Advertising
Advertising

Delicious And Nutritious Pregnancy Diet Plan

Delicious And Nutritious Pregnancy Diet Plan

Let’s start with what you can’t eat for your pregnancy diet plan. If before you got pregnant you couldn’t eat like a glutton you still can’t. But now the list of things you can’t eat has grown considerably. You can’t eat deli meat or some types of fish (that would contain mercury). Of course at some point, usually in the early stages, you won’t be able to keep any food down. Morning sickness is common for most pregnancies, and will eventually subside.

Iron rich diet

pregnancy diet plan

    Any red meat will work, and you can take prenatal vitamins but the best source of iron is cooked animal flesh. Certain vegetables are good as well and chicken is a great source of iron if you prefer something with less fat. Steak is a perfect carnivorous treat for your growing baby. Make sure to order a side of broccoli because that too is iron rich.

    Crab Salad Sandwhich

    Got crabs? You should get crabs, I’m telling you they are the best. Seafood is full Omega-3 and this recipe for crab sandwiches is the best lunchtime snack for you and your baby. Catfish is not allowed.

    NUTRIENT TOTALS

    Calories: 564.4
    Protein: 33.2 g
    Carbohydrate: 69.6 g
    Dietary Fiber: 11.9 g
    Total Sugars: 9.441 g
    Total Fat: 20.8 g
    Saturated Fat: 2.286 g
    Cholesterol: 110.5 mg
    Total Omega-3 FA: 1.186 g
    Calcium: 183.2 mg
    Iron: 6.462 mg
    Sodium: 1103 mg
    Vitamin D: 0 mcg
    Folate: 87.6 mcg
    Folic Acid: 0 mcg

    Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Marinara dipping Sauce

    550_101525958

      Who says you can’t go out and still eat healthy? These nutrition facts are a great guide for eating right at any restaurant, where you’re sure to find chicken of a similar fashion.

      NUTRIENT TOTALS

      Calories: 649.2
      Protein: 50.9 g
      Carbohydrate: 69.6 g
      Dietary Fiber: 10.7 g
      Total Sugars: 19.7 g
      Total Fat: 22.8 g
      Saturated Fat: 4.002 g
      Cholesterol: 92.5 mg
      Total Omega-3 FA: .222 g
      Calcium: 231.4 mg
      Iron: 3.678 mg
      Sodium: 1171 mg
      Vitamin C: 68.1 mg
      Folate: 86.5 mcg
      Folic Acid: 11.1 mcg
      Food Folate: 75.4 mcg

      Pork and Pineapple Kebabs

      550_101097148

        Dads are sure to love this one, men have always prided themselves as being the steward of the grill, whether it’s steak or these healthy kebobs you can bet your man will grill them to a perfection that will satisfy your pregnancy cravings and then some.

        Advertising

        NUTRIENT TOTALS

        Calories: 640.6
        Protein: 35.6 g
        Carbohydrate: 86.8 g
        Dietary Fiber: 15.2 g
        Total Sugars: 28.6 g
        Total Fat: 19.2 g
        Saturated Fat: 3.429 g
        Cholesterol: 71.4 mg
        Total Omega-3 FA: .187 g
        Calcium: 75.1 mg
        Iron: 4.212 mg
        Sodium: 366.8 mg
        Vitamin C: 103.2 mg
        Folate: 101.5 mcg
        Folic Acid: 0 mcg
        Food Folate: 101.5 mcg

        Nachos

        550_101487921

          Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t have a party! Nachos are the best party treat that you can provide, and if you already have a little one they will love them as well.

          NUTRIENT TOTALS

          Calories: 656.8
          Protein: 36.9 g
          Carbohydrate: 70.4 g
          Dietary Fiber: 11.9 g
          Total Sugars: 9.806 g
          Total Fat: 29 g
          Saturated Fat: 7.082 g
          Cholesterol: 30 mg
          Total Omega-3 FA: .44 g
          Calcium: 712.1 mg
          Iron: 4.461 mg
          Sodium: 1517 mg
          Vitamin C: 9.557 mg
          Folate: 140.6 mcg
          Folic Acid: 0 mcg
          Food Folate: 140.6 mcg

          Soup and Bread

          550_101549133

            The comfort of a warm soup will melt away the stress that carrying a baby will bring. Add some bread and your taste bud and baby will thank you. They might give you a little kick after but don’t worry that just means they like it. This recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods is healthy and delicious.

