Best Bedtime Snacks

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.

Bedtime Basics

  • 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.

String Cheese

  • 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!  

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Meg is a Co-Founder of What's Up Moms and the mom to three kids (12, 10 and 7). She wishes her kids asked for caramelized brussel sprouts and wild salmon salad every night. But most of the time, you'll find her whipping up a kid-friendly pasta or a sweet treat with a healthy twist. Her motto is: everything in moderation... except coffee. Find her on Instagram @madewithmeg. {{Privy:Embed campaign=591322}}