Almond blueberry lactation balls are quick and easy to make. Get the recipe for these no-bake lactation bites to help fuel your body during breastfeeding.
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These no-bake lactation balls provide you the fuel you need for breastfeeding
While we often talk about eating more during pregnancy, your calorie needs are actually even higher if you decide to breastfeed.
And one of the best ways to support your nutrition and milk supply is by eating frequent small meals and snacks that are packed with nutrient-rich ingredients – like these lactation energy bites!
Personally, I love energy balls and bars as they’re just so convenient. Simply make a big batch and either store them in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
It also doesn’t hurt that they also taste delicious and have a cookie dough-like texture either!
Of course, you don’t have to be breastfeeding to enjoy these vegan protein balls. As they’re made with just a few wholesome ingredients, they’re also a great snack for kids and non-lactating adults as well!
Why you’ll love this recipe
Quick and easy to make
Packed with important nutrients
Can be prepped ahead of time
Similar taste and texture as cookie dough!
Nutrition needs when breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a lot of work for your body! As a result, some of your nutrient needs increase as well.
Folic acid (although needs are lower than they were in pregnancy)
You can see the exact amounts by visiting the National Institutes of Health vitamin and mineral DRI tables.
Foods that are good for lactation
Overall, the best diet when breastfeeding also happens to be the “best” for all of us: a balanced, varied diet composed mostly of minimally processed, whole foods.
However, there are a bunch of ingredients that have been proposed as being good for your milk supply while breastfeeding.
And while some do have research behind them, others are more commonly found in alternative medicine and may not have been studied scientifically — and both are fair game.
It all depends on what you find works best for your body and your milk supply.
However, here are some foods that tend to be the most popular when it comes to eating to support your milk supply:
Oatmeal and oat milk: whole grains in general, but especially oats, are thought to have properties that support breast milk production.
Dark green vegetables: leafy greens and dark green veggies like broccoli contain phytoestrogens that may be helpful in boosting milk supply.
Fenugreek: contains estrogen-like compounds that may help with milk flow.
Fennel seeds: also contain estrogen-like compounds and has been shown in small studies to help with milk production.
Brewer’s yeast: rich in several essential micronutrients and a good source of protein. While people swear by it, it’s effectiveness hasn’t yet been proven in clinical studies.
Almonds: in addition to providing key nutrients that you need during breastfeeding like vitamin E and calcium, almonds are thought to help make breast milk creamier and sweeter to encourage your baby to nurse. Again, this hasn’t been proven by research.
Sesame seeds: contain estrogen-like properties and are rich in calcium, so they may be helpful with lactation.
Garlic: many moms swear that eating garlic helps increase milk production and increases how long their babies want to feed. However, there’s no research to back up these claims.
This recipe focuses on ingredients and nutrients that are important for breastfeeding and may help with your milk supply
As mentioned above, while there’s some research to support certain foods in supporting your milk supply, results are highly individualized.
Plus, even if you do add those foods, you likely won’t see results unless you’re also giving your body the protein, calories, and micronutrients that it needs to support lactation.
That’s where these lactation balls come in! I focused on creating a recipe that’s both nutritious and contains some of these milk-boosting ingredients. That’s why the bulk of the recipe is made up of:
Rolled oats and oat milk (rich in B vitamins, plus may help boost milk production)
Brown rice protein powder OR Brewer’s yeast (protein plus several vitamins and minerals depending on the brand)
Almond butter (good source of vitamin E, fiber, and protein)
Dried blueberries (great source of vitamin C and antioxidants)
Ingredients notes for making these almond blueberry lactation balls
Rolled oats: Old fashioned or quick oats work well. Use certified gluten-free if needed.
Brown rice protein powder OR Brewer’s yeast: I prefer using brown rice protein powder as I like the taste better and always have it on hand. I recommend Ora So Lean So Clean Vegan Protein Powder. But feel free to use Brewer’s yeast instead, which you can buy online. Note that brewer’s yeast can be a bit bitter, so you may want to use a sweeter almond butter if using it instead of protein powder. You may even need to add extra maple syrup.
Almond butter: I usually use 365 Almond Butter, but any brand will work. Just keep in mind that some have more added sugar than others. You could also use cashew butter. Peanut butter works, but will greatly change the flavor.
Pure maple syrup: Any liquid sweetener is fine, such as honey or agave. Just note that honey makes these vegetarian, not vegan.
Oat milk: Any milk or milk alternative works. Just opt for an unsweetened variety.
Vanilla and almond extract: For flavor, I find the combination of these two is best. You could also try using a lemon extract for a change in flavor.
Dried blueberries:I buy mine in bulk online. I haven’t tried these with fresh or frozen blueberries. You can substitute another type of dried fruit, such as cherries or cranberries.
Salt: Just a pinch!
Is protein powder safe during breastfeeding?
Yes. However, the quality of your protein powder is key.