            NUTRIENT TOTALS

            Calories: 200.7
            Protein: 7.689 g
            Carbohydrate: 33.7 g
            Dietary Fiber: 3.416 g
            Total Sugars: 2.67 g
            Total Fat: 4.44 g
            Saturated Fat: 1.277 g
            Cholesterol: 3.283 mg
            Total Omega-3 FA: .892 g
            Calcium: 126.4 mg
            Iron: 2.498 mg
            Sodium: 625.9 mg
            Vitamin C: .723 mg
            Folate: 76.5 mcg
            Folic Acid: 4.82 mcg
            Food Folate: 71.6 mcg

            Vegetarian alternative

            pregnancy diet plan
              A dish of delicious hummus

              Chickpeas, lentils, and tofu are natural sources of iron that won’t offend your ethics. If you don’t eat meat there are more ways than one to make substitutions for a carnivorous craving of meat. This means that your pregnancy diet plan doesn’t need to include meat, so you can stay healthy if you don’t eat it. The Vegetarian Society recommends vitamin C; a small dose of this will help your body absorb iron better.

              Hummus

              Here’s a great homemade recipe for hummus,

              Advertising

              NUTRIENT TOTALS

              Calories: 210
              Protein: 6 g
              Carbohydrate: 32 g
              Fiber: 3 g
              Fat: 7 g
              Saturated fat: 1 g
              Sugars: 2 g
              Calcium: 24 mg
              Sodium: 597 mg

               Frozen Yogurt Pops

              550_102103625

                Frozen yogurt pops anyone? It’s as easy as buying some yogurt and adding a stick. Just make sure to get a cute tray for your frozen treat and store it in your freezer. Great for any hot summer day, especially if you’re pregnant and wanting to cool off, it’s also full of nutrients, and more so than a flavored ice pop.

                NUTRIENT TOTALS

                Calories: 100
                Protein: 6 g
                Carbohydrate: 18 g
                Fiber: 0 g
                Fat: 0 g
                Saturated fat: 0 g
                Sugars: 16 g
                Sodium: 130 mg

                Creamy Strawberry Mousse

                RU222261

                  This treat needs no introduction, I’m practically salivating myself and don’t have the extra amount of hunger of a pregnant woman. If you’re planning on making this treat it does make enough for two. Sharing is caring they say, who better to share it with than your baby’s father?

                  NUTRIENT TOTALS (with non-fat yogurt)

                  Calories: 132
                  Protein: 8 g
                  Carbohydrate: 25 g
                  Fiber: 2 g
                  Fat: 0 g
                  Saturated fat: 0 g
                  Sugar: 20 g
                  Calcium: 105 mg
                  Sodium: 29 mg

                  Prep: 20 mins
                  Total Time: 30 mins 

                  Fiesta Salad

                  550_101419752

                    Salads are low calorie meals that won’t send your gastrointestinal system into a bind. They also have, with the right ingredients the variety of nutrition that you and your growing baby need.

                    NUTRIENT TOTALS

                    Calories: 542.7
                    Protein: 27.4 g
                    Carbohydrate: 66.9 g
                    Dietary Fiber: 20.7 g
                    Total Sugars: 7.892 g
                    Total Fat: 21.4 g
                    Saturated Fat: 5.26 g
                    Cholesterol: 20 mg
                    Total Omega-3 FA: .401 g
                    Calcium: 360 mg
                    Iron: 5.411 mg
                    Sodium: 394.3 mg
                    Vitamin D: 0 mcg
                    Folate: 415.8 mcg
                    Folic Acid: 0 mcg

                    Loaded Pesto Veggie Burger

                    550_101324650

                      Portabella mushrooms are the steak of vegetarians, and if you’ve never eaten a veggie burger you are missing out on a delicious and rather nutritious meal. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will enjoy this recipe.

                      NUTRIENT TOTALS

                      Calories: 549.1
                      Protein: 33.2 g
                      Carbohydrate: 55.4 g
                      Dietary Fiber: 11.8 g
                      Total Sugars: 13.3 g
                      Total Fat: 22.2 g
                      Saturated Fat: 7.257 g
                      Cholesterol: 30.1 mg
                      Total Omega-3 FA: .356 g
                      Calcium: 413.5 mg
                      Iron: 3.905 mg
                      Sodium: 867.8 mg
                      Vitamin D: .312 mcg
                      Folate: 125.3 mcg
                      Folic Acid: 0 mcg

                      Stuffed Acorn Squash

                      550_101457444 (1)

                        Stuffed acorn squash has tons of nutrients that all pregnant women need. Cut 1 medium acorn squash in half and remove those pesky seeds. Place it on a baking sheet or pan and slide it in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. You can throw whatever you like on it but here’s a great recipe.

