This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
Protein is essential for losing the baby weight while breastfeeding, yet sometimes it’s hard to make sure you are eating enough because of all the carb cravings. I would much rather have some chocolate chip, milk-boosting cookies, rather than chicken. That’s just the way my taste-buds are. But, there are some great ways you can get more protein in, which is essential for helping you to lose weight and keep your milk supply up. I talk a lot about protein on this blog because it is so important to maintain your muscles, keep you full, fuel your brain and ultimately aid in your weight loss and fitness efforts.
So, let’s talk about how you can get more protein in once baby arrives. The goal is to lose the weight and keep your milk supply up. I have lots more tips on that in this post, which you will want to read after this one! If you aren’t nursing, protein is still essential to weight loss because your body will want to eat away at your muscles. Protein helps encourage your body to use fat, rather than your muscle tissue as fuel in a calorie deficit state. That’s what we want, and we have to eat protein to do it!
This, for me, is the simplest, most effective way to make sure I am getting enough protein. I don’t particularly like a lot of meat. It just isn’t something I crave, and my boys are still picky eaters, where chicken nuggets are sometimes all they will eat. I recently just got them to eat scrambled eggs, which luckily, I like too. Not making a lot of meat during the day, and not being into steak like my husband, I just find it easier to whip up protein shakes. Literally, just this morning I made two green protein shakes because it was so much faster than cooking eggs, or whipping up a salad. My favorite Protein Powder is the Ora Organics. It really is super clean, no chemical, perfect for breastfeeding because it has milk-increasing ingredients, and it tastes great. Below is the vanilla that I have. If you need help trying to decide how to choose a protein powder, I wrote this guide. I also have a list of my top choices for protein powders if you are breastfeeding. If you need some recipe inspo, here are some of my protein-smoothie bowl recipes to get you started!
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Make-Ahead Egg Muffins:
These are super quick and easy to do, and you can pack them in sandwhich baggies on the go. I really like this Turkey Sausage recipe from Iron Wild Fitness, and this recipe with egg whites, tomatoes and spinach from Show Me The Yummy. These are so fast, and basically pure protein bites. Much better than grabbing a bag of chips or eating your kids left overs (GUILTY!!). Check out those recipes, and if you don’t like eggs, you might like the next idea better because there’s no prep at all.
Now, these you have to be careful because a lot of them are created for body builders. Not only are they high in protein, they are also high in calories. Many of them are loaded with chemicals, so the first step is to make a really good choice. What’s even better, these protein bars can really satisfy a sweet tooth (hello breastfeeding and sugar cravings! More on why that is here). These Rise Bars are pretty good. They come in at 280 calories for one, they only have 3 ingredients, great flavors, and 20 grams of protein. The RX Bars are the other ones I really like. They are all-natural, with straight forward ingredients like egg whites, almonds, cashews and dates. They are around 210 calories, but only 12 grams of protein. That’s why the Rise Bars were my top choice. The RX Bars are higher on the carb end, with 24 grams of carbs. That’s not necessarily bad, but our goal is protein. The other thing you want to be careful of are sugar alcohols. Some people, like myself, can’t digest them well, and they cause a lot of bowel issues. It is better to just stay away from those if possible.
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Home-Made Trail Mix:
Making your own trail mix is super fast and easy, it lasts for a while (I’m not sure how long. I always eat it too fast), and you have control of the protein/sugar ratios. Cashews, pistachios, almonds and pumpkin seeds are my favorite nuts. I like to combine those with semi-sweet chocolate chips (those are lower in sugar, but still super good), unsweetened coconut shreds and just a few dried dates. Dates are higher in sugar, so you want to just sprinkle those in. That’s about all I do. I will try to grab a photo the next time I make it. The only issue I have are how expensive cashews are. If anyone has a great place to buy or order those, that doesn’t literally cost my full right arm, let me know! Otherwise, there are some great protein blends you can order online, to make it even easier.
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Peanut Butter Powder:
I LOVE this stuff because you can bake with it, mix it in smoothies and just eat it. I have the chocolate/peanut butter blend right now, and I happen to eat it with a banana and chocolate chips as I am writing this. SO. GOOD. The powder formula takes at a lot of the fat and calories that are normally in peanut butter. You can take a tablespoon of the powder and mix it with a little water for about 50 calories. Compare that to 95 for 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and that’s not too bad.With the fat gone, this becomes a protein-heavy food, rather than a fat-heavy food. A great way to get some extra protein in, without adding more fat to your diet or macro count. You can grab this one off Amazon, or I’ve seen it at Walmart too for around the same price. From what I’ve seen, it is the most affordable. Check out this banana cookie recipe to get you motivated to bake with it too!
