I know I’m not alone, but it seemed like every night I was hearing, “I’m hungry” just as I was tucking my kids into bed and I was never quite sure if it was a clever diversion tactic or actual hunger. I usually caved, which meant the kids weren’t getting to bed on time, so I knew I had to do something to change it. Here are a few tips for what I did to curb the bedtime snack addiction including the best snacks for a good night’s sleep.
15 Minute Warning
- Starting with the problem, I initially just said ‘No” to food in bed, so if the kids were asking for a snack when they were being tucked in they had to go into the kitchen to eat it. Of course, that was a huge fail cause the whole point for the kids was to get out of bed. Instead, I had to go cold turkey.
- I decided to give the kids a 15-minute warning for the last opportunity to get a snack. It definitely took them a few days of whining to get used to the routine but they have not asked for a snack from bed since. I think the key here is consistency by giving them the warning and also saying no if they do ask for the snack.
- Sidenote: if you have a really slow eater like Avery, you may want to make it a 30-minute warning.
- Once I addressed the problem I wanted to make sure they weren’t actually hungry at bedtime which meant giving them the right foods at their 15-minute bedtime warning.
- I knew sugar was a no-no but I was surprised to learn with a little bit of research that there were a few others, notably veggies.
- You don’t want to give your kids anything that’s hard to digest, so nothing with too much fiber or too much fat. Instead, you’re looking for something that has a good mix of carbohydrates and protein.
Warm Milk & Molasses
- This one is my favorite because my dad used to give it to me when I was a little girl and had trouble sleeping. My kids also love it because it’s a little bit sweet.
- I like to use blackstrap molasses; it’s a little bit less sweet than other molasses and it’s also super high in magnesium and iron. I also use a low-fat milk so it’s not too hard for the kids to digest at night.
- I love an option that the kids can get themselves. Brooks almost always has a string cheese before bed and they’re super fun to peel.
- Cottage cheese is another great option because the protein is slow-releasing, but I cannot for the life of me get my kids to eat it.
Oatmeal with Milk
- Oatmeal is a complex carb that releases serotonin known for making you happy and when you’re less stressed it’s easier to fall asleep. Oats are also a natural source of melatonin that helps regulate sleep and the addition of milk adds a boost of protein.
- Another great grab-and-go option. Bananas are high in magnesium and also potassium which helps relax muscles before bedtime.
Waffle with Peanut Butter
- This bedtime snack is a great combo of carbohydrates and protein. You don’t want to use too much peanut butter because it does have a ton of protein which can be hard to digest. Peanut butter is a great source of tryptophan which converts to melatonin and serotonin.
Hope this provides some inspiration for some good bedtime habits!