                        NUTRIENT TOTALS

                        Calories: 641.7
                        Protein: 23.6 g
                        Carbohydrate: 110.2 g
                        Dietary Fiber: 16.2 g
                        Total Sugars: 6.101 g
                        Total Fat: 16.5 g
                        Saturated Fat: 3.59 g
                        Cholesterol: 6.8 mg
                        Total Omega-3 FA: .438 g
                        Calcium: 362.5 mg
                        Iron: 7.457 mg
                        Sodium: 763.8 mg
                        Vitamin C: 55.4 mg
                        Folate: 198.2 mcg
                        Folic Acid: 0 mcg
                        Food Folate: 198.2 mcg

                        Natural sources of DHA

                        DHA is found in most pregnancy supplemental pills, and can be found naturally in fish. Some fish however, are not okay to eat. Levels of mercury will hurt your baby so any fish that would be exposed to it is not healthy to eat. Your baby shares your blood and mercury never gets filtered out of your blood by any of your organs. It stays there, and adding any additional mercury to your blood is unwise during your pregnancy. With that said, DHA is great for your diet and halibut or mackerel is safe for you to eat.

                        Energy drinks

                        Careful — not too much! One of them would be okay, and many have things like niacin and B12 in them. You’re safe to have caffeine in small amounts, but some energy drinks would exceed the recommended amount for a pregnant woman. You can find natural sources for any of the supplements found in prenatal multi-vitamins.

                        Advertising

                        pregnancy diet plan

                          Folic acid

                          Any of the vegetarian examples I gave for sources of iron can also be great sources for folic acid. Other natural sources include beets, and the before mentioned broccoli. One cup of beets is about 35% of your recommended daily intake of folic acid. They also happen to be a good source of antioxidants. Your pregnancy diet plan is not complete without a varied diet of vegetables.

                          Egg Wrap: Full of Folates

                          550_101260296

                            Wraps are quick and simple to make. Just scramble some eggs and throw in some vegetables and seasoning, and wrap it up!

                            NUTRIENT TOTALS

                            Calories: 453.4
                            Protein: 26.2 g
                            Carbohydrate: 44 g
                            Dietary Fiber: 6.86 g
                            Total Sugars: .941 g
                            Total Fat: 21.2 g
                            Saturated Fat: 5.989 g
                            Cholesterol: 231.5 mg
                            Total Omega-3 FA: .164 g
                            Calcium: 353.8 mg
                            Iron: 4.448 mg
                            Sodium: 856.6 mg
                            Vitamin D: .438 mcg
                            Folate: 123.6 mcg
                            Folic Acid: 16.8 mcg

                            You’re hungry right?

                            Things that are high in fat might be the perfect junk food, or a nice way to ease your anxiety, but too much of things like lipids and glucose will harm your baby. It’s, obviously, not as bad as doing drugs, but your diet is important for your baby’s development in the womb. I really don’t think I should have to say that your diet should not include alcohol.

                            You will need to eat more than you have been eating, but not too much. Most people don’t eat the right things; many of us eat at fast food restaurants or other places that serve food that isn’t healthy. The recipes here will help you fulfill the specific diet needs that your baby will require. All that is missing is someone to come to your house and cook it for you.

                            The Pregnancy Diet Plan Regimen

                            You may have a busy schedule, and need a tightly regimented pregnancy diet plan that’s convenient for you. Here are some easy meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack:

                            Breakfast

                            Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or if you just enjoy the taste of the sort of meals people usually eat at breakfast have them at midnight.

