The information included in Dear Stephanie posts is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation, or if you have any questions regarding conception, pregnancy, or your prenatal treatment plan.
In last week’s Dear Stephanie, I addressed the appropriateness of the #SeptemberWhole30 for breastfeeding mamas. This week, I thought it would be helpful to share what a typical week of Whole30 meals looks like for me, a breastfeeding mama who is currently doing a Whole30.
My Whole30 Plan of Attack
My Whole30 strategy hinges on two factors: speed and convenience. I typically have eggs and veggies for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and a huge salad with whatever protein I make for dinner. This requires me to prepare 3-4 main protein meals each week, hard-boil eggs, and roast a few trays of veggies for my weekly food prep.
Every now and then I’ll make my own guacamole, dairy-free pesto, or dipping sauce, but I often let Primal Kitchen or Tessemae’s do the extra work for me. These convenience items make this way of eating more sustainable for my schedule.
Meals for the Day
I wrote about the importance of consuming enough calories and fluids in the previous post; I want to share an example of what this looks like based on the meal prep strategies outlined above.
Here is what a typical Whole30 day looks like for me:
Meal 1: Egg and veggie scramble cooked in ghee with a side of sweet potato hash, sauerkraut, and a cup of bone broth
Time-saving tip: Chop a bunch of bell peppers, mushrooms and onions ahead of time. Instead of slicing the sweet potatoes for the hash, top one of your previously baked sweet potatoes with scrambled eggs and sautéed veggies. Alternately, you can spiralize the sweet potato to add variety. If you don’t feel like making your own bone broth, you can purchase Whole30-approved bone broth.
Snack: Carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes with guacamole
Time saving tip: Use baby carrots and purchase pre-made, compliant guacamole.
Meal 2: Salmon cakes on a large salad with Tessemae’s dressing and a side of berries
Time saving tip: Make a double batch of the No-Fuss Salmon Cakes from The Whole30 freeze them or make a simple salmon salad by mixing a can of wild salmon with Primal Kitchens Mayo and having it with a salad made from raw and roasted veggies.
Snack: Apple, macadamia nuts, and a hard-boiled egg
Time saving tip: Make a dozen hard-boiled eggs to keep on hand, or purchase pre-made organic hard-boiled eggs.
Meal 3: Beef stew (made with cubed winter squash and potatoes) and mashed cauliflower
Time saving tip: Toss the ingredients in an Instant Pot or slow cooker for a hands-off meal. You can even purchase pre-cut squash. These strategies work great mid-week when you have less time.
Finding a Whole30 Meal Plan for YOU
Did you notice that there are no serving sizes on the above meal plan? That’s because everyone is different. Just like there is no-one-size-fits-all pregnancy diet, there is also no perfect diet for breastfeeding. Your goal? A diet that is based on nutrient-dense foods. This is the best for you and your baby, and your exact nutrient demands will depend on how active you are, how much your baby is nursing, your blood sugar tolerance, weight, and a variety of other factors.
While some moms may be able to maintain an abundant milk supply while consuming 1,800-2,200 calories, others may need much more than that. Since a sudden drop in calories may put your milk supply at risk, you want to be careful about not dipping too low when embarking on a new nutrition plan like the Whole30.
Let your hunger and energy guide you. See how your milk supply and baby are responding. If your baby has at least 5-8 wet diapers, appears happy and content, is gaining weight and growing in length and head circumference, you’re on the right track. Every day may be different. Personally, some days it feels like there’s not enough food in the world to fill me up. Other days, I can barely make it half-way through my typical portions. You may feel satisfied in between meals and don’t need to snack; that’s great! There’s no need to snack if three solid meals is working for you.
Listen to your body, but make sure you’re eating enough. And finally, if your daily meal plan doesn’t always look like the one listed above, don’t feel guilty. When you’re a breastfeeding mom, sometimes a smoothie for breakfast or a handful of macadamia nuts and an Epic bar for lunch is just going to have to work.
Plan to eat three meals a day following the Whole30 meal template, but also accept that on certain days that might not be possible for you. Beating yourself up over a few meals and snacks that aren’t your version of perfect is actually counterproductive.
Focus on the big picture when it comes to your Whole30, and you’ll do great!
Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition who specializes in women’s health. She is a certified personal trainer and prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. Stephanie guides and supports women locally and globally through her web-based private practice,RockYourHormones.com.