If you're pregnant with twins or multiples, your body has extra nutritional needs. That doesn't mean doubling dessert or having seconds at every meal. While you need additional calories, you have to make those calories count by providing the right nutritional values. You need an extra dose of protein to help build cells, carbohydrates for energy, iron to combat anemia, calcium to fortify your babies and bones, and folic acid to defeat birth defects. The following items are ideal for offering nutritional value yet appealing flavor. Of course, you should check with your doctor about your personal nutritional needs.
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Protein is an important component in the creation of human cells, so it's a vital party of a healthy pregnancy diet. For mothers of twins or more, it's extra important to boost their 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 are loaded with Vitamin E; cashews are rich in 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 even some dark chocolate chips.
Raisin BranMost breakfast cereals are fortified with Folic Acid, a B vitamin that can drastically reduce the risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy. 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. You can boost your intake by eating foods with folic acid. In addition, a high-fiber cereal will help keep your digestive system functioning in fine form. Cereal - especially eaten with a serving of milk - isn't just for breakfast. It makes a great snack!
YogurtYogurt 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. Beware of yogurt products that are enhanced with sugar and fat. To get the best nutritional benefits, start with plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt, and flavor it yourself. You can add honey or fruit for sweetness, nuts or granola for crunch, and a sprinkle of Brewer's yeast for added protein.
ShrimpSeafood is delicious and nutritious, but many varieties aren't recommended for pregnant moms due to elevated mercury levels and other chemicals. Shrimp, however, is generally considered safe. Shrimp are an excellent source of low fat protein, selenium and Vitamin D. They're also versatile - easy to prepare and serve in stir-frys, pastas or even on their own with some cocktail sauce. Just don't eat it raw. Save the sushi or ceviche for after the babies are born.
PapayaPapaya is a tasty tropical fruit and a great choice for pregnant moms of multiples who are boosting their protein intake. The papaya is an amazingly rich source of proteolytic enzymes, which help enable the digestion of protein. It's also an excellent source of Vitamin C. It's known for it's digestive benefits, and is also recommended for alleviating morning sickness! Be sure to wash papaya -- and all fruits and vegetables -- thoroughly before preparing and serving to avoid bacterial contamination.
HummusHummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a power-packed source of non-animal protein and fiber. They're also high in folic acid and manganese. On their own, they're not that appetizing, but when prepared as hummus, they're outstanding! Enjoy hummus as a dip with veggies, pita bread or whole grain crackers, spread it on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise or use it as a salad topping.
EggsAnother high protein food, eggs are also the richest source of choline, a nutrient needed in larger amounts during pregnancy for normal brain function and memory. Look for Omega-3 enhanced eggs, 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! Hardboiled eggs are a great snack on their own, or add chopped eggs to salads or sandwiches.
Chicken SandwichMany deli meats 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 sandwich, such as thinly sliced cucumber, chopped celery, spinach leaves, or dark green lettuce.
SpinachPopeye would be proud! The sailor man who gained great strength by eating spinach would definitely recommend this powerhouse green vegetable for pregnant moms. 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 bioflavanoids. While Popeye's mode of choice - canned - is probably not the most flavorful preparation, there are numerous ways to consume it. Fresh spinach makes a delicious salad. Add the green leaves to your sandwich or saute it for stir fries or pastas. Frozen spinach can be baked into casseroles or stirred into soups. Go green for your babies!
Peanut Butter ToastPeanut butter is a kid's favorite, but it's not bad for their moms either. Whole grain bread smeared with peanut butter is a great snack or breakfast treat. 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, a better option than butter or margarine which don't have the nutritional side benefits.
What were your favorite foods during pregnancy with twins or more? Share your thoughts and tips for snacks, meals and craving control.