                            1. Spinach Smoothie – Mix 1/2 cup of plain, non-fat greek yogurt, a handful of spinach, 1 cup of frozen fruit (the fruit covers the flavor of the spinach), 2 tablespoons of chia seed, and a little water in a blender. This one is fast and easy, covers every essential nutrient, and is ideal for mamas with morning sickness because it’s easy on the tummy.
                            2. PB&J Oatmeal – Make 1/2 cup of organic old fashioned rolled oats as directed with 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (peanuts only, no sugar, salt, or oils added) and mix.
                            3. Egg Muffins – Add chopped veggies and lean meat of your choice to a non-stick muffin pan, pour whisked egg over the top, bake at 350 until browned, about 20 minutes. You can prepare a large batch of these and refrigerate, then reheat and eat each morning.
                            4. Sweet Potato Hash – cook scrambled eggs, turkey sausage or leftover lean meat, chopped veggies of your choice (I like spinach and onion), and diced sweet potato together in a skillet.
                            5. Breakfast Tacos – scramble eggs, add lean meat like turkey sausage, sprinkle a little organic shredded cheese on top and serve in a warm corn tortilla (make sure the only ingredient in your tortilla is corn, available at Whole Foods). I eat this with a side of sliced bell peppers. Make a big batch of these, freeze and reheat.
                            6. Cookie Dough Cereal – 1/2 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats, 2T nut butter, 1t organic raw honey, and a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed together until crumbly. Add 1/2 cup milk and enjoy.
                            7. Blueberry Waffles or Pancakesrecipe here
                            8. Veggie Omelet – make an omelet with any chopped veggies you like, I prefer spinach, tomatoes, onion, with a sprinkle of pasteurized goat cheese, or go with broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, bell peppers, kale, asparagus – the possibilities are endless. Add fresh herbs like basil, oregano and chives for more flavor.
                            9. Southwestern Scramble – 2 eggs, hatch chiles, onion, shredded chicken, and avocado scrambled together
                            10. Greek Yogurt and Berries – use organic, plain greek yogurt, mix in fresh berries, cinnamon, and vanilla. For some crunch add sliced almonds. Quick and easy.

                            Lunch

                            silasfount568

                              Lunch is one my favorite meals, in fact instead of the “second breakfast” that hobbits tend to enjoy, I prefer second lunch.

                              1. Whole Wheat Pita Sandwich – stuff it with greens like baby spinach, chopped veggies, and lean meat. Add a little pasteurized goat cheese or spicy mustard.
                              2. Super Food Salad – start with a leafy green like spinach or kale, add a chopped veggie of every color (red/yellow/orange bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, celery, carrots, etc.), add high omega-3 nuts or seeds for crunch (walnuts, pumpkin seeds) and a super fruit like pomegranate seeds or berries. Dress with a little extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, like balsamic or apple cider. Top with grilled chicken, hardboiled eggs, smoked turkey breast, or another lean meat. Prep all your veggies and meat on the day you buy them, so all you have to do is assemble the salad at mealtime.
                              3. Healthy Chicken Salad – instead of mayo, use a combination of avocado and plain, non-fat organic greek yogurt to make a chicken salad (I like to add celery, green and red onions, cilantro, lime juice). Serve on a bed of leafy greens, lettuce cups, or use a collard green leaf as a wrap.
                              4. Quinoa Salad – Prepare quinoa (you can do this ahead of time and store in the fridge), season with your favorite spices and fresh herbs, add chopped veggies (asparagus, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or artichokes for example), lean meat, and avocado for a healthy fat, mix together. You could also add garbanzo beans for extra protein and fiber, or sub for the lean meat. Here’s a recipe.
                              5. Chili or Soup – Make a large batch of turkey chili or vegetable soup, store in the fridge to reheat and eat. Here’s my favorite Turkey Chili recipe and my favorite stew recipe.
                              6. Burrito Bowl – Heat up cooked brown rice (or you can make a batch of cauliflower riceto to get in an extra veggie), add roasted red peppers, black beans, lean meat (I like shrimp), and mix with a little salsa or fire roasted tomatoes. Top with avocado and a splash of lime juice.
                              7. Turkey Burger – mix together ground turkey breast with hatch chiles and seasoning, form into a patty and grill. Serve in a collard green wrap or on a bed of spinach. Top with tomato, onion, and sliced avocado. If you’re craving fries with your burger, cut up a sweet potato into fries, coat with a teaspoon of grapeseed oil, season and bake until crispy. You can also make these ahead of time, freeze and reheat.
                              8. Veggie Pizza – Layer wilted spinach, fresh basil, minced garlic, carmelized onions, thin-sliced roma tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers, and cubed chicken on a piece of whole wheat naan. Optional – sprinkle with skim mozzarella or parmesan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
                              9. Beef and Broccoli – Take leftover or prepared beef (I like flank steak, grass-fed if you can find it), toss with baked spaghetti squash (or wilted bean sprouts), steamed broccoli, sesame seeds, sesame oil, white wine vinegar, fish sauce, chopped green onion and chopped peanuts. You could also add shredded carrots.
                              10. Taco Salad – make your own taco shells by rubbing whole wheat tortillas with a little olive oil and sea salt, press into an oven safe bowl, and bake at 400 degrees (tortilla side up) for 10 minutes or until crispy. Add shredded greens like romaine, chopped veggies of your choice and/or pico de gallo, sliced avocado, mexican-seasoned cooked ground beef (grass-fed and lean), and a sprinkle of colby-jack cheese if desired. Top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt mixed with fresh salsa.

