Meal and Snack Ideas for a Twin Pregnancy

If you're pregnant with twins or multiples, your body has extra nutritional needs beyond the already increased needs of pregnancy. That doesn't mean nutrient requirements are doubled or tripled. But, in addition to needing more food overall, you need more of some specific nutrients.

When you're expecting multiples, you need an extra dose of protein to help build cells and support an increased plasma volume. You also need carbohydrates for energy, iron to prevent iron-deficiency anemia, calcium to make sure your growing babies and your own bones have all they need, and folic acid to prevent neural tube defects and anemia due to folate deficiency.

So it's helpful to choose foods rich in these nutrients whenever possible. These foods pack in a lot of nutrients along with appealing flavors and textures. Of course, you should check with your doctor about your personal nutritional needs.

Trail Mix

Pregnant woman making salad

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Protein is an important component in the creation of human cells, so it's a vital part of a healthy pregnancy diet. For people expecting twins or more, it's extra important to boost protein intake.

Trail mix made with a variety of nuts is a fun and delicious snack. In addition to protein, nuts offer additional nutritional value. Almonds deliver vitamin E, and cashews contain selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.

Combine them with other nut selections, such as pistachios, walnuts or peanuts. Customize your snack with the add-ins of your choice: raisins, dried cherries, multigrain cereal, mini pretzels, sunflower seeds, or dark chocolate chips.

Raisin Bran

Most breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid. This B vitamin can drastically reduce the risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy.

You can boost your intake by eating foods with folic acid in addition to taking a prenatal multivitamin that contains folic acid. A high-fiber cereal can also help increase fiber intake and decrease constipation (remember to drink plenty of water). Cereal—especially eaten with a serving of protein-containing milk or yogurt—isn't just for breakfast. It makes a great, balanced snack too!

Because it's so important, most pregnant women will be advised to take folic acid in the form of a supplement or prenatal multivitamin before and during pregnancy.

Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in calcium, necessary for the development of your baby's bones and skeletal structure. It's also a good source of protein. It's available in flavors to satisfy any palate. Plain versions offer a blank canvas to create a snack that satisfies a variety of flavor and texture preferences.

Adding your own toppings or mix-ins to plain yogurt helps boost nutrition while limiting added sugar. Fruit (fresh or frozen), spices, nuts, seeds, nut or seed butters, and even rolled oats can all be nutrient-rich and delicious additions.

Sardines

Sardines are an unsung nutrition hero when it comes to pregnancy. They pack in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium (if you eat them with their bones), and protein. In addition, they're versatile, and canned sardines are super easy to prepare.

Raspberries

Raspberries are packed with fiber. As a twin pregnancy progresses and more pressure is placed on the intestines, digestion may slow down a bit. Ensuring adequate fiber intake every day (along with plenty of water to keep the fiber hydrated as it moves through the body) can help reduce constipation.

Hummus

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a source of non-animal protein and fiber as well as folic acid and manganese. Chickpeas can be turned into a curry, added to a salad, or even roasted for a snack. But when prepared as hummus, they become a creamy dip or spread that can elevate other foods.

Enjoy hummus as a dip with veggies, pita bread or whole-grain crackers; spread it on sandwiches like you would mayonnaise; or use as a salad topping.

Eggs

Another high-protein food, eggs are also the richest source of choline, a nutrient needed in larger amounts during pregnancy for brain function and memory. Look for omega-3 enhanced eggs. They are higher in DHA, which promotes vision and brain development in fetuses.

Plus, eggs are easy to prepare in a variety of ways. They're not just for breakfast either! Hard-cooked eggs are a great snack on their own. Or add chopped eggs to salads or sandwiches.

Chicken Sandwich

Many types of deli meat are associated with a risk of listeriosis, a bacteria particularly harmful to fetuses. If you're bypassing the deli counter, consider chicken as a sandwich alternative.

It's a low-fat source of protein and easily substitutes for turkey in your favorite sandwich. Grill, poach or broil chicken breasts, then slice thinly for sandwiches. Or chop coarsely for chicken salad.

Use whole-grain bread and add a dose of veggies to your sandwiches, such as thinly sliced cucumber, chopped celery, spinach leaves, or dark green lettuce, and you'll get a fiber and veggie boost too.

Spinach

Popeye would be proud! The sailor man who gained great strength by eating spinach would definitely recommend this powerhouse green vegetable for pregnant people.

Spinach and other dark leafy greens are loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K, and iron. It's also rich in vitamin C, fiber, carotenoids, lutein and bioflavonoids.

While Popeye's mode of choice—canned—is probably not the most flavorful preparation, there are numerous ways to consume spinach. Fresh spinach makes a delicious salad. Add the green leaves to your sandwich or sauté it for stir-fries or pasta. Frozen spinach can be baked into casseroles or stirred into soups. Go green for your babies!

Peanut Butter Toast

Peanut butter is a kid's favorite, but it's not bad for parents either. Whole-grain bread smeared with peanut butter is a great snack or breakfast.

Peanut butter offers the nutritional benefits of thiamin, niacin, potassium, and zinc. It's high in the protein that moms of multiples need and also offers some iron. It also provides a source of healthy fat.

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