“But Moooooommmmm I’m hungry,” wails the familiar echo of your wee one’s voice from the bedroom where you have just finished your bedtime routine.
No one wants a snack more than a young child who has been told it’s time to go to sleep. So you set down your glass of wine with a sigh and start thinking about what your cupboards hold to satisfy this last night snack attack. Nutrition is a big deal any time of the day, but when that time falls before bedtime it’s even more vital that we consider what we’re putting in the tummies of our littlest household members.
Many foods that fill our kiddies up may disrupt their sleep patterns and leave them feeling foggy and groggy the next morning. To help your babe fall asleep, it’s best to avoid sugary and spicy foods, food and drinks that contain caffeine such as soda and chocolate, and even fatty foods such as ice cream and whole milk since they can cause stomach upset and discomfort – who can sleep feeling like that!
How do they sleep best? It’s best that they feel comfortably full and satisfied when slumber time approaches. Eating a light, nutritious snack before bed can help your child top up on vitamins and minerals that may have been missed out on during the day. This is especially true if you have a light or picky eater. But be sure to build night-time snacks into your child’s bedtime routine so the snack is seen as a message to begin calming down and preparing for bed.
Much like for us, preparation is the key to healthy eating for kids. For a quick option, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals, oatmeal or whole-wheat toast. If you have some free time earlier in the day or week (ha ha free time, I know right?) there are many highly nutritious tasty snacks that cleverly disguise themselves as treats for your tots.
Some of our faves include homemade granola bars, oatmeal balls and apple chips. Help your child make healthy choices and get a good night’s sleep by tricking them into thinking they’re picking a treat. Though if you ask me those treats are all pretty delicious!
For more great recipes for the motivated mama, check out Today’s Parents Bedtime Snack Recommendations.