                              Dinner

                              1. Baked Salmon and Veggies – an easy meal, place a wild-caught salmon filet in a foil packet, top with sliced tomatoes and onions, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven or grill until fish is tender and flaky, and serve with a side of roasted broccoli and garlic
                              2. Grilled Chicken Tenders – marinate chicken tenderloin all day in the fridge with Worcestershire, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt/pepper and minced garlic. Grill and serve with a side of baked sweet potato fries (see above) and cucumber salad (sliced cucumber, diced red onion, apple cider vinegar, plain greek yogurt)
                              3. Spinach, Strawberry, and Chicken Salad – Baby spinach, sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, diced cucumber, grilled chicken tossed with homemade vinaigrette dressing (olive oil, touch of raw organic honey, lemon juice, white wine vinegar whisked together)
                              4. Spaghetti and Spinach Meatballs – prepare whole wheat spaghetti or spaghetti squash, toss with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, pepper flakes, basil, and a pinch of salt. Make meatballs with ground turkey breast or grass-fed lean ground beef by mixing with chopped spinach, kale, or broccoli, minced garlic, onion, and egg, and baking in the oven. Serve with a small side salad.
                              5. Stuffed Butternut or Acorn Squash – Stuff a roasted squash with cooked lean meat of your choice (seasoned lean grass-fed beef or ground turkey is my fave), black beans, chopped veggies, spinach. Bake in the oven until hot, sprinkle with cheese.
                              6. Zucchini Boats – We love this recipe
                              7. Salmon and Veggie Kabobs – Marinate Salmon, zucchini and/or summer squash, onion and bell peppers in the fridge (I use a marinade of hummus mixed with olive oil) for a few hours. Layer fish and veggies on skewer and grill until salmon is firm but flaky. Great with a giant slice of watermelon in the summertime!
                              8. Greek Chicken Salad – chopped romaine, grilled chicken (marinated in lemon juice and olive oil), grape tomatoes, chopped cucumber, a sprinkle of crumbled (pasteurized) feta, olives, red onion, and homemade dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic.
                              9. Thai Meatballs, Broccoli and Noodles – Make a peanut thai sauce by whisking coconut milk (canned), peanut butter, curry paste, a touch of honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Make meatballs by combining lean grass-fed beef with soy sauce, egg, chopped spinach, and chopped green onion, bake or brown in skillet. Add broccoli and serve over baked spaghetti squash or wilted bean sprouts, add sauce and toss. Garnish with chopped peanuts and green onion.
                              10. Roasted Shrimp and Veggies – Toss peeled and de-veined shrimp with cauliflower, broccoli, onion, minced garlic, chopped tomatoes and a little olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Roast until shrimp is pink and veggies are tender.

                              Advertising

                              img_0065

                                Snacks

                                Snacks are going to be a big part of your pregnancy. No one has the time or energy to cook full meals constantly. So be prepared to snack often and not regret one bit of it.

                                1. Apple slices and almond butter
                                2. Steamed edamame (make sure any soy product you buy is organic, non-GMO)
                                3. Baked Sweet Potato with cinnamon
                                4. Toasted pumpkin seeds and sea salt
                                5. Raw veggies (bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber) dipped in hummus or greek yogurt
                                6. Baked Kale “chips” – toss kale leaves with a touch of olive oil and sea salt, bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until crispy
                                7. Texas Caviar – pinto beans, lime juice, cilantro, and pico de gallo
                                8. Frozen Blueberries or Grapes
                                9. Celery Sticks and Almond Butter
                                10. Endive Spears stuffed with chopped pear, (pasteurized) goat cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
                                11. Greek yogurt with Strawberry slices, vanilla and cinnamon
                                12. Watermelon Popsicle – puree watermelon, greek yogurt or coconut milk, raw organic honey, pour into popsicle molds and freeze
                                13. Sugar Snap Peas dipped in warm goat cheese
                                14. Crab Stuffed Avocado – slice an avocado in half and stuff with a mixture of seasoned wild-caught crab meat, cucumber, carrot, and a little plain greek yogurt. Tastes like a california roll
                                15. Banana “Ice Cream” – Puree Bananas and walnuts with a splash of coconut milk (or your choice of milk) in a food processor. Put in freezer until it has consistency of ice cream.
                                16. Cherry Tomatoes (sliced) topped with pasteurized goat cheese
                                17. A handful of roasted almonds sprinkled with sea salt with 2 squares of dark chocolate
                                18. Whole wheat bagel, scooped out, with ricotta cheese and berries
                                19. Clementine sprinkled with cinnamon
                                20. Cucumber Salad – mix cucumber slices, greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, chopped red onion, dill, and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar

