SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH, CHOCOLATE CRAVINGS AND BREASTFEEDING HANGER WITH THIS NUT-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE ENERGY BAR!
Your nutrition needs as a breastfeeding mom are the highest they will ever be in your life – yep, even higher than in pregnancy. Not only are you continuing to sustain the life of your baby and be their source of nutrition, you are also recovering from the demands of pregnancy, labour and childbirth AND transitioning to a completely new normal on minimal sleep. So yeah – you need energy, mama!
It’s hard to prioritize your needs when you’re just trying to figure out how to get your baby to latch. So a pro tip is to have snacks at the ready for you to grab whenever the hunger hits. It helps when these snacks are actually what you want, but also are what you need. These energy bars will do JUST that!
They will give you energy from two main sources: dates and seeds. Both claim to be “lactogenic” foods, meaning they have been traditionally incorporated into breastfeeding mothers’ diets to support milk-making. We aren’t sure if there is an exact mechanism as if they were a “galactogogue”, which is something that increases milk supply, but we do know they’re packed full of nutrients you need to make milk.
There may be more to dates though beyond just being a lactogenic food. Why? Well recent evidence is coming to light that dates can possibly induce labour or make you have a shorter labour. Plus an animal study has shown that prolactin (the milk-making hormone) is higher when eating dates! So maybe they could be doing something hormonal for your milk supply. But there are a few things we do know they are doing for you: giving you a quick source of energy (sugar), helping keep you full (fibre), and helping you meet your increased needs for vitamins and minerals (potassium, iron, vitamin Bs, magnesium, and countless phytonutrients).
If you aren’t a fan of the sweet, caramel-y flavour of medjool dates, deglet dates are a great alternative! Plus, the cocoa in these bars is just enough to turn it from date bar to chocolate bar. YUM. Then combined with all the seeds providing much needed protein, fats, magnesium, iron and so much more, these bars are sure to satisfy and keep you full. Have with a quick piece of fruit or veggie too for a source of vitamin C to help with absorbing all the iron possible! Enjoy!
(this recipe was inspired by this one by green kitchen stories)
Chocolate Date Energy Bars RECIPE
Servings: Makes about 28 bars
Total time: 15 min (+ 1 hour of soaking for dates)
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts (or sesame seeds)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 20 dates, pitted and soaked to soften
- 6 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp oats (large flake or quick)
Add pumpkin seeds, coconut, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds into food processor or blender. Pulse until seeds are just broken. Careful not to over process (it will turn to butter). Place into a bowl and set aside.
- Add dates, coconut oil, cocoa powder and vanilla extract to food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
- Mix date mixture with seeds. Add oats. It will be thick – feel free to use your hands!
- Line a 13×9 pan with wax paper or parchment paper. Place mixture in pan and press into pan.
- Place in freezer for 10-20 minutes. Remove from pan and cut into desired size of bars. Keep frozen or refrigerated for best texture.