These are the 5 ways I get more protein in as a runner, and a postpartum mama of a baby who is 16 months and still nursing. Protein is super important to my milk supply while I add miles to my runs and start working towarsd some spring races. If you are wanting to try running after having babies, DO IT! I wrote a post on tips to get running again, even if it’s been years. I took about 5 years off, where maybe I ran 10 times total in those 5 years because I was pregnant, nursing, pregnant, nursing, pregnant and nursing. It takes a long time to feel back to normal, gain some muscle back and really have the motivation to hit the pavement again. Especially with three little ones now. I literally have to run with 3 in my fabulous double jogger.
Postpartum weight loss doesn’t always come easy. There’s so many hormones racing around, lack of sleep and intense sweet cravings to battle, but these foods are so good for your body and milk supply, as well as keeping you full while trying to lose weight. The true key is to put as many nutrients in your body as you can. The weight naturally falls off, when your body is given what it needs. Your body will also do what its supposed to do, like produce enough milk for your baby, if you give it the fuel to do so!
I have a very specialized program for postpartum mamas looking to heal, nourish and regain their strength. I really struggled healing after my first child, and even went through pelvic floor physical therapy for weeks to manage scar tissue that developed from tearing. I have experience studying nutrition, physical therapy and I taught Pilates, so I’ve put together a program I wish I would’ve followed from the beginning.
A program that first heals your body through specialized movements and nourishing foods. Foods are so essential to your body finding the nutrients it needs to put itself back together again. Your postpartum body needs special care in the first 4-6 weeks where you focus on regaining strength and properly fueling your body for breastfeeding.
This program then moves you into gaining physical fitness back. I will never forget the first time I tried to go for a run around 12 weeks postpartum after my first baby. I didn’t do any strength work, so I was literally jelly. I had lost all my extra fat and my previous muscle. So depressing. I was barely able to start gaining it back before I got pregnant and sick again with my second. I’ve learned so much on maintaining muscle postpartum through a unique diet and Pilates routines. I walk you through all of this too!
Lastly, I take you into a workout program to combine with a meal plan to help you lose the baby weight, not your milk!! !
I created this program to be affordable and realistic for new mams!
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So many mamas are having such success with the program, and let me share what they’ve said:
“I’m on the 14 day clean eating part and already feel a change. I love that your program caters to nursing moms. These recipes are boosting my milk supply! Thanks again and can’t wait to use the new app!”
“As far as counting calories, yes that was so helpful!… it was an eye opener…But your concept of reducing ever so slightly and monitoring milk supply was so helpful! I have lost 6lbs-yay!- and have 12 more to go! I am encouraged for sure because it is usually not until I’m done nursing that I’m able to lose weight. So I’m all in for hopefully the rest of my life-on clean eating like this and exercise! Thanks so much for your help!!”
“Feeling GREAT on this program!!! It’s unbelievable how eating clean makes such a difference. Let me rephrase that…it’s amazing the difference eating nutrient dense foods makes! My skin is glowing and I’m already shedding pounds! I also tried the first workout today and did well although I had to modify a bit and omit the backwards burpee (I had cesarean just over a month ago and don’t quite feel ready for that exercise just yet but I will get there). Loving this plan! Thank you SO MUCH for tour help!”
“The few changes I’ve made to diet per your instructions is already helping lower my sweet cravings. I’m sure I’ll notice an even bigger difference when I get stricter. This week has been great as I feel better, have already lost 2#, and haven’t seen a drop in milk supply which was my biggest concern. I look forward to starting the workouts tonight!”
“The baby steps have been super helpful including writing down everything I ate…Another 5 days would be amazing, I was thinking yesterday what am I going to do after the 5 days are finished. You have been incredibly helpful!! I am so appreciative!!!”
My program focuses on specialized nutrition for breastfeeding moms, recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, a new Ab Rehab + Pelvic Floor Restore program, and a new section on going back to work after baby coming soon!
The price is increasing once my certification as a Pre/Postnatal Exercise Specialist and the iOS app is out! Make sure to grab it now, while it is super affordable!