                                Featured photo credit: Photo credit: JefferyW Title: Rib eye steak and fries via flickr.com

                                More by this author

                                The Nasty Effects Of Radiation How To Get Started With Developing An App baby blogs Why Can Blogs Be Helpful? Which Beard Style Is Right for You? books What you should know about publishing a Book.

                                Trending in Parenting

                                1 The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids 2 How to Be a Better Parent: 11 Things to Remember 3 How to Manage Single Parenting Positively 4 What Is Attachment Parenting and Does It Work? 5 The Effects of Divorce on Children No Parents Should Ignore

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Published on September 21, 2020

                                The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

                                The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

                                I am a parent of three children aged 8, 6, and 6. Like many parents, I struggle with knowing the right balance of activities for them. I don’t want my kids to miss out on opportunities to play sports and participate in activities that will enhance their lives and help them grow as individuals. However, I also don’t want them to become overscheduled kids, to the extent that they get worn out and stressed out.

                                There is a balance in providing activities for our children and overscheduling them. The tendency for the latter is prevalent these days. Our lives — and the lives of our kids — are increasingly overscheduled and overworked. Thus, we need to understand the dangers of having overscheduled kids and how to prevent this from happening in our own families.

                                What’s Wrong with Overscheduling Your Kids?

                                1. Overscheduling Can Burn Out Our Kids

                                When our kids are on the go and scheduled to the max from a young age, their potential to get burned out before reaching high school is quite high. The New York Times reported some research on burnout and found that burnout with kids relates to their workload, along with their parents’ propensity to experience it.[1] This means that overworked children are more likely to get burned out than others. Similarly, overscheduled parents tend to have overscheduled kids more often than not.

                                Burnout

                                When a person is burned out, they feel overwhelmed and exhausted by what others expect them to get done daily. Children who are involved in too many activities with little to no downtime have a high chance of experiencing burnout. When parents place too many expectations on their kids, they also have an increased potential to burn out.

                                If you get the sense that your child is feeling overworked or overwhelmed by their daily activities, you need to know which ones can be cut back. If they have too many activities outside of school work, for instance, then that is one area that likely needs to be downsized.

                                An overworked child will present various symptoms like moodiness, irritability, crankiness, despondency, anger, stomach aches, headaches, rebellion, etc. Cutting back their activities will help to relieve their stress and reduce the said burnout signs. If your kid has severe burnout symptoms, though, then professional help from a pediatrician or therapist for children should be sought.

                                Downtime

                                Downtime is key to helping relieve burnout. If children don’t have free time during the day to have any rest, they are more likely to become burned out than others. Downtime means unorganized free time to do what they enjoy or relax. Cut back your kids’ extra-curricular activities if they don’t have downtime in their schedule.

                                Here are more tips on creating downtime for the children: How to Create Downtime for Kids.

                                2. Overscheduling Kills Playtime and Creativity

                                Kids need time to be kids. When their schedules are filled every day with activities like organized ballet, soccer, and music lessons, and they only take a break for dinner and bedtime, then they are overscheduled. They need to have free time after school to relax and play. When they don’t have that and proceed from one scheduled activity to the next, they are missing out on playtime.

                                Advertising

                                Playtime is crucial to child development. If they cannot get enough time to play, then their ability to develop their creativity decreases. The Genius of Play explains that there are six major developmental benefits that children get from playtime:[2]

                                • Creativity
                                • Social skill development
                                • Cognitive development
                                • Physical development (i.e., balance, coordination)
                                • Communication skills
                                • Emotional development

                                If children don’t have time to play because they are always on-the-go, then they are missing out on the developmental benefits of play.

