I’ve finally gotten back to the gym after having a baby, but I’m still breast-feeding. Do I have to change how much protein I’m consuming?

Calculating how much protein you need while nursing can be tricky. Lactation expends energy just like exercise does. “A nursing mother needs to have adequate calories to support lactation. Extra protein helps prevent the body from using protein stores to meet energy needs,” says Leslie Bonci, R.D., a sports nutritionist and owner of Active Eating Advice in Pittsburgh. Protein isolate powders can be a great tool for nursing moms, adds Bonci, because they can be easily added to a variety of foods, from smoothies to oatmeal to muffins. “Choose a whey protein isolate because it’s highest in leucine, which is best for muscle protein synthesis. If you have a dairy allergy, go with either a soy protein isolate or a veggie-based protein such as pea or rice powder.” Her favorite brands: Twinlab Clean Series (whey, soy, and veggie protein isolates); Bipro USA (whey protein isolate); and Klean Athlete (whey protein isolate).

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