Snacks for Meals: Creating a Meal Plan for Postpartum

May 21, 2024

Follow our guide for snacking during postpartum to get the biggest bang for your buck!

I describe snacks as bridges between meals. An opportunity to take pressure off of meals to meet all your nutrition needs for the day. In the first few weeks of postpartum it can feel like you are not eating full meals at all, but rather just having a string of snacks/mini meals throughout the day – and at best may get one full sit-down meal. Postpartum is a busy and stressful time, assembling a balanced meal when time is tight is not ideal, and you may even feel like your appetite isn’t there to eat as much in one sitting.

The first few weeks postpartum are not a time to try and force something such as meals. Instead lean in to the snacking until you are able to gain some “me time” back in your days. In the end the goal during postpartum is to nourish yourself, replenish your stores and to support energy levels. Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, to nourish your infant.

Let’s discuss how you can make the most of snacking and ensure that it is meeting your nutritional needs.

The What?

Balance is still relevant! Just because it’s a snack, doesn’t mean you should forget about the balanced meal. It may just look a little smaller. As a reminder, balanced meals include plants (fruits and/or vegetables), whole grains or starchy vegetables, lean protein, healthy fat (omega-3 fats), and a calcium source. With an additional focus on choosing options rich in vitamins and minerals essential to postpartum.

  • Micronutrients to focus on: Iron, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Folate, Iodine, Zinc. Found in foods such as leafy greens, low-fat dairy, olive oil, salmon, olive oil, eggs, nuts & seeds, assortment of fruits & vegetables, and edamame. 

Snack ideas to meet needs (swap out ingredients for ones you prefer!):

  • Greek Yogurt with homemade granola, almond butter, raspberries and strawberries.  
  • Brown rice cake with avocado, turkey deli, sliced cucumbers and tomato. 
  • Oatmeal made with soy milk, with chia seeds, blueberries, banana, chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of agave. 
  • Baby carrots and cucumber sticks with hummus and chopped olives. 
  • Trail Mix with popcorn, nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, and seeds. 

And as always, stay hydrated! Especially if you are breastfeeding. Drink water after you eat, and in between meals to stay hydrated without diminishing your appetite at mealtime.

The How? 

It is easier said than done. Where to start? 

First and foremost, focus on being mindful of your intake. Although your hunger and fullness cues may feel off, they are still there! Avoid nibbling all day. At the least, focus on spacing out your intake so that there is some semblance of a meal pattern, even if you are eating in snack form. And take your time to focus on just eating at these times, no matter how short it may be.

Lastly, be prepared. At first you will need a minute to get your feet under you, and set up your home for your new lil addition, but once you feel settled think about what your plan, shop, prep, and cook system is going to look like. It may be different than before but that’s ok. Think about what you can prepare ahead, in terms of practicality, time, and your energy levels. If the snack is ready for you, it is more likely you will eat it.

As a new parent, your care is as important as the care of your new infant but it’s not easy to give it the attention it needs. Being aware of your dietary needs, and creating healthy quick meals and snacks is a simple way to give yourself some care during this time.

To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers for postpartum nutrition care – take a look at our Services page.

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