5 Best Foods for Breastfeeding Mothers

A breastfeeding mother has to be available 24 hours a day for nursing duty. As the body actively makes milk, most new mothers feel hungry often. Hence, it’s important that breastfeeding mothers consume nutrient-rich food that help to not only replenish their body but also to increase milk supply. A healthy mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates are ideal for breastfeeding mother. Let’s take a look at the 5 best foods for breastfeeding mothers.

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds rich in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids stimulate milk-making hormones. No wonder, a new mother is usually given a bowl full of soaked and peeled almonds first thing in the morning. Either grab a handful or eat it in the form of almond butter, almond shake or milk. Similarly, peanuts are said to help too. It is said that early exposure to peanuts might reduce the chances of nut allergy in kids.

Fox nuts or makhana. They are rich in calcium and help in milk supply. Roast in ghee till they become crunchy, add salt and black pepper.

Seeds are high in protein, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Use them liberally in cookies, chikkis, ladoos or sprinkle them on your salad or fruit bowl. Or make a trail mix using a variety of seeds like sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds. Throw in some dry berries, dry coconut shavings, cacao nibs and you are good to go.

Fenugreek seeds are known to be a galactagogue, which means it helps in boosting milk production. Eat fenugreek or methi ladoos or just soak some seeds overnight and consume it in the morning, or crush seeds into a powder and take 1-2 tsp first thing in the morning.

Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables have to feature in the list of food for breastfeeding mothers. Whether it’s spinach, dill, fenugreek leaves or mustard, green leafy vegetables are high in minerals such as folate, iron and calcium. They are known to enhance lactation if you include one or two portions of greens daily in your diet.

Have them in the form of subzi or make salad out of baby spinach, use fenugreek in thepla or paratha, and you will get a variety of things that you won’t get bored of easily.

Edible Gum

Edible gum is sap harvested from plants and then dried. Gond, gondh katira, dink or tracaganth gum is an edible gum and widely popular as lactation-friendly. Fry gond in ghee, crush it in a mixer or a mortar-pestle and use it in gondh ladoos, chikki or halwa.


Dairy products are rich in protein, which is essential to produce milk, and calcium. Consume milk, paneer, ghee and yogurt; they are good foods for lactating mothers.


Herbs like turmeric, ashwagandha, ganthoda, etc. are good foods for breastfeeding mothers. Add turmeric powder or ganthoda powder in warm milk. Ashwagandha capsules are available, have 1 a day or as prescribed on the box.

These are the best foods for mothers for breastfeeding. However, remember, only a good diet doesn’t help. A mother should also

Stay stress free

Consume plenty of water

Indulge in light exercise

Have a great time nourishing your newborn!

The truth about protein bars that no one tells you

Protein bars as a post workout snack or as a meal replacement food are quite popular. For of course, what better way to consume more protein than munching on protein bars. No wonder, they come in various flavours, from white and dark chocolate to caramel and coffee, and fruit flavours. Their low calorie count is definitely attractive. And they come in no fuss, attractive package and taste so good too. Right?


Protein bars may have this ‘sinfully healthy snack halo’, but they are not as guilt-free as they are touted to be. Let’s understand what protein bars are and what goes into making them.

Most protein bars contain a variety of ingredients to make up for the macro nutrients.

Protein – The most common ingredients in protein bars are whey and soy protein isolates. Soy protein isolates are high in protein but are processed at such high temperatures that removes the nutrients and leaves toxic by-products. On the other hand, whey protein isolates have less fat, lactose and carbohydrates, but they can still cause digestive upset and bloating. 

Carbohydrates – Whole grains like oats, rice flakes and quinoa go into making of bars. Other carbs come from sweeteners.

Most popular sweeteners that go into protein bars are sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, lactitol, manitol, erythritol; they are low carb sugars as they do not get absorbed by the digestive system but they can on the other hand cause gas, bloating or in some cases diarrhea.

Processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, fructose, caramel, dextrose, maltodextrin are also added as sweeteners as they are cheaper to produce, but they get absorbed in the body quickly and get stored as fat if not readily used.

With storehouse of sugars, no wonder, protein bars taste like heaven in every bite. But can protein bars be healthy or effective post workout snacks if they are loaded with processed sugars or artificial sweeteners?

Fats – Nuts and seeds are added to bars as they are considered healthy fats. Even edible oils are added. We suggest you check out the ingredients at the back of your favourite bar. Ingredients are always listed in the decreasing order of their percentage. If you find nuts and seeds at the end of the list, you would know their use in the bar is negligible, and that most of the fats is coming from oils.

Fiber – Dietary fiber like fructooligosaccharide and chicory root fiber are added. What are fructooligosaccharides? They are oligosaccharides that occur naturally in plants like banana, artichoke, onion, chicory, garlic, asparagus, etc. But its overuse can cause side effects like digestive upset and abdominal stress. It’s always recommended to eat whole foods than their derivatives.

