Easy, High Protein Snacks for Breastfeeding Mamas

Since giving birth to my daughter, I have been ravenous (and thirsty!) and not just for anything, for protein, for lots and lots of protein. As it turns out, the protein needs for breastfeeding are much higher than for the average woman. The RDA of protein for breastfeeding mamas is 71 grams (compared to the usual 46 grams). Also, since starting back to work, I feel like I have no time or energy to make interesting meals (or anything that even resembles a meal) so I've been relying upon real foods that require little to no preparation. I've compiled a list of easy, convenient (mostly) real food based protein snacks. 

A few notes about my personal food philosophies: after many years exploring veganism, vegetarianism, sustainable food systems, weight loss, low energy and weight gain, I currently eat a diet that is comprised of mostly lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. I barely ever eat pork or beef and eat chicken and fish as conscientiously as possible (buying from farmers is best, Whole Foods is ok...). I avoid most processed foods and dairy and was blessed to never really have a sweet tooth.Therefore, the list below does not contain meat other than chicken and fish.


A few other things to be cautious / aware of: my pediatrician has recommended to avoid dairy while breastfeeding (I eat yogurt sometimes anyway) and I've heard that some babies are sensitive to beans in the mother's diet (I personally don't have problems). Pay attention to which fish you are eating as you don't want to eat anything high in mercury. Here is a great chart from the NRDC on which fish are safe to eat TL;DR: yes to salmon, shrimp, scallop, trout, whitefish, oysters, no to: tuna, swordfish, mackerel).

I get my protein needs for breastfeeding with these grab and go protein snacks (nutrition information sources: USDA, My Fitness Pal , or the manufacturer). These are foods that I eat and they work for me and my babe, but please check with your physician before making dietary decisions.

  • Free range hard boiled egg (1 egg) 6g 
  • Roasted chicken breast (1 cup) 42g
  • Whole Foods coconut chicken tenders (3 tenders) 18g
  • Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens (1 scoop) 20g *It is advisable to check with your pediatrician before eating protein powder.  I am obsessed with this protein powder Check out my yummy, super easy recipe for Chocolate Protein Avocado Mousse.
  • Starbucks Protein Boxes (1 box) 20g
  • 22 Days PB & Chocolate Chip Nirvana Bar (1 bar) 20g *It is advisable to check with your pediatrician before eating protein powder.
  • Frozen Edamame (1 cup) 17g (boil and add salt, yum)
  • Amy's Lentil Soup (1 can) 16g
  • Roasted chickpeas (.5 cup) 7g
  • Raw Almonds (23 whole kernels) 6g 
  • Salmon fillet (.5 filet) 40g
  • Good Culture Cottage Cheese (150g) 18g 

What are your favorite low stress, high protein snacks?

NourishmentJacqui SomenComment