One of the major downsides of protein powders is that they can be high in heavy metals and other contaminants — a.k.a things you don’t want to put in your own body, let alone have show up in your breast milk.
This is why it is SO important to do your research when buying protein powders. The Clean Label Project and Consumer Labs are both good resources for making sure that your protein powder is safe to use.
Do non-plant-based protein powders work in this recipe?
Another aspect to consider is the source of protein and any potential sensitivities or allergies of your baby. Soy and dairy tend to be the most common allergens for young infants.
This means that if your baby is allergic to dairy, you’ll need to avoid all dairy products — including whey or casein-based protein powders — until you’re no longer breastfeeding.
And as protein powders are not cheap, I generally recommend that lactating women opt for a brown rice-based protein powder instead as rice is one of the least common food allergens.
This way, if your child does end up having an allergy, you don’t have to worry about spending money on yet another protein powder.
Additionally, I’ve only made this recipe with vegan protein powders. While other powders, such as a whey-based one, will work, you will just need to play around with the right amount of milk to add.
Of course, you don’t have to use protein powder at all. Meeting your protein needs through whole food sources is an excellent option!
And if you go this route, then instead of protein powder, you can use brewer’s yeast in these lactation energy bites instead.
What is Brewer’s yeast?
Brewer’s yeast is used to make beer and bread. However, as it’s surprisingly nutritious, it’s also sold as a nutritional supplement.
In particular, brewer’s yeast is rich in B vitamins and several essential minerals like iron, magnesium, chromium, and zinc. It also happens to be a good source of protein as well.
And as mentioned above, it’s commonly used to help support milk production during breastfeeding. However, the research is inconclusive on whether it’s actually effective.
When buying brewer’s yeast, make sure to select a product from a reputable supplier. Some are also flavored. I recommend opting for one that’s unflavored as it’ll be more versatile for cooking and baking.
Note that brewer’s yeast does interact with some medications, including MAOIs, meperidine (a pain narcotic), and several diabetes medications. Before taking brewer’s yeast, be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure that it’s safe for you to take!
How to make no-bake lactation energy bites
These no-bake almond blueberry lactation balls are so easy to make! You’ll need a food processor, mixing bowl, and a baking sheet or pan.
In a food processor, pulse your oats to form a flour-like texture. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add all the remaining ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Roll into tablespoon sized balls and place on a baking sheet or in a baking pan.
Freeze for 20 minutes, or until they’ve hardened a bit.
Store in the fridge or freezer and enjoy!
How to store no-bake energy balls
The great part about these lactation balls is that you can make several batches at a time as they freeze really well!
Simply store your lactation balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
Tips for making this recipe
Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Depending on your protein powder or brewer’s yeast, you may need anywhere from 1 to 4 tablespoons of milk. The key is getting a cookie dough-like consistency that’s sticky but not too wet or dry.
Measure out your oats and then pulse. The recipe is made using 1 3/4 cups of rolled oats, not 1 3/4 cups oat flour. While the measurements are usually similar, I can only guarantee the texture by measuring the whole oats before pulsing into a flour.
Wet hands make it easier to roll the balls. If you notice that the mixture starts sticking more to your hands than to itself when rolling it, stop and wash your hands then start again.
Soak hard dried blueberries in hot water. If your blueberries are older and a bit hard, soak them in hot water for 5-8 minutes then drain before adding them into the batter.
Almond blueberry lactation balls are quick and easy to make. Packed with nutritious ingredients, they’ll help give you the fuel your body needs during breastfeeding.
Keyword: Healthy Lactation Bites, Lactation Balls
1 ¾cups(160 grams) rolled oatscertified gluten-free if needed
⅓cup(about 30 grams) vanilla brown rice protein powderor Brewer’s yeast
½cup(120 grams) natural almond butter
⅓cup(113 grams) pure maple syrup
1-4tablespoonsunsweetened oat milkor milk of choice
⅓cup(53 grams) dried blueberries
In a food processor, add the oats and pulse to form a flour-like consistency. Pour the oat flour into a large mixing bowl.
Add the protein powder or Brewer’s yeast, almond butter, maple syrup, salt, and flavor extracts into the mixing bowl. Stir well with a rubber spatula to combine. Slowly pour in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is sticky but not overly wet. Fold in the dried blueberries.
Scoop and roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet or baking pan. You should get about 24 balls.
Freeze for 20 minutes, or until slightly hardened. Transfer the bites to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 4 months.
Nutrition for 2 bites (1 serving) using Ora Clean and Lean protein powder: 153 calories, 6g fat (0g saturated), 20g carb, 3g fiber, 9g sugar, 6g protein, 3% DV for calcium, 5% DV for ironNutrition for 2 bites (1 serving) using brewer’s yeast: 165 calories, 6g fat (0g saturated), 22g carb, 4g fiber, 9g sugar, 7g protein, 3% DV for calcium, 12% DV for iron
I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!
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