I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your extra protein when you are breastfeeding.
I get asked more than anything if I am “getting enough protein” because I eat a vegan diet..(insert roll eyes emoji).
The answer is yes btw.
Breastfeeding mamas need two times as much protein in their diet especially since protein is such an important part of breast milk production. According to Erin Coleman a registered and licensed dietitian, consuming plenty of protein can help maximize your milk supply, which will help optimize your infant’s growth and development. Choosing healthy, safe high-protein foods at each meal or snack can help you meet your protein needs during lactation.
"The recommended daily allowance, or RDA, of protein for pregnant and nursing women is 71 grams per day, while the RDA for non-pregnant, non-nursing women is 46 grams of protein each day. Active lactating women and women who nurse multiple babies may require additional protein. Daily RDAs are determined using 1.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 145-pound breastfeeding woman would need about 73 grams of protein each day." That is a lot of protein right?
So the best thing to do is eat a variety of high protein foods.
Here are 5 ways to get more protein into your diet:
Get a plant-based protein powder and add it to a smoothie in the morning. I do this each morning so I know first thing I am getting 20+ grams of protein to start my day. My personal experience with doing this has been amazing, plus I use a protein powder that has 22 vitamins and minerals in it as well! WIN!*Always consult your doctor to ask if this is right for you.
Nuts and seeds are rich in protein. The best thing to do is to go to Trader Joe’s or your local healthy grocery store and pick up a bag of mixed nuts and seeds and throw it in the car or diaper bag. This way it’s always with you and easy to snack on.
Pick up some tempeh or seitan and experiment. These are both high in protein and can be used in place of meat in almost anything! They are a total staple in our house.
Beans! Lentils! YUM! Adding beans to a salad or in a burrito are great ways to get extra protein. I also use red lentils in stir-frys or as a side dish. Lentils are high in protein and super good for you.
Whole grains. I feel like we all know this, but do we eat this? Oatmeal is awesome, quinoa is also another awesome grain that is full of protein!
So mamas get out there and your your plant-based protein on!