As I sit here on Day 20 of the 30 day program of The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, I want to talk to you about my experience with snacks. As a quick overview for those of you new to Whole30, these are the pillars of the Whole30 program that are non-negotiable. So whether you’re munching on a snack or eating a meal, the following may NOT be consumed.
Whole30 shortlist of what not to eat:
- added sugar or artificial sweeteners
I am a nursing Mom, so I need to be taking in enough calories to sustain a good nursing relationship with my babe. If you’re like me, you are considering Whole30 but you don’t want to chance having a supply that tanks and BOOM you can’t nurse your baby. That was my biggest fear. Whole30 recommends having 3 meals per day for most people, but when you’re nursing, that rule goes out the window. The rules of Whole30 even say that the 3 meal theory cannot happen with nursing women. So, what do we do? We figure out ways to stay on Whole30 but we include a few snacks. We find foods that are good for promoting a healthy milk supply. I was under the assumption that unless I consumed grains, I would be unable to successfully nurse. Thankfully I found that to be untrue. Let me put your worries at ease and give you some ideas that have worked for me, so you too can be successful on Whole30 and still nurse your sweet bundle of cuteness.
Key Whole30 Foods for Nursing
Avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and eggs are your friends. These babies pack some wicked healthy fats, which are amazing for milk production. Eat an avocado and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil drizzled on top and I promise your next nursing session will be epic. Turns out, a milk supply actually increases with these kinds of foods, and grains and sugars are surprisingly known to decrease milk supply. I think I was misinformed for the entire time I have been nursing babies (4 years), because I really thought that grains were the recipe for success.
What about Carbs?
Carbs seem necessary for most women to nurse successfully. Many of the foods on Whole30 are higher in protein, but many of them do have carbs. I make sure to eat an entire sweet potato every day. They are packed with nutrients (good for you and baby), and they have more carbs than most of the other things you’re eating. I mash them, I steam them, I roast them, I toast them (yes, sweet potatoes can be toasted and used as a bun for a hamburger and it is actually quite delicious), and I even make fries out of them! YUM those are amazing! So, if you’re a nursing mama worried about carb intake, just eat one sweet potato a day (or 2-3 of them like some of my friends do), and your supply should be fine!
As far as snacks (because let’s be honest, nursing makes us ravenous), I keep walnuts and almonds close by. I keep a stash in the console of my mini-van so I can grab a few if I’m really hungry. I also like LÄRABARS. There are 11 varieties that are Whole30 safe, and they are tasty! These shouldn’t be eaten as a “fix” for a sugar craving (because that’s destroying the whole point of Whole30, which is to get rid of cravings, retrain your body and change your relationship with food). LÄRABARS are my go-to if I am out with my kids and I am really hungry and meal time is hours away. I don’t ever do more than 1 of these a day. Another good snacking option is a boiled egg. Quick, easy, delicious and packed with healthy fats to keep up that milk supply! This is a given, but don’t forget to drink your water too!
The first few days of doing Whole30, I did notice a milk supply dip. I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t be able to continue Whole30, but after doing some reading, I tried to increase the fats and carbs a bit. It seems that as long as I’m eating lots of healthy fats and at least one starchy veggie per day, nursing is just fine. My body went through a bit of an adjustment period, and after about 5 days, my milk was back to normal. To get through that period, I took some natural nursing supplements called Vitanica Lactation blend, which did seem to help me a lot.
Many women say that they will lose weight after they are finished nursing, and they just continue their ways of overeating, or eating the wrong things. In reality, we should be eating the BEST when we are nursing! What we eat, our babes eat. Why not eat amazing foods (like those offered on Whole30), see the benefits for you AND baby too! Healthy fats are essential for brain development, and in Whole30, you will be eating a whole bunch of them. Eat healthy and give your babe a great start with all of the healthy goodness in these amazing foods. And let’s be honest, we moms need all the brain power we can get (taking care of kids is hard!), so those healthy fats are good for us too!
So I am here to encourage all you nursing mamas. You can do this. Whole30 can work for you and you can still give your baby the best start possible. By nursing your baby, you are giving him/her water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and white cells. How AMAZING is that?! So whatever it takes to keep that relationship, you do it. The good news is, you should be able to stay compliant to Whole30 as well. Good luck! Contact me with any questions, success stories or challenges. I am here to help!