or berries

    • ¼ cup salsa mixed in PLUS fresh cut vegetables, such as: cut bell pepper or cucumber. Use the vegetables to scoop up the cottage cheese dip.

  • Low fat or fat free ricotta cheese with…

    • 1 bell pepper, sliced into quarters. Divide ricotta cheese between the bell pepper ‘boats’ and sprinkle with pepper.

    • 1 – 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, a drizzle of maple syrup (optional) PLUS fresh cut fruit.

    • Hummus mixed in PLUS vegetables to dip

  • Greek or regular unsweetened yogurt with…

    • Fresh or frozen berries

    • Toasted wheat germ or sprinkle of granola

    • Sliced banana PLUS chia seeds, flax seeds, or chopped nuts

  • Cheese with…

    • 1 whole fruit

    • 1 whole grain toast or breakfast muffin

    • Fresh cut veggies, such as: sugar snap peas, baby carrots, bell peppers, jicama

    • Whole grain crackers

  • Mini Egg Omelet (or 1 hard boiled / scrambled egg) with…

    • 1 piece of fruit

    • 1 whole grain breakfast muffin plus shredded cheese (optional)

    • Recipe for 3 Mini Omelete:  Whisk together 6 eggs. Add in 1 to 1.5 cups chopped spinach, salt and pepper to taste.  Spray or spread oil into 3 muffin tin cups and divide egg mixture between each.  Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until eggs are set.  Keep in the refrigerator and use through the week!

Nuts & Seeds
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, etc) with…

    • 1 serving whole grain crackers

    • Spread onto a banana, apple, or dates

    • 1 slice whole grain toast

  • Whole nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pecans, etc) with…

    • Dried figs, apricots, raisins, cherries

    • Fresh fruit

    • Fresh popped popcorn plus dried fruit

  • Chopped Apple Salad

    • 1 chopped apple mixed with 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, 1 Tbsp raisins, 2-4oz Greek yogurt, plus a dash of cinnamon.

  • Cucumber Salad

    • 1 chopped cucumber, 1 Tbsp rice or red wine vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp sesame or sunflower seeds

Beans
  • Hummus with…

    • Fresh veggies to dip, such as: carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, cucumber spears, etc

    • Whole grain crackers

    • Whole grain pita triangles

  • Edamame (or other beans) with…

    • Mixed with salsa and topped with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt

    • Sprinkled with salt and lemon (as well as other herbs and spices if preferred)

  • Chopped Bean Salad

    • Ingredients:  1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, 1 (15oz) can black beans, 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen/defrosted), 1 cup chopped carrots, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional), salt and pepper.

    • Directions: Rinse and drain beans. Toss all ingredients together and keep refrigerated in a closed container to use throughout the week.

Smoothie Recipes
  • Chocolate Lover: ½ cup milk or plant-based milk alternative, ½ cup silken tofu (or 4 oz plain Greek yogurt), 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 Banana

  • Freezey Avocado: ½ avocado, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice.

  • Berry-Licious: ½ cup milk or plant-based milk alternative, ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup frozen berries, 1 Tbsp toasted wheat germ, ground flax, or chia seeds.

  • Orange Monster: 2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup canned pumpkin, banana (frozen), ½ tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp cinnamon.

  • Green Monster: 1 cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cup water (as needed for consistency), 1 banana, 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach or baby kale.

  • PB & Yum: ½ cup milk or plant-based milk alternative, ½ cup silken tofu (or plain Greek yogurt), 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 banana, 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Even more snack ideas: Healthful and Easy Snacks for Moms and Toddlers

Tips for healthy postpartum snacking

Eat frequently throughout the day

Going too long without eating can lead to feeling overly hungry, which may result in eating more than your body needs. Instead, try to eat every 3-4 hours. If you know you may be out-and-about or working for longer than this time frame, plan ahead by bringing a portable snack with you, or stocking them in your office, such as:

  • Whole fruit with nuts

  • Bars made with whole fruits and nuts

  • A bag of veggies and hummus

  • Fresh popped popcorn plus dried fruit

  • Whole grain crackers with nut butter

Read about: 8 Tips for Simple, Quick, Healthy Cooking

Keep healthy food stocked and in sight

And keep foods you’d like to avoid hidden. This way the first thing you see will be your healthy snack items, making you more likely to eat them. Take the time to cut up fruit and chop veggies to leave in the fridge for easy grab-and-go snacks. 

Keeping highly processed snack items behind other foods in cabinets or the refrigerator makes them less accessible. Out of sight, out of mind!

Learn more: Strategies for Creating a Healthy Kitchen for your Family

Remember the combination!

Choose a protein (nuts, seeds, yogurt, cheese, eggs, beans, etc) along with a complex carbohydrate (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) for both quick and lasting energy and satiety.

Looking for quick snack ideas?

Choose pre-packed snacks that have a short ingredient list and are primarily whole foods to ensure you’re taking in quality nutrients and lasting energy.  Examples:

  • Bars made from whole fruits and/or veggies with nuts

  • Single-serve hummus or nut butter with pre-cut fruit and veggies

  • Nuts and dried fruit with no added sugar

  • Popcorn made with healthy oil plus a little salt (optional)

  • Small salad bar container full of vegetables, beans, seeds, dried fruit, and an oil-based dressing

Eat mindfully

When we eat while multitasking, we often do not take the time to recognize that we have had enough, leaving us eating more than we may really need. When possible, set aside what you’re doing so that you can focus on eating your snack, even if for just 5 minutes. Giving yourself time to eat without distraction allows you to be mindful of your hunger levels and enables you to enjoy your food!6

Read about: Mindful Eating

Let's Chat!

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Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm (ET), and Saturday - Sunday 8am - 2pm (ET). Chat Now!

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For more on this topic, check out the following articles:

Healthy Snack Ideas during Pregnancy

Healthy Snacks for Babies and Toddlers

Family Meals: Developing Healthy Eating Patterns

Healthy in a Hurry