If you recently welcomed a new baby, your life has probably been turned upside down. From physical and emotional exhaustion, and the challenges of recovering from labor, to those wild hormonal shifts (seriously, why am I crying one minute and laughing the next?), your body takes a serious toll. And did we mention there’s still a tiny living creature to take care of? With all that chaos, self-care usually takes the backseat, especially when it comes to feeding yourself. But during this recovery phase, a nutritious postpartum diet is crucial, and certain foods can play a key role in helping you heal and regain your strength.  

The best postpartum foods to eat are ones that provide essential nutrients to support your recovery. Not only do they nourish and give you energy, but they also offer ample calories to keep you satiated between newborn feeds (and cuddles). As a dietitian, I recommend these 7 foods to support new moms and help them feel their best.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a top pick because it’s packed with omega-3s to help reduce inflammation, and lean protein to assist in repairing stretched and torn tissues. When you’re in a pinch, try roasting it with garlic salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Or whip up some quick salmon rice bowls by baking it with teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, and fresh garlic. If you have an air-fryer, try this drool-worthy salmon bites recipe (the cook time is less than 10 minutes!).

Related: 13 Salmon Recipes Perfect for Weeknight Dinners

Plant-based sources of omega-3s include chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. If you follow a vegetarian diet, consider sprinkling chia and hemp seeds on cottage cheese, using ground flaxseed as a substitute for eggs in baked goods, or tossing walnuts into salads or pasta dishes.

2. Oats

Make carbs count with oats, which are loaded with protein, fiber, and iron. Keep it simple with stovetop oatmeal or overnight oats, and if you’re feeling creative, try oatmeal muffins or chunky monkey banana bread, which both freeze well too. Plus, while research is still limited, oats can potentially increase milk supply, which can be a lifesaver for breastfeeding moms.

3. Nuts and nut butter

When you’re running on fumes from caring for your newborn, spending hours in the kitchen is likely the last thing on your mind. Nuts are the ultimate no-fuss power snack, packed with healthy fats and protein. Plus, they’re calorie-dense, and postpartum moms need those extra calories to support recovery. Slather peanut butter on toast, dunk apple slices in creamy almond butter, or toss a handful of nuts into a salad for a satisfying crunch. If you’re craving some comfort food, incorporate nuts into dishes like Thai peanut curry and cashew chicken, or use this peanut butter sauce as a marinade for proteins, a salad dressing, or a dipping sauce for spring rolls. 

4. Beef

Whether you prefer ground beef, skirt steak, or brisket, they’re all fantastic sources of iron which helps replenish blood loss from labor. My fave method for cooking beef is using the Crock-Pot or slow cooker—just toss it in, forget about it, and it’s ready for dinner. Try making beef stew, spaghetti bolognese, or this easy slow-cooker brisket recipe, which are all nutrient-rich options that require minimal effort. 

If you’re looking for vegan foods that are iron-rich, add beans, lentils, tofu, and quinoa into your meals. I love this simple slow-cooker Mediterranean lentil stew and this stir-fry recipe that includes both tofu and quinoa.

5. Eggs

Not only are eggs one of the most affordable animal proteins, but they’re also among the quickest to prepare. They’re rich in protein, vitamin D for immune support, and choline which supports brain development in breastfed babies. Enjoy them hard-boiled, scrambled, or poached, or incorporate them into dishes like veggie fried rice or Middle-Eastern shakshuka.

Looking for quick-to-prepare plant-based proteins? Try edamame, lentil pasta, tempeh, or crispy chickpeas.

6. Avocado 

With a whopping 10 grams of fiber per cup and loads of magnesium, avocados are an essential food when you’re dealing with postpartum constipation. Both fiber and magnesium promote regular bowel movements, offering gentle relief during this phase. Blend avocados into smoothies for an extra creamy texture, dip some veggies guacamole or avocado salsa, or snack on some avocado chocolate mousse for a delicious treat.

7. Greek yogurt

I’m a big fan of Greek yogurt because it’s packed with protein and serves as an excellent source of calcium, which is crucial for replenishing lost stores during pregnancy and maintaining strong bones. Opt for unsweetened varieties, and if you’re craving a touch of sweetness you can always add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. For a quick and delicious breakfast option, throw together a breakfast parfait with alternating layers of Greek yogurt, berries, and granola. And if you find yourself with some extra time between naps, experiment with recipes like a berry yogurt bake or this creamy Caesar salad-dressing alternative

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