Skip to content

Postpartum Nutrition: Ultimate Nutrients to Heal Your Body

Welcome to motherhood; your new baby is here. You are now challenged with taking care of a newborn while also healing and recovering after childbirth. This can be an intense experience which is why postpartum nutrition is essential to your recovery. The correct postpartum nutrition will aid in healing, energy management, and overall well-being. Studies have found that the correct postpartum nutrition reduces incidences of postpartum depression. Let’s dive into the benefits of healthy eating during the postpartum period, and discover meals that help with postpartum healing.

Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

Why Prioritize Postpartum Nutrition?

  • Healing & Recovery: Proper nutrition provides the building blocks your body needs to repair itself after childbirth.
  • Energy Management: As sleep becomes a precious commodity, a balanced diet can help stabilize energy levels throughout the day.
  • Nutrient Replenishment: Childbirth demands a substantial draw on your body’s resources; it’s essential to replenish these to support your health and your baby’s.
  • Lactation & Milk Production: Nutrient-rich foods enhance the quality of breast milk while supporting lactation for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Weight & Mood Balance: A nutritious diet supports a healthy weight journey postpartum and can play a role in mood regulation, helping to offset the risk of postpartum depression.

Key Nutrients to Embrace

Your body’s need for certain nutrients skyrockets after delivery, particularly if you are breastfeeding. These include:

  1. Protein:

Protein is essential for tissue repair and muscle recovery, making it an important nutrient for postpartum healing. Aim to include lean sources of protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, lentils, and beans in your meals. These foods provide the building blocks your body needs to repair and rebuild tissues that may have been stretched or torn during childbirth.

Food suggestions: Grilled salmon with quinoa and steamed broccoli, lentil soup with whole grain bread, Greek yogurt with nuts and berries.

2. Iron:

Iron plays a crucial role in replenishing the blood supply that you may have lost during delivery, as well as supporting energy levels and preventing postpartum fatigue. Incorporate iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, poultry, leafy greens (spinach, kale), fortified cereals, and legumes into your diet.

Food suggestions: Spinach and chicken stir-fry, lentil and vegetable curry with brown rice, iron-fortified oatmeal topped with sliced strawberries and almonds.

3. Calcium:

Calcium is essential for bone health, especially important during the postpartum period as your body may be recovering from the demands of pregnancy and childbirth. Aim to include dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as calcium-fortified plant-based alternatives such as almond or soy milk. You can also find calcium in leafy vegetables such as collard greens and turnip greens. One cup of cooked collard greens contains 268 milligrams of calcium

Food suggestions: Greek yogurt parfait with granola and sliced bananas, spinach and feta omelet with whole grain toast, cottage cheese, and fruit salad.

4. Omega-3 fatty acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are important for brain health, which is especially beneficial during the postpartum period when you may be experiencing hormonal changes and mood swings. Include fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds in your diet.

Food suggestions: Grilled salmon salad with avocado and citrus dressing, chia seed pudding with mixed berries, whole grain toast with almond butter, and sliced bananas.

5. Fiber:

Fiber is essential for promoting healthy digestion and preventing constipation, which is a common issue during the postpartum period. Incorporate fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds into your meals.

  • Food suggestions: Quinoa and black bean salad with roasted vegetables, whole grain pasta with marinara sauce and steamed broccoli, fruit smoothie with spinach and chia seeds

Meal and Snack Inspirations

Here are some comforting, nutritious meal and snack ideas that are simple to prepare and packed with the nutrients vital for postpartum healing.

Breakfast

  1. Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of granola or chopped nuts for added protein and crunch.
  2. Vegetable Omelet: Whip up a fluffy omelet filled with sautéed vegetables like spinach, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Serve with a side of whole-grain toast for added fiber.
  3. Overnight Oats: Prepare overnight oats by soaking rolled oats in milk (or a milk alternative) with a dash of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of cinnamon. In the morning, top with sliced bananas, nuts, and a dollop of almond butter.
  4. Whole Grain Pancakes: Make a batch of whole grain pancakes using whole wheat flour or oat flour. Serve with a topping of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for added protein and vitamins.
  5. Avocado Toast: Mash ripe avocado onto whole grain toast and top with sliced tomatoes, a sprinkle of feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with a side of hard-boiled eggs for extra protein.
  6. Smoothie Bowl: Blend frozen berries, banana, spinach, and Greek yogurt until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top with granola, sliced almonds, and a drizzle of honey.
  7. Quinoa Breakfast Bowl: Cook quinoa in milk (or water) and stir in a spoonful of almond butter, sliced bananas, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add a handful of blueberries and chopped nuts for extra flavor and nutrients.
  8. Breakfast Burrito: Fill a whole grain tortilla with scrambled eggs, black beans, diced avocado, salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll it up and enjoy it with a side of fresh fruit.
  9. Chia Seed Pudding: Mix chia seeds with coconut milk and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to thicken. In the morning, top with sliced strawberries, shredded coconut, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  10. Salmon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich: Grill or bake a salmon fillet and layer it onto a whole-grain English muffin with a fried egg, sliced tomato, and avocado. Add a dash of hot sauce for a kick of flavor.