                                Children need downtime after school so that they can unwind, play, and decompress. Research from the Journal of Early Childhood Development and Care showed that kids need to play to deal with anxiety, stress, and worry.[3] Playtime provides an outlet for them to manage these emotions in a healthy manner and helps with the development of their creativity.

                                Children need free time to play every day. Fifteen minutes at recess is not enough. They need time for it after school, at home, outside of the constraints of scheduled activities.

                                Solution

                                Ensure that your child has time to play after school. This is especially important for young children who greatly benefit from playing. Limit organized activities so that your child is not scheduled every day and can play after school. If they have an activity every hour, then it doesn’t allow for playtime.

                                3. Overscheduling Causes Stress and Pressure

                                When kids are overscheduled because their parents are so intent on having high-performing children, then they will feel stressed. Parental pressure upon a child to do well in academics, music, multiple sports, and religious studies is a reality for many kids. The children scheduled in all of these activities can often feel stress and pressure, especially when they are expected to succeed in all of them.

                                It is hard enough for kids to be good or succeed at a single activity. For a parent to overschedule their child and expect superior performance in various activities, that is a recipe for a stressed-out child.

                                Solution

                                Parents should not schedule kids in multiple activities with the expectation of superior performance in all. They should also consider the child’s interests. If the child is not interested in one activity, then they are likely to feel stressed and pressured to do it.

                                For example, if Suzy has been taking piano lessons for four years, and she no longer enjoys learning the instrument, then perhaps it is time to take a break. If Suzy is forced to continue with the lessons and daily practices, then she may feel pressured to continue performing simply because her mom wants her to do so. This can lead Suzy to resent her mother for forcing her to keep on doing something that she doesn’t like anymore.

                                Advertising

                                Let your child help in selecting the activities that they get involved in. Also, put a cap on the number of activities they are doing. If they have a different activity every weekday, then they are likely overscheduled.

                                Kids need downtime and time to play, too. If they need to do a new activity every day, that downtime is diminished, considering the time at home or outside of the scheduled activities is limited. This limited time is then filled with homework, mealtime, and bedtime prep. Eliminating activities several days a week will allow the child to have some time to play freely. The younger the kid is, the more time they need playtime. As they get older, they can take on more activities; however, under the age of 13, playing daily is a must for children.

                                4. Healthy Eating Falls by the Wayside

                                Any parent who’s busy chauffeuring multiple kids to different activities after school knows how tempting fast food can become. Fast food, however, leads to less healthy food choices. French fries and hamburgers — the staple combo in most fast-food joints — cannot help your child thrive nutritionally.

                                When families are overscheduled, they tend to go for easy and quick meals. When rushed, many of us make poor food choices because we aren’t taking the time to think about a meal’s nutritional value and a balanced diet for our children.

                                5. Family Mealtimes Become a Thing of the Past

                                When we are taking our kids to sports and other extra-curricular activities that fall during dinnertime, the family often misses out on sharing a meal at home.

                                This is true in our own home. There are certain nights of the week that we have practices, and so we either eat together early (if possible) or eat separately, depending on what our schedules allow.

                                There is so much value in having family dinners. It provides an opportunity for family members to discuss their day, including their work and school activities. It is a time when technology is set aside so that everyone can truly focus on communicating with one another and catching up on what is happening in each other’s lives. When a kid’s activities are scheduled every evening, then that family time at the dining table gets lost. Dinnertime becomes a thing of the past as we overschedule kids and ourselves.

                                Try learning more about family time here: How to Maximize Family Time? 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Immediately.

                                Solution

                                Assess our schedule during the week to ensure that there’s always time for dinner with the family. Make it a point to establish a dinnertime schedule for the evenings that you do not have prior engagements scheduled. Remember: the time that you have with your kids under your roof is fleeting. Before long, they will be grownups and start living on their own. You need not dismiss or minimize the opportunity to bond with your children over meals.

                                Advertising

                                Having family mealtimes also allows you to make excellent food choices. This way, parents can create balanced and healthy meals and teach their children about the importance of eating good food for their bodies.

                                How to Turn Things Around?

                                1. Fix the Displaced Ambitions

                                Parents with overscheduled kids often mean well. They want their children to succeed, so they give them every chance to make it happen. They sign them up for various lessons, sports, and activities that may help the kids find success in life.

                                In other cases, the parent probably didn’t get such opportunities when they were young and felt that they missed out on many things. Hence, they provide those missed opportunities to their kids during their own childhood.

