1. High-fiber cereal
A bowl at breakfast will satisfy hunger and help prevent constipation, a common problem for new moms, since breastfeeding hormones can slow down intestines. Try Kellogg's All-Bran or General Mills Multi-Bran Chex, and top with a dollop of low-fat yogurt. Besides being calcium-rich, the yogurt contains probiotics, "good" bacteria that can aid in digestion.
Eat it: Every day
To help shed baby weight, eat eggs for breakfast. Doing so could help you eat fewer calories the rest of the day, a recent study suggests. One explanation: A single egg has around 5 or 6 grams of filling protein, which means you won't have the munchies an hour later, says Bridget Swinney, RD, author of Eating Expectantly. Eggs are also one of nature's best source of choline, a nutrient crucial for building the memory center of a baby's brain that, like all nutrients, can be passed to your infant through your breast milk.
Eat it: Every day
3. Flank steak
Beef is packed with iron and zinc, two important minerals for regaining your energy and producing breast milk. Flank is one of the least fatty cuts, providing more nutrients for your calorie buck. Try it grilled and sliced over salad greens. More of a poultry person? Give dark meat a chance. Although it's higher in fat and calories than white meat, it packs twice the amount of zinc and more iron, says Colleen Pierre, RD, an adjunct instructor of aging, nutrition, and fitness at Johns Hopkins University.
Eat it: Up to three times a week
4. Wild Alaskan salmon
It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart and can aid in your baby's brain and eyesight development if you're breastfeeding. Choose wild Alaskan varieties, since they're low in cancer-causing PCBs and mercury, says Pierre.
Eat it: Once or twice a week
This most-nutritious leafy green contains two essentials new moms need: Folic acid, which helps produce new blood cells, especially important for women who experienced lots of blood loss during delivery, and manganese, which aids in the development of bone, cartilage, and collagen — key for c-section recovery.
Eat it: As often as you like!
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, August 2007.