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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

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      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

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        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.

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        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

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          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

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            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,

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              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

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                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

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                  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

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                    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

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                        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.

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                        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

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                            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.

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                                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

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                                Published on May 21, 2021

                                Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

                                Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

                                Bedtimes for kids might be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Parents are tired and ready to relax, while kids of all ages seem to find extra energy and want nothing to do with sleep. One more story, one more trip to the bathroom, and one more question quickly make for a late-night, and no one gets the rest they need.

                                If this happens often, you might start wondering if you and your child are getting the proper amount of sleep and how to make bedtime easier. Why is it so crucial for your child to get enough sleep? What does sleep deprivation look like? How do you improve bedtimes for kids?

                                How Sleep Impacts Your Child’s Health

                                Whether young or old, sleep is a vital part of staying healthy. There are many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep while not getting enough can have negative consequences. How does it impact your child?[1]

                                • Brain Function – Sleep is linked to certain brain functions such as concentration, productivity, and cognition. These all impact a child’s behavior and academic success.
                                • Weight – Sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. A lack of sleep interferes with the ability to regulate food intake, making overeating more likely.
                                • Physical Performance – Sleep impacts a person’s physical abilities. Proper rest means better performance, concentration, energy, mental clarity, and faster speed.
                                • Physical Health – There are many ways sleep promotes health. Sleep heals the body but also helps prevent disease and health issues. Getting proper rest will regulate blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, reduce chances of sleep apnea, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and lower risk of weight gain.
                                • Improve Mental Health – A lack of sleep has a negative impact on mood and social and emotional intelligence. A child not getting proper sleep is more likely to experience depression, lack empathy and be unaware of other people’s emotions and reactions.

                                Sleep, Risky Behavior, and Teens

                                Studies found that teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are sleep-deprived. They’ll have problems regulating their mood, making them more short-tempered, aggressive, and impulsive. Their inability to self-regulate can even look like the symptoms of ADHD.[2]

                                Sleep deprivation becomes hazardous when teens are driving. The impulsiveness and risk-taking, along with exhaustion, put them at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, driving tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.[3]

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                                You can see why sleep is so essential to everyone’s health, but how much is needed? What do pediatricians recommend? Is it the same for all ages?

                                Sleep Recommendations From Pediatricians

                                Sleep requirements vary by age. It won’t be the same for every individual. Some people find that they need more sleep than others.

                                Here is a basic guideline of what pediatricians now recommend:[4]

                                • Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
                                • Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
                                • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
                                • Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
                                • Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

                                Increase the amount of sleep if your child isn’t thriving on the recommended amount.

                                Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

                                There are ways to tell if your child is getting adequate sleep beyond the usual grumpiness. Here are specific things to watch out for:[5]

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                                • Excessive sleepiness during the day
                                • Difficulty waking up on time
                                • Hyperactivity
                                • Depression
                                • Inattention
                                • Mood swings
                                • Aggressive behavior
                                • Irritability
                                • Impatience
                                • Impulse control

                                As you can see, prolonged lack of sleep can cause relational problems and hinder your child’s ability to do well in school. What can you do if you realize your child is not getting enough sleep? How can you improve bedtimes for your kids?

                                How to Set Up a Bedtime Routine

                                Sleep hygiene or a bedtime schedule will help your child fall asleep faster. It will also improve the quality of sleep. You will need to adjust to what works for your family, but the following suggestions can help everyone have a more pleasant bedtime.

                                For Babies

                                Most people think they have to let their baby “cry it out” at bedtime. However, there are ways you can teach a baby to sleep without tears, making the experience more pleasant for everyone. In fact, studies show the faded bedtime method—or gentle sleep training—is just as effective as leaving a baby to cry but without the stress.[6] What is gentle sleep training?

                                Gentle Sleep Training

                                This method eases babies and young children into falling asleep on their own. There are two ways to do this:

                                1. Positive Routines With Faded Bedtime

                                Kids learn to fall asleep easily by using comforting, quiet, and predictable rituals, up to twenty minutes long. The key is to choose a bedtime that’s not too early. A child that isn’t tired will only fight sleep.

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                                Start the process when your baby or child is sleepy, even if it’s later than you’d prefer. You’ll notice a pattern and quickly discover the time they naturally start winding down. Make this their bedtime for now. They will learn to associate sleep with the routine, and you’ll be able to start fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to slowly adjust their schedule.

                                2. Sleep With Parental Presence

                                With this method, you lie down with your baby or child until they fall asleep. Over time, you pay less attention to your child, gradually sitting up, then sitting in a chair. Eventually, your child will be able to sleep without you. A study showed that using this method helped infants sleep longer and wake up less.[7]

                                Both of these ways take time but are effective and less traumatic than leaving an infant or young child to cry.

                                More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

                                You want to build a routine, but how? What are practical things you can do to help your baby get ready for bed?

                                Here are tips for a soothing and calm bedtime:[8]

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                                • Help set their “internal clock” by exposing them to natural daylight, daytime activities, and the calmness of evening.
                                • Block blue light exposure.
                                • Make the hour up to bedtime calm, peaceful, and pleasant.
                                • Learn how to keep stress minimal for you and your baby.
                                • Don’t force sleep. It will increase anxiety and make rest more difficult.
                                • Avoid late afternoon naps
                                • Prolong the time between nap and bedtime.
                                • Feed baby right before bed.
                                • Avoid intervening too soon if the baby starts to wake up. Give your child a chance to fall back asleep without your help.

                                For Elementary-Aged Children

                                It’s easier to follow a routine if you start young, but it’s never too late to begin. The good news is it only takes a few nights to notice an improvement in your child’s sleep.

                                These ideas will help you set up a schedule that will encourage your child to fall asleep easier, faster, and for a more extended period.[9]

                                • Offer them a nutritious snack.
                                • Bathe them.
                                • Brush their teeth and go to the bathroom.
                                • Read them a story.
                                • Sing them a song.
                                • Cuddle or massage them.
                                • Talk about the day.

                                For best results, choose a handful of activities and do them in the same order each night. Dim the lights and keep activity minimal to help everyone slow down.

                                For Teens

                                They might fight the idea of getting more sleep, but teens will benefit from a routine, too. They’re usually capable of overseeing their bedtime, but a little structure and oversight can help them get the sleep they need. By implementing the following tips, your teen can get better rest.[10]

                                • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
                                • Limit screen time.
                                • Avoid late-night binging.
                                • Exercise, ideally sixty minutes a day.
                                • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
                                • Talk through problems.

                                Quality Sleep for a Healthy Life

                                Bedtimes for kids can be an enjoyable part of the day with proper sleep hygiene in place. Not only can it be quality time with your child, but it can also set them on the road to good health and high performance. By implementing these tips, you can ensure proper rest for the whole family and better bedtimes for kids.

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                                Featured photo credit: Igordoon Primus via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Medical News Today: Why Sleep Is Essential For Health
                                [2] Child Mind Institute: Teens And Sleep: The Cost Of Sleep Deprivation
                                [3] Depart of Health: Drowsy Driving Prevention, Teens Ages 16 To 19
                                [4] AAP publications: AAP Endorses New Recommendations On Sleep Times
                                [5] Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Sleep Deprivation In Children A Growing Public Health Concern
                                [6] Parenting Science: Gentle Infant Sleep Training
                                [7] BetterHealth: Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months
                                [8] Parenting Science: 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips
                                [9] Sleep Foundation: Bedtime Routines For Children
                                [10] NHS: Sleep Tips For Teenagers

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