Protein Rich Meal Plan for when Pregnant or Breastfeeding Twins and Multiples
How much protein do I need while pregnant and breastfeeding?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board and Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is:
Non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding women over 19 years: 46 grams.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 71 grams.2
But if you’re pregnant with multiples – twins, triplets, or more! – your protein needs are even higher.
While there are no official protein recommendations for a multiples pregnancy, many professionals recommend taking in about 25 grams of protein per baby per day on top of your baseline needs of 46 grams, and even up to 20% of your total calories.6,7
This would put your total protein intake during the second and third trimester closer to 100 grams or more per day.
How to feed twins
What foods are rich in protein?
Many foods are rich in protein, and not just foods from animals. Here’s a helpful guide of protein sources and approximate amounts based on their recommended portion size.3
Note that with your increased protein and calorie needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding, you may benefit from doubling or even tripling the portion size of protein-rich foods to meet your needs.
3oz cooked meat, poultry, and fish: 18 – 26 grams
1 large egg: 6 grams
1 cup milk: 8 grams
1 ounce cheese: 7 grams
1 cup regular yogurt: 9 grams
1 cup Greek yogurt has over 15 grams (with some brands over 20g per serving)
1 cup soymilk: 8 grams
½ cup tofu: 10 grams
¼ cup nuts: 5 grams
½ cup cooked beans and peas: 7 grams
1 cup cooked quinoa: 8 grams
1 cup cooked oatmeal: 5 grams
1 slice 100% whole wheat bread: 4 grams
A minimally processed protein powder supplement (such as collagen, whey protein, or pea protein) may be helpful to meet your needs. Many have 15-25g protein per serving.3
Read more: Milk and Milk Alternatives during Pregnancy
Choose quality protein sources
Not all protein sources are created equal. Paying attention to the types of foods you eat for protein is just as important as the amount of protein you consume.
Focusing on whole-food sources of proteins – such as safe-to-consume seafood like salmon and cod, eggs, poultry, nuts and seeds, beans and peas, and dairy – will serve you well as these choices offer a host of other nutrients in addition to the protein.4,5
Protein Rich Meal Plan for Moms of Multiples
The below meal and snack ideas will help you make quality protein food choices throughout the day (with plenty of vegetarian options if you don’t eat meat!).
Option 1: Eggs scrambled with veggies and topped with shredded cheese and diced avocado, side of whole grain toast
Option 2: Overnight oats or muesli made with low fat Greek yogurt or Kefir, a scoop of nut butter, dried fruit, and a sprinkle of ground flax or chia seeds
Option 3: Smoothie made with peanut butter, banana and/or frozen fruit and low-fat plain Greek yogurt or protein powder
Option 4: Cottage cheese with diced melon; toast with peanut butter and banana slices
Option 5: Two-egg sandwich with cheddar on a whole grain English muffin; side of low-fat plain Greek yogurt with berries
Option 1: Lentil salad mixed with flaked canned salmon and chopped cucumbers; whole grain pita with melted cheese
Option 2: Canned salmon or chicken salad* made with walnuts and grapes on whole grain bread; apple with peanut butter
Option 3: Black bean soup topped with cheddar cheese; side of cottage cheese topped with tomato slices and black pepper
Option 4: Whole grain pasta salad with grilled chicken strips and cherry tomatoes with an olive oil and vinegar dressing; side of cut up veggies and hummus
Option 5: Grilled chicken, avocado and veggie sandwich on whole grain bread, side salad with assorted veggies, chickpeas and your favorite dressing
Option 1: Sautéed seafood** blend in tomato sauce with whole grain linguini; side of oven roasted carrot slices
Option 2: Salmon burgers with avocado slices on a whole grain roll; roasted potato wedges
Option 3: Whole grain bow tie pasta with chicken, red peppers and artichokes; spinach salad with sliced almonds and grated parmesan cheese
Option 4: Tofu teriyaki stir fry with mixed veggies over brown rice or quinoa
Option 5: Vegetable and cheese whole grain lasagna; garden salad topped with lentils and a scoop of hummus
Option 1: Mixed nuts and dried berries
Option 2: Low-fat plain Greek yogurt with fruit and ground flax seeds or chia seeds
Option 3: Cheese and whole grain crackers
Option 4: Smoothie made with fruit (frozen and/or fresh), nut butter, low-fat plain Greek yogurt/whole food protein powder supplement, or silken tofu
Option 5: Veggies with hummus or low-fat plain Greek yogurt dip
*Pregnant women are advised to avoid premade meat or seafood salad9
**Pregnant women are advised to eat between 8 and 12 ounces of lower mercury fish per week.8
We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.
Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday - Friday 8am-6pm (ET). Chat Now!
Read more about the experts that help write our content!
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Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for you. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for you and your child.