Lunch

  1. Grilled Chicken Salad: Grill or bake chicken breast and slice it over a bed of mixed greens. Add chopped veggies like cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted nuts or seeds for extra flavor and nutrients.
  2. Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry: Sauté your favorite vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and snap peas) with cooked quinoa in a bit of olive oil and soy sauce. Add cooked chicken, tofu, or shrimp for extra protein.
  3. Whole Grain Wrap: Fill a whole grain wrap with hummus, sliced turkey or chicken breast, avocado, lettuce, and shredded carrots. Roll it up and serve with a side of sliced fruit or raw veggies with dip.
  4. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl: Roast cubed sweet potatoes in the oven until tender and serve over cooked quinoa or brown rice. Top with black beans, diced avocado, salsa, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
  5. Vegetable and Lentil Soup: Make a hearty soup by simmering lentils with diced vegetables (such as carrots, celery, onions, and kale) in vegetable broth. Season with herbs and spices like garlic, thyme, and bay leaves for added flavor.
  6. Salmon Avocado Toast: Top whole-grain toast with mashed avocado, smoked salmon, sliced cucumber, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with a side salad or fruit for a balanced meal.
  7. Turkey and Veggie Wrap: Spread whole grain tortillas with cream cheese or Greek yogurt and layer with sliced turkey, shredded lettuce, grated carrots, and sliced cucumbers. Roll up and slice into pinwheels for easy eating.
  8. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad: Combine cooked quinoa with chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and chopped fresh herbs like parsley and mint. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Tuna Salad Stuffed Bell Peppers: Mix canned tuna with Greek yogurt, diced celery, red onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stuff the mixture into halved bell peppers and serve with a side of whole grain crackers or sliced veggies.
  10. Vegetable and Chickpea Curry: Simmer chickpeas and mixed vegetables (such as cauliflower, bell peppers, and spinach) in a flavorful curry sauce made with coconut milk and spices like curry powder, turmeric, and cumin. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Dinner

  1. Grilled Salmon with Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables: Serve a grilled salmon fillet with a side of fluffy quinoa and a variety of roasted vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers.
  2. Lentil Soup with Whole Grain Bread: Enjoy a hearty bowl of lentil soup packed with vegetables like carrots, celery, and spinach. Pair it with a slice of whole-grain bread for added fiber.
  3. Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Brown Rice: Sauté chicken breast strips with an assortment of colorful vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas, and mushrooms. Serve over cooked brown rice for a satisfying meal.
  4. Vegetarian Chili with Cornbread: Simmer a pot of vegetarian chili loaded with beans, tomatoes, onions, and spices. Enjoy it with a slice of warm cornbread for a comforting dinner.
  5. Pasta Primavera with Grilled Chicken: Toss cooked pasta with an array of seasonal vegetables such as zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus. Add grilled chicken slices for extra protein and flavor.
  6. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill halved bell peppers with a mixture of cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and spices. Bake until tender and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt or avocado.
  7. Turkey Meatballs with Whole Wheat Pasta: Make lean turkey meatballs seasoned with garlic, herbs, and breadcrumbs. Serve them over whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and a side of steamed broccoli.
  8. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup: Make classic grilled cheese sandwiches using whole grain bread and your favorite cheese. Serve alongside a warm bowl of tomato soup for a comforting and nostalgic meal.
  9. Salmon Salad with Avocado Dressing: Create a vibrant salad with mixed greens, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and grilled salmon. Drizzle with a creamy avocado dressing made with avocado, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro.
  10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Dinner: Toss cubed sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and chicken thighs with olive oil and seasonings. Roast everything on a sheet pan until tender and caramelized for an easy and nutritious meal.

