Here are 17 recipes — including vegan and paleo options — you can eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.
As you may know, eating for two goes beyond the pregnancy stage. Where it gets tricky is when a breastfeeding mother has an infant with a food allergy or intolerance. Proteins from what you eat can appear in breastmilk within 3 to 6 hours after your meal, which means your baby may be consuming allergens.
“A common strategy for breastfeeding mothers with gassy babies is to cut out dairy in their own diet for a few months, and try re-introducing it again when the baby is older to see if the same symptoms return or not,” says Melissa Olson, a registered dietitian-nutritionist, certified lactation counselor, and Director of Nutrition at Community Healthcare Network.
Consuming top allergens like soy and dairy during lactation can actually be protective against future allergies in your child. But if you need a dairy- and soy-free diet due to your baby’s symptoms or diagnosis, check out these 17 recipes — including vegan and paleo options — below.
Healthy meals to energize your day
Egg white muffins
These egg white muffins by The Ultimate Paleo Guide are the ideal food-to-go. These nutritious, easy-to-heat muffins can be prepared 12 at a time and stored in the fridge for anytime of the day. Egg whites are a great source of lean protein. The vegetables provide fiber and micronutrients for both you and your baby to stay healthy.
Chia seed pudding
Chia seed pudding by Oh She Glows is a health nut favorite! It’s high in protein and healthy fats. It may also be lower in sugar than your go-to cereal or oatmeal. It’s also easily customizable based on your preferred flavors and toppings. This recipe will provide healthy fats for your diet and breastmilk production.
Cinnamon toast breakfast quinoa
This breakfast quinoa “cereal” by Cookie and Kate is made with pecans and quinoa for a high protein breakfast option. Opt for almond, flax, coconut, or hemp milk instead of the cows’ milk and yogurt recommended as an optional topping in the recipe. Or leave it out altogether.
Breakfast bowls are an easy way to include protein and nutrients from vegetables into a breakfast meal. In this recipe by Fed and Fit, the eggs and sausage can be prepared ahead of time and as well as the vegetables. You can keep the prepared ingredients in the fridge for breakfast or a snack that’s easy to throw together quickly.
We’ve all seen and heard about avocado toast and it’s still a classic. Avocado is a great source of healthy fats. When paired with a source of protein like an egg and a nutritious tomato, this can be a healthy and balanced meal for your breastmilk. Learn how to make classic avocado toast in this recipe by California Avocado. Make sure the bread you choose has a simple ingredient list and contains no soy or dairy ingredients.
Midday meals that won’t give you food coma
Quinoa and kale protein power salad
The quinoa, kale, and garbanzo beans in this recipe by Foodie Crush can be stored for a few days. This recipe is jam-packed with protein and micronutrients.
Bacon lime sweet potato salad
This recipe by Paleo Hacks is packed full of nutrition and flavor. It contains vitamin A and fiber-rich sweet potatoes and garlic and green onions for flavor and antioxidants. It pulls the flavors together with the bacon, coconut oil, and lime juice.
Rainbow power greens salad with black eyed peas
This salad by Cotter Crunch contains some very nutritious but underrated roughage: purple cabbage and collard greens. This salad is full of protein-packed black-eyed peas, vitamins and minerals, and some anti-inflammatory properties from apple cider vinegar.
Chicken, avocado, and walnut salad
This recipe by Paleo Hacks is packed with protein from chicken breast, walnuts, and eggs. It provides healthy fats from avocado and flaxseed oil. If you’re a carnivore, this recipe will sooth your savory tooth.
Melon and prosciutto summer salad
This recipe is another one by Paleo Hacks. It’s refreshing for summer and packed with antioxidants and protein. The ingredients are easy to prep and can be purchased pre-sliced to throw together easily.
Evening meals that are easy to make
Zucchini noodles with avocado pesto and shrimp
Zucchini noodles are easy to make once you have a vegetable spiraler (try this one by Williams-Sonoma). These green swirls are a great substitute for spaghetti: They’re lower in carbohydrates. This recipe by Eating Well features dairy-free avocado pesto for healthy fats and protein from shrimp, making a healthy and balanced meal for you.
Paleo taco skillet and paleo taco bowls
This paleo taco skillet by Sweet C’s is packed with protein, fiber, and micronutrients. You can follow Sweet C’s recipe or create your own combination to get a delicious meal just the way you like it.
Healthy nachos? Yes, please! This recipe by Minimalist Baker contains carbohydrates from tortilla chips, protein from beans, healthy fats from guacamole, and antioxidants from salsa, jalapeño, and onion. The “cheese” sauce is also made without cashews in case you can’t eat nuts.
Ground turkey and spinach stuffed mushrooms
This recipe by Table for Two is great — each stuffed mushroom is a nutrition-packed meal on its own. These can be made ahead of time and stored in individual containers for the week for easy grab-and-go dinners.
For people who need to save time, chili is a very easy recipe to make and store for the week. This recipe by Cookie and Kate is vegetarian with beans as a main source of protein. It can be made with ground meat if you eat meat.
Sweet treats you’ll love to share
Dark chocolate avocado truffles
Dark chocolate avocado truffles may seem odd, but they’re actually creamier than grocery-store chocolate truffles. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than a milk chocolate and avocado is full of healthy fats. This recipe by Detoxinista doesn’t call for any additional sweeteners like honey and doesn’t need to. Honey can be included in the recipe if you need a little more sweetness to your truffle, though.
Raspberry nice cream
Healthy desserts are easier to make than you think. This recipe from Whole Foods uses just three ingredients. They just need to be blended together after they’re prepped for a delicious and simple dessert that’s also guilt-free. Sub the cashews for coconut cream if you can’t eat tree nuts.
Can you prevent food allergies from developing?
Cheryl Harris, registered dietitian-nutritionist, certified lactation counselor, and owner of Harris Whole Health, says avoiding allergens for healthy babies who are allergy-free may cause more harm than good. “Mothers only need to avoid those foods if she or the nursing baby already have an allergy to the food,” she explains. Consuming potential allergens while pregnant and breastfeeding can actually be protective against future food allergies in your child.
Getting too focused on avoiding an allergen can lead to nutrient imbalance. It’s important that you and your baby have diets consisting of all the nutrients that your baby needs for healthy growth and immune and brain development. Lean proteins, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can provide all of a mother and baby’s nutritional needs.
Sheena Pradhan has been published in The Huffington Post and is a regular contributor to India.com and Brown Girl Magazine. As a model, former semi-pro triathlete, and former beauty queen, Sheena Pradhan now runs the private practice Nutritious Balance, through which she offers nutrition coaching and a meal prep delivery service. You can connect with her on Twitter @sheenapradhan.