Protein bars or meal replacement bars look quite appealing when they come with only 200 calories. Also, a protein bar is quicker, less messier when you need a meal-on-the-go. And they have all the macro nutrients that a complete meal should have.

But does that make it an ideal substitute to a wholesome meal?

A complete meal for example, a breakfast meal contains fruits, fibre rich carbs and eggs or milk and nuts for protein and good fats. While a bar gives you the protein in terms of grams it misses out on key micro nutrients like the vitamins and minerals present in your fruits and veggies.

Furthermore, you need to decide whether calories coming from corn syrup or sugar alcohols are acceptable to you. And also whether you want to have fructoogliosaccharide in your diet or you would rather munch on an apple or a pear, along with a handful of almonds and pistachios to get your fiber.

So, are all protein bars unhealthy?

Well, we never said that. You just need to know your protein bar and learn to differentiate wholesome bars from unhealthy ones.

Look for bars with whole ingredients

Good protein bars are made of dried fruits, nuts, coconut, whey and oats, and egg whites for eggetarian crowd.

  • Look for bars that contain dried fruits like unsweetened cherries, berries and dates as they provide the required sweetness without piling on the calories, while nuts like almonds, pistachios, peanuts provide protein and healthy fats.
  • Bars containing seeds is highly nutritious.
  • Look for egg white or whey for non-vegan options and cacao instead of cocoa or chocolate for vegan protein sources.

Here are a few protein bars that are far better than the ones available in the market.

  • Protein bars from Whole Truth are rich in nuts and seeds, and while they don’t contain any sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners, they contain whey which taken in large quantities can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Energy bars from Gouri’s Goodies are loaded with nuts and seeds and are sweetened with palm jaggery, honey or dates.

Pick ones that are high in protein

Most bars range from 3 to 20 gm of protein. Remember, an average individual leading a sedentary lifestyle should consume 0.8 gms of protein per kilogram of their body weight.

If you work out regularly in the gym or indulge in fair amount of activity every day, then you need a protein bar with a higher protein content, whereas if your activity levels are low, you need a protein bar with less protein content. Thus, an average man needs 56 gms of protein while an average women needs 46 gms of protein per day. So, if you choose a protein bar with 5-6 gms of protein content, that takes care of 10% of your daily protein requirement.

Also, keep in mind that real, wholesome foods are always better than bars. There are times when you are genuinely busy and can’t sit down for a proper meal. So, yes, munching on a protein bar seems easier, less messy way of getting some nutrition. But, at other times, remember that a protein bar can’t really replace real food.

There are protein rich foods like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, turkey and options like edamame, quinoa, hummus, lentils, black beans and other types of beans that are rich in plant based protein.

A bowl of Greek yogurt with a handful of almonds, dates and banana would be a tasty alternative to a protein bar. Think about it!

If you are looking for a quick healthy bite with a decent mix of protein, healthy carbs and fats, try some of our vegan Sesame Peanut Ladoo (Sesame seeds, Peanuts and Jaggery) or gluten-free Besan Ladoo (Chick Pea flour, Musk Melon seeds, Ghee and Jaggery). Each ladoo is loaded with the goodness of 2.4 gms of protein, 10 gms of carbs and 6 gms of fat with just 100 calories.

Why Homemade Sweets are Better than Store Bought?

My nani was a simple homemaker. And an excellent cook. Not only her regular khana was fingerlicking good, but also her sweets and pickles were out of this world. 

As a small child, I had observed her, on various occasions, making sweets for her extended family – her married daughters, sisters-in-law who stayed in Delhi, her own sisters who were scattered all around the north east. She effortlessly made parwal ki mithai, mohanthal, kaju and badam ki katli, besan ke ladoo and what not. And very carefully, she put chandi ki varakh on katlis and mohanthals. It was a treat to watch her working in the kitchen. In the summer vacation, she made pickles – mango and gund.

My nani put adequate amounts of sugar (sugar was not a bad word then and the words like ‘processed’, ‘refined’ and ‘organic’ had still not been coined) and copious amounts of ghee. No wonder her sweets tasted like little bits of heaven.

Fortunately for me, my mother inherited the cooking genes from my nani. She is a super cook as well.

It’s been 14 years since I have been married, but my mother still sends me ‘moong ki dal ka halwa’ and ‘churme ka ladoo’ on Diwali. Her sweets have sugar and ghee and her love.

When I ask her, why so much ghee and sugar, she tells me, “It’s homemade. You know what quantity of sugar and what quality of ghee you are putting in, unlike market bought where you are not sure whether they are serving you hydrogenated oils.”

Point noted. The culprits are not sugar and ghee, but the mediocre quality food and adulteration that is found aplenty in store bought foods.

At least with homemade foods, you know what you are eating, even if it’s sugar, ghee or refined flour.

Now, you know why homemade sweets are better than store bought ones.