                                Carla is an example of such a parent. Carla always wanted to take dance and ballet classes as a child. She heard her friends talk about dance classes and performances, and they would even bring recital photos to school, showing their beautiful, detailed costumes. Carla wanted to be in those dance classes and learn ballet and have the opportunity to perform in a beautiful costume in front of an audience. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to give her that opportunity.

                                When Carla gave birth to a baby girl, she had visions of her little one growing big enough to take dance, ballet, and even tap classes someday. She was looking forward to dressing her daughter in dance costumes and watching her take lessons and eventually performing in recitals. When Carla’s daughter Anna was old enough to enroll at a dance class at four years old, she was thrilled. However, after a few months, it became clear that Anna was not enjoying these classes. She would cry before every lesson, begging Carla to let her stay home and not go to class. Her daughter had no interest in learning to dance.

                                In truth, it happens to many parents. They would enroll their kid in an activity that they wanted to do as a child but never got to try. Unfortunately, a parent’s interest is not always the same as that of their kids’. The child may humor mom or dad for some time and do the activity out of compliance. But if the child does not enjoy it anymore, they will eventually make things clear to their parents.

                                Parents should listen to their children. If the activity is something that they do not enjoy doing, ask the children what they think they would like to do, and then eliminate activities that they are not into. Similarly, teach them commitment by finishing a program, but don’t enroll them again in the same class if they absolutely do not want to do it.

                                Let the kids try different activities at a young age. Sometimes they don’t know if they like something until they try it out.

                                2. Try Clinics of Camps Before Committing

                                Don’t enroll your child in three sports at the same time to see which one they like or excel at. Doing so will make your kid overscheduled. Instead, you can use the summer break or preseason camps or clinics to try a variety of activities they are interested in.

                                Advertising

                                As an example, all three of my children said that they wanted to do lacrosse. We had already tried soccer, and it was not successful for two out of three of them. They would rather chase butterflies down the field or play tag than actually participate in their games. Therefore, before committing to lacrosse and spending a great deal of money on their gear, I signed them up for a sample clinic. It was a one-day program that intended to expose children to the sport and see if they would perhaps enjoy playing it. I was surprised to find that the three kids enjoyed lacrosse, so we signed up for the season. It was nice to be able to see them try out the sport in a clinic before committing to an entire season.

                                Most towns and cities have parks and recreation department. This is often a good place to check for clinics and camps for various activities. Our local department even offers art and dance classes. Most of them meet between two and four times total, so the children can get some exposure to the activity before signing them up at a private facility for a more long-term commitment.

                                3. Take an Inventory of Your Weekly Activities

                                Often, we do an activity without reflecting on how much we are already committed to doing each week. Before we commit to any more activities, we must be willing to look at everything that each family member does. Every child’s commitment is another responsibility for the parent as well. Parents must take children to and from each practice, so you need to consider the drive time for any activity.

                                For instance, if each of my three kids signed up for three different activities each week, I would be running myself ragged. Three activities for three kids means taking them to nine activities during the week. That doesn’t include the games that will likely be scheduled on the weekends. Three activities for every child, therefore, is too much for our family.

                                If some practices overlap on the schedule, then you need two parents or responsible adults to transport the children to different locations. Before you sign them up for multiple activities, you need to factor downtime, stress levels, and your ability to take them to each activity in the equation.

                                Consider the following before your kids can commit to various activities:

                                • What is the time commitment for the child each week? Do they have enough energy and stamina for the activities? Do they get enough downtime daily to prevent burnout?
                                • Is practice time required outside of their scheduled team practices and games?
                                • How long is the travel time for you as a parent, along with wait time during practices? Do you have time allowances for these activities in your own schedule?
                                • Does the activity time conflict with other activities on the schedule? Will it eliminate family dinners on a regular basis?
                                • Does the child really want to do the activity?
                                • What is the motivation for signing up for the activity?
                                • Is this activity or commitment going to cause a great deal of stress on the child or other family members?

                                Check out these time-management tips for parents: 10 Time Management Tips Every Busy Parent Needs to Know.

                                Get The Kids Active and Involved!

                                Despite everything, it does not mean that you shouldn’t sign your child up for different activities like sports, music, dance, karate, etc. They are all great activities that can help children develop a variety of valuable life skills. The goal is to enroll them in things that they genuinely enjoy and avoid overscheduling kids by not letting them sign up for too many activities at a time.

                                More Tips for Scheduling Kids’ Activities

                                Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                Read Next