Dreamy Delights: Recipes for Toddler-Friendly Bedtime Snacks
Bedtime routines are so much more than just tucking your child into bed with their favourite teddy. They are a crucial part of establishing healthy sleep habits that can impact a child’s physical and mental well-being. Although there are often several steps to a toddler’s bedtime routine, bedtime snacks are becoming more important as we notice the positive impact they have on sleep quality. Keep reading as we dive into the role of bedtime snacks, how to incorporate them into your little one’s bedtime routine, and a few sleep-inducing snack ideas to try out!
Should you give your child a snack before bed?
A common concern among parents is whether or not bedtime snacks are necessary for their little ones. The answer lies in understanding the nutritional needs of growing children. Toddlers have high energy requirements to support their rapid growth and development, and their small stomachs might not hold enough food during their day to meet those needs. This is where bedtime snacks come in!
Bedtime snacks can serve as an additional opportunity to provide essential nutrients that may have been missed during the day. They can also help stabilise blood sugar levels throughout the night, preventing sudden drops that may disrupt sleep. However, balance is always key! Children need to consume enough nutrients to satisfy their hunger and fulfil their needs, whilst not overfilling their tummies, causing them to experience discomfort while sleeping.
Incorporating a bedtime snack into your child’s routine can also be a comforting ritual. This can signal to them that bedtime is approaching, helping to ease the transition from playtime to sleep. Overall it’s up to the parents to decide whether they want to start offering their child a bedtime snack!
When should you offer bedtime snacks?
The timing of bedtime snacks within the bedtime routine is crucial. Offering a snack too close to bedtime might backfire, leading to indigestion or discomfort. The ideal timing is about 45 minutes to an hour before sleep. This gives the body enough time to begin the digestion process while avoiding any discomfort during sleep.
You may also want to offer the snack an hour after dinnertime. If you start offering the snack too close after dinnertime, your child may start skipping dinner since they know a snack is on the way.
What is an ideal bedtime snack?
Choosing the right foods for a toddler’s bedtime snack requires a blend of nutritional wisdom and understanding their taste preferences. Chose snacks that are rich in complex carbohydrates and contain a small amount of protein. Carbohydrates will help promote a feeling of fullness and provide a slow release of energy throughout the night, while a touch of protein can aid in muscle repair and growth.
It’s also best to not make the snack filling, but not too exciting. This means keeping sugar low and focusing on healthier options. If you want to offer a dessert, this should be done at dinnertime, instead of for bedtime snack time.
Here are some great snack options to incorporate into your toddler’s bedtime routine!
Turkey has tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to make your little one sleepy, making it the perfect bedtime snack! Whether you roll up some turkey slices, or you make a small turkey sandwich using whole grain brain, it makes for a super simple bedtime snack option.
A calming smoothie
A smoothie before bedtime is a great option for children, as long as it’s not too high in sugar. Ingredients including bananas, cherries, milk, and oats can make for a sleep-inducing smoothie that your toddler will love.
For a quick and easy smoothie option, our new Calm Smoothie from The Good Smoothie Milk Powder range can become a nutritious part of your child’s bedtime routine. It is specially formulated with calming chamomile and soothing banana and avena sativa oats, to help them get ready for a restful sleep. This smoothie has bananas which are rich in sleep-prompting nutrients like magnesium a muscle relaxant and tryptophan, vitamin B6, carbohydrates and potassium, all of which have been linked to improved sleep. It has a delicious natural banana and oats flavour.
Just add water and it’s ready to go!
Specially formulated with calming chamomile and soothing banana and avena sativa oats, to help them relax and get ready for a restful sleep. Made from fresh Australian grass fed cows’ milk Formulated with chamomile and avena sativa (oats) which may help with relaxation and is known to support restful, quality sleep. Banana – bananas are…
A berry yoghurt parfait
This parfait combines creamy Greek yoghurt with berries and granola, creating a delightful medley of textures and flavours. Berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin O, which supports the immune system and promotes restorative sleep. The addition of granola provides complex carbohydrates that, when combined with the protein in yoghurt, can help your toddler feel full and content as they drift off to sleep.
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup mixed berries (e.g., blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- 2 tablespoons granola
- In a small bowl or cup, layer Greek yogurt, mixed berries and granola.
- Repeat the layers until the container is filled.
- Serve immediately as a delightful and colourful bedtime snack.
These banana-oat cookies offer a delightful blend of natural sweetness from ripe bananas and the heartiness of rolled oats. Bananas are a great source of potassium and vitamin B6, both of which aid in muscle relaxation and neurotransmitter production. Rolled oats are rich in complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the night. The combination of the nutrients in this snack contributes to a calming and satisfying pre-sleep treat.
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons nut butter (e.g., Almond butter, peanut butter)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, rolled oats, nut butter and cinnamon.
- Mix well until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheet to form cookies.
- Flatten each cookie slightly with the back of a fork.
- Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool before serving.
Rice and pear pudding
Not only is this a super simple and yummy bedtime snack option, but it also contains sleep inducing nutrients. Rice has a high glycemic index, which may promote better sleep. Here’s how to make it:
- ¼ cup (50g) short-grain rice
- 300mL Nutura Organic Stage 3 Toddler Milk Drink (or milk of your choice)
- 1 small (180g) pear, peeled and grated
- Add rice, milk and pear in a medium saucepan on high heat
- Bring to the boil, simmer and stir often.
- Cook for 12 minutes or until thick and creamy and rice is fully cooked through.
- Allow the pudding to cool to a lukewarm temperature before serving.
Mum’s top tip:
You can keep the second serve in the fridge for 1 day. When reheating, add a little Nutura Organic Stage 3 Toddler Milk Drink to loosen up the rice.
Bedtime snacks for toddlers are not just about filling their tummies before sleep. They play a vital role in providing essential nutrients, stabilising blood sugar levels and contributing to a soothing bedtime routine. While offering a bedtime snack can help address nutritional gaps and promote better sleep, it’s important to strike a balance and avoid overfeeding. As you continue to shape your little one’s night routine, including the right bedtime snack, at the right time, will play a crucial role in ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep for the entire family. Be sure to try out our snack suggestions!