Children of all ages seem to have a non-stop flow of energy. During the day, they replenish that energy with snacks and meals. A bedtime snack can sometimes get overlooked, but it’s important for a good night’s sleep. Make sure to serve a snack at least 45 minutes before bedtime. This allows the food to settle and also gives the children a chance to brush their teeth before bed.
What Makes a Good Bedtime Snack
Not any type of food choice will do. Snacks full of sugar, chocolate, and lots of fat can actually have the opposite effect. Children will have a harder time falling asleep and will not sleep as deep. Even consuming too many vegetables before bed can interrupt a child’s sleep. According to Tummy Calm, vegetables can be major gas producers, making for a very unpleasant sleep experience. The perfect bedtime snack should be something light. Snacks with a mix of protein and carbohydrates will help children feel full longer.
There are many different snack options for bedtime snacks. Even the pickiest of children should be able to find something on this list that they will enjoy. When preparing a snack, make sure to keep the portions small. Too much food before bed can increase energy levels as the body tries to burn the extra calories. Stay away from foods that contain too much fiber. Consuming fiber in large amounts can cause digestive problems that could keep kids up at night.
One easy bedtime snack is a glass of warm milk. Children under the age of one shouldn’t drink whole milk without first speaking with a doctor. Milk acts as a protein filling children up for the night. The warmth is soothing and helps them calm down before bed. According to Mattress Advisor’s research, 33% of toddlers suffer from bedwetting. If your child is one of them, milk may not be the best option.
Cottage cheese is another great protein option. If your child doesn’t find plain cottage cheese appealing, add some fruit to give it a little sweetness. Peaches, strawberries, pears, and blueberries all make tasty additions to cottage cheese. The average serving of cottage cheese for children is around 1/4 cup.
Athletes consume peanut butter to replenish energy lost during strenuous activity. It has the same effect on children when eaten before bedtime. Spread peanut butter on a piece of toast, a banana, or crackers for the perfect bedtime snack. You can also substitute almond butter or hazelnut spread in the place of peanut butter.
A warm bowl of oatmeal before bed is sure to bring on a good night’s sleep. Adding a scoop of peanut butter, fruit, nuts, or raisins gives this bland food more flavor. A recommended serving size of oatmeal is around ¼ cup.
Spread hummus on pita chips or crackers for a quick and healthy snack. Hummus is a dip made from garbanzo beans and various spices and oils. You can serve hummus with vegetables, but stick to carrots if consuming at bedtime.
Eggs make a perfect protein filled snack option. You can hard-boil eggs and serve them with a small piece of toast. Scramble eggs with cheese and ham for a breakfast-inspired bedtime snack.
When choosing yogurt for a bedtime snack, make sure to pick one with less sugar. Greek yogurt is a great option because it has a thicker consistency. Choosing the plain flavor allows you to adjust the taste to your child. Adding honey, fruit, and a handful of granola makes this a great option for children with a sweet tooth.
The great thing about cheese is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. String cheese, cream cheese, and cheese cubes all make great snack options. You can pair them with crackers, small bagels, or fruit.
Most of these snacks can be made in advance. The last thing most parents want to do is spend an extra 30 minutes in the kitchen preparing food. Another great option is to have your children help prepare the snack. The foods listed above are actually natural sleep aids. The foods contain Tryptophan, which provides a mood boost in the brain. The brain then starts to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid. You may even notice yourself getting sleepy during the day after eating some of these snacks.
Bedtime Routines For A Good Night’s Rest
Bedtime snacks aren’t the only options for helping children sleep more soundly at night. Following a strict bedtime routine can help children fall asleep faster. Choose a bedtime and stick with it each night. According to HealthyChildren.org, children need between 9-12 hours of sleep per night (depending on age). Some may need more than that. When choosing a bedtime, keep in mind what time they need to wake up in the mornings.
Giving children a warm bath each night can also help them fall asleep faster. When running the water, add in a few drops of lavender essential oil or body wash. The lavender and warm water will help calm and soothe children. Reading a story before bed or playing soft music can also help relax children
Children crave consistency. A bedtime schedule helps children prepare themselves for what is to come. They will be more likely to fall asleep and stay asleep if they have a schedule to follow. This routine will also serve as a reminder that bedtime is drawing near. This can decrease the number of nighttime battles you may face during bedtime. Giving your child a snack each night will also cut down on the number of times they wake up screaming “I’m hungry.”