Plate up and power up! To provide optimum nutrition for you and your bub, dietician, Kate Di Prima, recommends these goodness packed foods for breastfeeding mums.

Salmon
How much? 100 to 150g, two or three times a week.
Why? Fresh or canned, salmon is full of healthy omega-3 fats (essential for brain function, growth and development), protein, vitamin B12, iodine and vitamin D for healthy bones.

Try…

  • Barbecued salmon steaks or salmon/vegie kebabs with salad.
  • Tasty salmon pasta.
  • Stir-fried with Asian vegetables or tossed through a curry sauce.
  • Asian style brown rice balls with canned pink salmon.
  • Mixed through a freshly-tossed salad with lime and black pepper.

Lean Red Meat
How much? 100 to 120g, three or four times a week.
Why? It’s high in iron for a healthy blood supply as well as zinc, essential for a strong immune system. Lean red meat also provides good quality protein and energy, essential for making breast milk and in helping you recover after birth.

Try…

  • Choosing premium-quality cuts with little or no visible fat.
  • Trim lamb or lean beef in stews, casseroles and stir-fries.
  • Make kebabs or rissoles or simply barbecue.

Baby Spinach
How Much? One cup a day.
Why? Baby spinach contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential for both your immune system and bubs. The dark-green leafy vegetable also helps keep your digestive system in good working order.

Try…

  • Added to your sandwich or wrap.
  • With eggs benedict or with your morning eggs with toast.
  • With rocket and lettuce as a salad base.
  • Wilted and mixed with ricotta to make cannelloni or lasagne.

Chickpeas
How Much? Half a cup a day.
Why? Chickpeas are a convenient alternative to meat and are full of protein (which is essential for making breast milk), iron and fibre.

Try…

  • Tossed through salad with a squeeze of lemon juice for a quick, healthy lunch.
  • Blended with garlic, oil and cumin and rolled into yummy falafel balls.
  • Dry roasted in the oven with your favourite spice as an alternative to nuts for snacking.

Avocado
How Much? A quarter of a medium avocado each day.
Why? One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fibre and folate and rich in potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. They’re also a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat.

Try…

  • As a spread for sandwiches or toast.
  • Cubed in salads.
  • Mixed with lemon juice and light cream cheese as a dip.
  • Chopped with onions and tomatoes as a fresh salsa.
  • Eating them straight from the shell.

Berries
How much? Half a cup of small berries (e.g. blueberries) or one cup large (e.g. strawberries) a day.
Why? Berries are loaded with vitamin C, folate, fibre and phytonutrients. Fresh berries are some of the most powerful disease-fighting foods available due to their high levels of antioxidants.

Try…

  • Blueberries or cranberries in yoghurt, muffins, scones or pikelets.
  • Mixed berry smoothies or sorbet.

Yogurt
How much? A 200g tub a day.
Why? High in absorbable calcium for strong bones and teeth, yogurt also contains millions of good bacteria for healthy gut function. It’s low GI too, so will help you feel fuller for longer.

Try…

  • Straight from the fridge or frozen – just look for low sugar varieties.
  • Adding to muesli, fruit salad or smoothies.
  • Natural yogurt as the main component of a tasty salad dressing.
  • Natural yogurt as a savoury topping over meats or curries with a bit of fresh lemon juice and coriander.

Muesli
How much? Half a cup natural or a third of a cup toasted (Natural muesli generally has A LOT LESS sugar than toasted!)
Why? Most contain oats (high in soluble fibre for heart health) with nuts, seeds and dried fruits – all high in minerals and fibre.

Try…

  • Baked into muffins.
  • Bircher style – Soaked in cranberry or apple juice overnight and mixed with yoghurt before serving.

Eggs
How Much? Up to six a week.
Why? Nature’s little vitamin capsule, eggs are packed with vitamins, minerals and the highest-quality protein in our food supply. One egg provides almost 15 per cent of a breastfeeding mum’s daily protein requirement.

Try…

  • French toast or an omelette for breakfast.
  • Keeping half a dozen hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for snacking on the run.
  • Boiled egg mixed with light mayo or cream cheese as a dip or spread on crackers.

Water
(Okay, so it’s not a food, but it’s often forgotten or replaced with poor alternatives!)
How Much? One large glass every few hours, especially when feeding bub.
Why? A lot of water goes into making breast milk (it’s around 90 per cent water!) and you can use up to one litre a day for feeding. As well as needed for milk production, it’s also important to stay hydrated for your own health.

Try…

  • Throwing in some lime, lemon or mint leaves if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
  • Leaving an insulated water container in bub’s room so it’s on hand to remind you when you feed.

Source: Practical Parenting, Mar 17, 2011