Image by azerbaijan_stockers on Freepik

Snacks

  1. Apple Slices with Nut Butter: Slice up an apple and spread almond butter or peanut butter on each slice. The combination of fiber from the apple and protein from the nut butter will keep you feeling satisfied.
  2. Hummus and Veggie Sticks: Dip baby carrots, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, or celery sticks into creamy hummus for a crunchy and satisfying snack packed with fiber and protein.
  3. Trail Mix: Mix together a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried apricots for a nutrient-rich snack that provides energy and essential nutrients.
  4. Hard-Boiled Eggs: Prepare a batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the fridge for a quick and convenient snack option. Eggs are a great source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
  5. Whole Grain Crackers with Cheese: Pair whole grain crackers with slices of cheese for a balanced snack that provides protein, calcium, and fiber. Add some cherry tomatoes or cucumber slices on the side for extra freshness.
  6. Cottage Cheese with Pineapple: Enjoy a serving of cottage cheese topped with chunks of fresh pineapple for a sweet and savory snack that’s rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin C.
  7. Smoothie: Blend your favorite fruits, leafy greens like spinach or kale, Greek yogurt, and a splash of almond milk or coconut water for a refreshing and nutritious snack that’s easy to digest.
  8. Homemade Energy Balls: Make energy balls using ingredients like rolled oats, nut butter, honey, and add-ins such as dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and refrigerate until firm. These energy balls provide a quick boost of energy and are perfect for satisfying hunger between meals.
  9. Rice Cakes with Avocado: Spread mashed avocado onto rice cakes and top with a sprinkle of black pepper or red pepper flakes. Rice cakes are light and crunchy, while avocado adds healthy fats and fiber, making this snack both satisfying and nutritious.
  10. Variety of Fruits:
    • Berries: Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They can help support your immune system, aid in digestion, and provide a natural energy boost.
    • Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium, which is important for maintaining electrolyte balance and regulating blood pressure. They’re also a good source of carbohydrates, providing a quick and easy source of energy.
    • Oranges: Oranges are high in vitamin C, which is essential for collagen production, wound healing, and boosting immunity. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption, which can help replenish iron stores depleted during childbirth.
    • Avocado: While technically a fruit, avocado is often treated like a vegetable. It’s an excellent source of healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fats, which can help support brain health, hormone production, and skin elasticity during the postpartum period.
    • Pineapple: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce swelling and inflammation, common concerns during the postpartum period. Additionally, pineapple is rich in vitamin C and manganese.
    • Mango: Mangoes are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and antioxidants. Vitamin A is important for tissue repair and skin health, while vitamin C supports immune function and collagen synthesis.
    • Papaya: Papaya is another fruit rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as digestive enzymes like papain. These enzymes can aid in digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, which may be beneficial postpartum.
    • Watermelon: Watermelon is hydrating and refreshing, making it an ideal snack for postpartum recovery. It’s also rich in vitamins A and C, as well as lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health.
    • Kiwi: Kiwi is a nutrient-dense fruit packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and fiber. It also contains a unique enzyme called actinidin, which may aid in digestion and alleviate constipation, a common issue postpartum.
    • Pears: Pears are a good source of fiber, which can help promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation. They also contain vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids.

Hydration Station

  1. Water: Plain water is the best choice for hydration. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re breastfeeding, to replenish fluids lost during childbirth and milk production.
  2. Herbal Teas: Herbal teas can be soothing and hydrating, providing a variety of health benefits. Chamomile tea may help promote relaxation and sleep, while ginger tea can aid in digestion and alleviate nausea. Peppermint tea is another option that may help soothe digestive discomfort.
  3. Coconut Water: Coconut water is naturally hydrating and rich in electrolytes like potassium, making it a good choice for replenishing fluids and minerals lost during childbirth or breastfeeding.
  4. Infused Water: Infusing water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs can add flavor and make hydration more enjoyable. Try adding slices of lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves to your water for a refreshing twist.
  5. Milk: Dairy milk or fortified plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk can be a good source of hydration and nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.

The postpartum period is filled with mental and physical changes, but the correct postpartum nutrition will assist you in healing, energy management, and overall well-being. As you take care of your new baby, also take care of yourself by listening to your body. Choose foods that will make you feel good and assist in your postpartum healing. If you have any specific dietary concerns or medical conditions remember to visit with your doctor. I wish you all the best in your postpartum recovery. 


Lin, Y. H., Chen, C. M., Su, H. M., Mu, S. C., Chang, M. L., Chu, P. Y., & Li, S. C. (2019). Association between postpartum nutritional status and postpartum depression symptoms. Nutrients11(6), 1204.

8 thoughts on “Postpartum Nutrition: Ultimate Nutrients to Heal Your Body”

  1. I had a very bad birthing experience, I lost nearly half my blood and took quite some time to recover. I wish I’d had this list to hand back then, it would have meant a much quicker healing process. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your birth experience. The toil it takes on the body is severe for some people. Knowing the proper nutrients to assist after birth helps with recovery time. Thank you for reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *