21DSD Recipe: Sugar and Sweetener-Free Lactation Cookies


Hey Folks! We're excited to welcome back Certified 21DSD Coach Rebekah Reddy. Rebekah's article is part of a series contributed by our Certified 21DSD Coaches. Enjoy! – Diane and Team

It seems like forever ago that I was pregnant and then breastfeeding my three little ones, but my youngest is only two and I nursed him until just before his second birthday. My real food journey has evolved over time, and it was with my third child that I really searched for nutrient-dense foods that would help my body grow this tiny baby and help me recover from the hard work of birthing him.

The thing is, I was tired, depleted, and very, very hungry…all the time! I needed snacks, and though I didn't want to rely on sugary treats all the time, they gave me the quick burst of energy that I craved.

The Paleo Parents' lactation cookie saved me on multiple occasions by providing a real food alternative to grain-based, sugary cookies that might boost milk production, but would also leave me feeling run down and even more depleted. And they tasted amazing (and served as the inspiration for this recipe)! But while they were a great alternative to more conventional cookies and foods marketed to pregnant and breastfeeding women, they still had sugar and were therefore out for anyone wanting to cut all sugars and sweeteners out of their daily eating habits.

As a 21DSD coach, I knew that there were likely women out there who wanted to do a 21DSD while pregnant or breastfeeding, but didn't have a lot of quick and easy cookie-like options for those moments when they were super hungry and trying to rock, console, feed, bathe, or play with one or more children. So I developed this recipe to meet that need!

What makes these lactation cookies?

21DSD-Coach-Guest-Post-Square-Reddy-LactationCookiesThey are a combination of accessible, nutrient-dense calories (which breastfeeding women need) and galactagogues (foods that promote or increase milk flow). The coconut, nuts/nut flour, and eggs add healthy fats and protein; the green-tipped bananas, vanilla, and anise provide a touch of sweetness; and the raw cacao nibs offer some crunch plus a shot of magnesium, iron, and anti-oxidants. The anise (not to be confused with star anise) promotes milk production, and has a lovely licorice flavor similar to fennel. Plus these cookies are packed with fiber! All this adds up to a recipe for a healthy snack that will  support and nourish a new mom.

Want to know the best part?

These tasty cookies don't just help support lactation; they are sugar-free treats that anyone can enjoy! Yes, they were created to help boost milk production in breastfeeding women, but they won't have that effect just by eating them…I promise! My kids love them, and I've given them to other adults without mentioning that they are intended to be lactation cookies (sorry, Dad). The flavors are amazing, and they taste even better after being frozen and then slightly thawed, which is just another bonus for all the busy moms who would like to pull out a few cookies for an afternoon snack (or breakfast). If you're pregnant, you can make these ahead of time and freeze them so they are ready to eat when your days are busy caring for baby.

I hope you enjoy these 21DSD cookies and share the recipe with all the new moms in your life! Better yet, make a batch for a new mom and give her some nourishing treats.

21DSD Lactation Cookies

Yield: about 40 bite-size cookies


  • 1 cup green-tipped bananas, mashed (about 2 large, but measure)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. ground anise seed; can substitute ground fennel seed (measure after grinding)
  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds/flax meal
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts or seeds (macadamia nuts and walnuts are my faves)
  • ¼ cup raw cacao nibs

To Make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Whisk in the melted coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the anise, almond flour, flax meal, sea salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add the chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and cacao nibs. Mix well (it will be thick).
  6. Using a small cookie scoop or a rounded tablespoon, scoop out the batter onto Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets. I leave mine rounded (more of a macaroon shape), but you can also flatten them slightly. They do not spread while cooking.
  7. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a light golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerate or freeze to extend shelf life. Note: they will soften over time, but will still taste delicious. They also taste great frozen and slightly thawed!


Rebekah cooking - Version 5

Rebekah Reddy has been a stay-at-home mom to her three children (two girls, one boy) since 2006, but in her former life she was a high school English/ESL teacher. She holds a BA in English with a minor in Spanish, an MA in English with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and a California teaching credential. She is also a certified Nutrition Educator, 21DSD Certified Coach, and the author of the blog Half Indian Cook through which she shares recipes and writes about food and culture in her mixed-ethnicity family.

Rebekah specializes in adapting Indian and other ethnic cuisines to be Paleo or 21DSD-friendly as well as working with pregnant or breastfeeding women, busy families, and children. Rebekah’s passion for delicious, nutritious food has led her entire family to improved health and she hopes to support you in whatever health-related changes you wish to make.


You can leave a response

This post currently has 7 comments.

  1. Bonnie

    Great recipe can’t wait to try it; just need bananas – Namaste Rebekah

  2. Amy

    any suggestions for a replacement for the shredded coconut? I just don’t like shredded coconut :-/ But I have been looking for a good lactation cookie!

    • Rebekah Reddy

      I would probably just add more chopped nuts–some slivered almonds or something like that to give added texture. Let me know what you try and how it works out!

  3. Nicole

    Disclaimer: I’m not on the 21dsd so I made these using fennel & subbed 1/2cup applesauce for the egg. I also skipped chopped nuts but added raisins. Yummy!!!

    • Rebekah Reddy

      Glad you liked them!

  4. Nikki

    Would these still be helpful as lactation cookies if I left out the fennel/anise? I can’t stand the taste, or maybe it’s not very noticeable in these cookies, I hope?

    • Rebekah Reddy

      Yes, they would still be helpful! The anise is a strong flavor, so if you really dislike it, make the recipe without it.


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The 21-Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo

The 21-Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo