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Healthy bed-time snacks to help toddlers fall asleep fast!

Healthy kids toddler bed-time snacks on wooden bear plate

If a toddler's blood sugars dip during the night it can lead to your little one having a restless sleep or waking sooner than they should. A full tummy before bed in the form of a healthy bed-time snack can not only help settle a toddler sooner but aid in a full nights sleep not only for little one but you too! 


The Importance of Bedtime Snacks for Toddlers

Toddlers have high energy levels and are constantly on the go, which means they need a steady supply of nutrients throughout the day. However, it's equally important to provide them with a balanced snack before bedtime to help them wind down and prepare for a good night's sleep.

Bedtime snacks serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they help prevent hunger pangs during the night, ensuring your toddler stays comfortable and undisturbed. Secondly, the right combination of nutrients can help produce sleep-inducing hormones, such as melatonin, which promote restfulness. Lastly, the act of enjoying a bedtime snack can contribute to the establishment of a soothing routine, signaling to your toddler that it's time to relax and prepare for sleep.

When choosing bedtime snacks for your toddler, it's essential to strike a balance between satisfying their hunger and providing them with the nutrients they need. Opting for snacks that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates can help support their growth and development while promoting a restful night's sleep.

The Role of Sleep in Toddler Development

Adequate sleep is crucial for a toddler's growth and development. During sleep, the body repairs and regenerates cells, and the brain consolidates learning and memory. Here are some key ways in which sleep impacts a toddler's development:

1. Physical Growth: Sleep is essential for the production of growth hormones, which are responsible for physical development. Regular and restful sleep can contribute to healthy growth in toddlers.

2. Cognitive Development: Sleep plays a vital role in cognitive development, including memory consolidation, problem-solving skills, and language acquisition. A well-rested toddler is more likely to be attentive, focused, and able to absorb new information.

3. Emotional Regulation: Sufficient sleep helps regulate emotions and improves mood stability in toddlers. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability, tantrums, and difficulty in managing emotions.

4. Immune Function: Sleep is crucial for a strong immune system. During sleep, the body produces cytokines, proteins that help fight off infections and inflammation. A well-rested toddler is less likely to fall ill frequently.

5. Behaviour and Attention: Sleep deprivation can lead to behavioral issues and difficulties with attention and concentration. Establishing healthy sleep habits early on can contribute to better behaviour and attention span in toddlers.

It's clear that sleep plays a vital role in a toddler's overall development. By providing them with nutritious bedtime snacks, you can help support their sleep quality and ensure they are getting the rest they need for optimal growth and well-being.

A healthy bedtime snack such as honey on toast, or a banana with nut butter that combines proteins & complex carbs like these form amino acids that act like tryptophan (the chemical that makes you sleepy) that can not only keep your little ones from waking early but also help them fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. 


 Snack time tips 
  1. As a rule of thumb try to give snack 45mins to an hour before actual bedtime to let food settle in little one's tummy.

  2. Offer a small snack to keep bellies full (but not too full!) A big snack before bed can have the opposite effect & keep a little one up whilst they try to digest a big snack.

  3. Make sure your little one is sat down in his highchair or bumper seat before offering snacks to avoid choking hazards.

  4. Keep foods light, steering clear of sugar, veggies (whilst obviously a healthy snack their full of fibre so can be a little difficult to digest just before bed) and caffeine.


Blue brontide car wooden plate, divider plates, childrens Eco tableware uk.

 Eco wooden children's plate - car

Combine a food group from each list to create the perfect bedtime snack!         


Complex Carbs

Warm Cows Milknutrient-rich & high in calcium, a mineral essential for healthy bones and teeth Wholemeal Toast - also a good source of iron magnesium and selenium.
Warm Oaty Milk - also great for bone health & a good source of vitamin B12 but low in protein when compared to cows milk Wholemeal or Oat Crackers - perfect for keeping blood sugars level & tummies full
Yoghurt - an excellent source of protein, calcium and potassium. Apple - an apple a day keeps the doctor away, probably because it's not only packed with A, B6, E, K, but also magnesium, potassium, phosphorus & riboflavin
Piece of Light Cheddaris a great source of protein, but can be high in sodium so keep portion sizes small, think an inch cubed Banana - rich in potassium, one banana provides 30g of carbs
Nut Butter (no added salt or sugar) - whichever nut butter you decide upon they all packed with protein & magnesium, as well as a healthy dose of vitamin B6 & fibre Oats - one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, rich in thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron
Cottage Cheese - not the highest source of protein on the list but packed full of vitamins B1, B3 and B6, as well as vitamin A, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper. Wholegrain Cereal - (no added sugar) - a bowl of cornflakes, Weetabix or shredded wheat are all perfect carbs packed options that will help the body absorb tryptophan (the chemical that makes you sleepy)quicker
1 Slice of Turkey Breast - a great source of protein, perfect to help build muscles and bones, essential for childhood development Rice Cake - opt for the wholegrain but make sure to balance with some protein & fibre as on their own rice cakes can spike blood sugars. (Peanut butter if the perfect match) 
Hummus - rich in protein, resistant starch &  anti-nutrients, which slow down the digestion of carbs  Wholemeal Pitta - has barely any sugar & is a good source of fibre with the added bonus of calcium to help build growing bones.
Soy Yogurt - has a protein count comparable to cow's milk yoghurt & also great at keeping blood sugars balanced Honey - a good source of antioxidants & natural sugars, perfect for a sweet tooth. Great paired with warm milk for a soothing bedtime drink.
Half an egg - did you know eggs are one of the most protein-dense foods you can eat, & with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids they are incredibly nutritious. Wholegrain Wrap - A good source of carbs & with added calcium, iron & potassium they're perfect for making a small bedtime snack. 

Our favourite bedtime snacks to help kids sleep:

  • Hummus on Oak Cakes - Yum, check out our recipe for Blushing Beet & Apple Hummus HERE 
  • Warm milk with honey & a slice of wholemeal toast - warm milk has the added benefit of being soothing, a warm tummy before bed on a cold night is sure to help aid in sleep. 
  • Apple & Nut Butter - a tasty snack with the added benefit of being high in magnesium which research suggests helps aid a deeper sleep.


toddler bedtime snack


toddler snacks on wooden bear plate

Conclusion and Final Tips for a Restful Sleep

Incorporating delicious and nutritious bedtime snacks into your toddler's evening routine can have a significant impact on their sleep quality and overall well-being. By providing them with the right combination of nutrients, you can support their growth, regulate sleep-inducing hormones, and establish a soothing routine.

Remember to strike a balance between satisfying hunger and providing essential nutrients. Include protein-rich snacks like Greek yogurt or almond butter, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruits, and foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12. These snacks will not only support your toddler's nutritional needs but also contribute to a fast and restful sleep.

In addition to bedtime snacks, creating a calming sleep environment is crucial. Establish a consistent bedtime routine, ensure the bedroom is dark and quiet, and limit stimulating activities before bed. Encourage relaxation techniques like reading a bedtime story or taking a warm bath.

By prioritising their nutrition and sleep, you can help your toddler thrive and enjoy the benefits of a restful night's sleep. So, go ahead and try out one of our delicious and nutritious protein & complex carb combo bedtime snacks to set the stage for sweet dreams and a peaceful slumber for your little one. Good night!

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