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13 Easy Meals for New Mothers

Salmon

Avoiding overconsumption of fish known for containing mercury is important during breastfeeding. Salmon can be a great way to include lean protein sources in your diet. In particular, salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great brain boosters.

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Yogurt, Cheese, and Milk

Just like pregnancy, if your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, it will pull from the maternal stores to make sure the breast milk has plenty of the things Baby needs. Calcium, in particular, is necessary for that tiny skeleton growing a mile a minute. Opt for low-fat options of milk, cheese, or Greek yogurt -- some of which can be excellent sources of protein as well.

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Beef

Since breastfeeding usually keeps your period at bay for a few months longer, you aren’t going to lose iron through menstruation. However, for moms who lost a lot of blood during childbirth, keeping up your iron stores is especially important. Choose lean beef sources for a good iron and protein boost without the fat of a juicy cheeseburger.

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Green Beans

Green beans have a lot of fiber that can help keep the digestive tract on track, but it also has a ton of other essential nutrients. Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients because it can keep you and your baby healthy. They’re also high in vitamins A, C, K, and B6.

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Fruit

A variety of fruits (fresh or frozen) is vital to any diet, and a breastfeeding diet is no exception. Fruits like blueberries (and any other berries you like) are packed with vitamins. Oranges and other citrus are a fantastic way to get lots of vitamin C -- which is very critical for nursing mamas than pregnant ones.

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Almonds

Almonds and other nuts can be a great snack. They’re full of good fats, protein, and even the much-sought-after calcium. Nut butter can be a good alternative if you don’t like the accompanying crunch, but keep an eye on the ingredient label, as many nut butters have way more sugar and other unnecessary chemicals.

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Whole Grain Cereal

For an easy breakfast with a lot of important stuff, opt for whole grain cereals -- not the sugary stuff that tastes good. Cheerios, Special K, and other brands you skim over when you’re shopping for the kids are an excellent source of energy-full carbohydrates. And while every diet you’ve ever heard of probably recommended reducing carbs, this is one time you can indulge without shame.

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Eggs

Eggs are some of the easiest mother foods to prepare and are loaded with omega-3s that your growing baby needs and your recovering body craves. A breakfast scramble loaded with veggies and some lean meats or "nutritional yeast" B-12 supplement will start your day on a solid foundation. Egg salads, sliced eggs on salads and sandwiches, deviled eggs and simply plain hard boiled eggs are easy to grab and will ground your diet throughout the day.

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Spinach

Spinach is on just about every diet list ever made, and there’s a reason. Spinach and similar greens (note: iceberg lettuce does not count) have iron, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and they’re good for your heart. What’s not to love?

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Water

One of the single most important things a nursing mom can do is drink so much water she feels like her own little river. In general, most people should drink about 64 ounces of water a day. When you’re breastfeeding, it’s time to up that to a full 96 ounces to make up for all the extra liquid you’re putting out. Make sure to sip constantly, rather than chug frantically once or twice a day.

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Nut Butters

Nuts and seeds are high in the fats that you and your baby need, so eat up! This mother food can be spread some on a whole grain bagel, hearty cracker or slice of toast, plain or with some fruit or honey and cinnamon for the feel of a "treat." For an extra special snack, mix up your favorite sugar-free nut butter with some evaporated or dried milk, honey, cinnamon, raisins and chocolate chips, then roll into balls and dip in coconut flakes. Refrigerate to set up and enjoy a quick, energy-boosting sweet treat that will nourish the whole family.

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Beans & Legumes

Often, pregnancy-induced anemia occurs when the mother's blood volume expands to accommodate the growing little one. This can extend into postpartum weeks and months, as well, since so many mothers have difficulty taking time to feed themselves. Beans and legumes are high in iron and can be used in a variety of ways, making this one mother food to stock up on.

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Kale

Loaded with folate, iron, and vitamins, kale can be a great addition to a new mother’s diet. The easiest way to eat kale takes nothing more than a good blender and a large glass. Adding a handful or two of the leafy green to your fruit smoothies gives you an undetected addition of vitamins and minerals. Smoothies make an excellent breakfast, snack, or meal on the go.

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