Oh hey there!
So I have a little confession. I’m sure all the moms will agree. Before I became a mom, I thought I’d need a month, maybe 6 weeks, ’till we had some sort of “routine” that involved me cooking and exercising. Well, let me tell you, we’re two months in and still happily chomping through the freezer section of Trader Joe’s and as for exercise I’ve gone for a walk all of three times. And yet, somehow it doesn’t seem to matter right now. We may be a little offtrack, but there’s plenty of time to get back on. Right? (Someone please tell me I’m right.)
Truth be told, there is only one recipe consistently coming out of my kitchen, and that’s my version of “Super Healthy” Lactation Cookies. What’s a lactation cookie, you ask? It’s a sweet snack full of goodies thought to help breastfeeding mamas keep up their milk supply and produce more nutritious milk. Do they really work? I don’t know. I have poor supply and I’ve been eating these from the beginning, so I’m afraid to take them out of my diet. Besides, they taste good. And lactating or not (hello, dads and visiting grandma’s) they are still packed with wholesome nutrition, so certainly worth keeping in the kitchen. But once you try them, you might want to keep them all to yourself. PS – they are a great middle-of-the-night snack for those long nursing-and-putting-back-to-sleep sessions.
There are plenty of recipes for lactation cookies on the internet, and they have a few key ingredients in common (oats, flax and brewers yeast.) But most look like regular ol’ oatmeal cookie recipes with the latter two ingredients tossed in. While it’s important for lactating moms to maintain a higher caloric intake, I still want to snack healthfully – without the extra load of butter and sugar. Besides, there are plenty of gluten-free moms, and those avoiding dairy either for their own reasons or because it’s known to cause extra fussiness in babies. So for my cookies, the gluten and dairy had to go. And the sugar. I don’t need anything else to keep me up at night besides my baby’s cries! This recipe happens to be vegan too, so if you’re in the mood for lactation cookie dough, it will work for that too.
So what’s so special about these ingredients?
Oats are a legendary favorite of breastfeeding moms. They are a good supply of iron and fiber, both of which are important for milk production. And, they are a comfort food – and anything you can do to make your self less stressed and more comfy should help with milk supply.
Flax Seeds are another great source of fiber, and contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial to baby’s brain development. (You can never have too many omega-3’s, which is why I also never go a day without my serving of Mila!)
Brewers Yeast is a healthy source of vegetarian protein, another key nutrient for milk production. Additionally it is high in B vitamins, which are important for women’s health, especially nursing moms.
Coconut Oil is full of lauric acid, a fatty acid known to boost immunity in both mom and baby. It’s important for nusing mom’s to eat a good amount of fat – so why not make it the right kind!
Lactation Cookies (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Yield: 18-20 cookies
Gluten-Free, vegan oatmeal chocolate chips cookies with a boost of supplements to help milk supply for breastfeeding mama's.
1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
4 heaping tablespoons gluten-free Brewer's yeast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips (I prefer Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips)
1/4 cup (2oz) virgin coconut oil, slightly soft at room temperature (not melted)
2/3 cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine 1/2 cup oats, flax, arrowroot, brewers yeast, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for about 2 minutes, until oats are finally ground. Pour into a mixing bowl and add remaining 1 cup oats and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
Add coconut oil and maple syrup to the food processor (no need to wash it from the previous step) and process until creamy and emulsified, about 3-4 minutes, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until fully combine.
Using a medium size scoop to scoop the cookie dough onto the sheets. Moisten hands and slightly flatten the mounds of dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container.
Cara Lyons, adapted from Hallie Klecker's Super Healthy Cookies