Am I the only one whose kids ask for a snack before bed? It’s not unusual, especially for active kids, to be hungry by bedtime. A small snack can be just the thing hold them over through the night, especially during growth spurts. When the weather is warm and the sun stays up later, I know my kids want to spend every waking second outside playing. I’m glad they are using up their energy because it makes me hopeful that they’ll go right to sleep. Often when they come in, they will ask for a snack before going to bed. Here are some guidelines for snacks before bedtime: Guidelines:
1. Only give them a snack if they are hungry and not out of habit. One of my children will pick at her food at dinner, and then complain she’s so hungry (for graham crackers, only) when she climbs into bed. Another child of mine will eat anything he’s offered whether he’s hungry or not.
2. Plan a bedtime snack 45 minutes – 1 hour before bedtime. This way you will make sure the food has time to settle, and there is ample time to brush their teeth!
3. Keep the snack small. This isn’t another meal. It’s a snack to tide them over and help them get to sleep. A good rule of thumb is make the snack no bigger than your child’s fist.
4. A good bedtime snack should have a carbohydrate and a protein. The carbohydrate will help boost serotonin production, and the protein will help keep them full.
Top 10 Quick and Healthy Bedtime Snacks:
- 4 Whole Grain Crackers and 4 Small Slices of Cheese: Sometimes we make this snack extra-fancy by adding green apple slices on top of each cracker. Yum!
- Cottage Cheese and Fruit: Fresh fruit is always better, but my kids will always go for this sweet and savory snack packed with protein.
- Peanut Butter and Fruit Sandwich: You’d be surprised how delicious a peanut butter and banana or apple or strawberry sandwich really is. Depending on the size of your child, it might be appropriate to make a 1/2 sandwich.
- Oatmeal with Nuts and Dried Fruit: This snack is a great source of fiber, which will help your child to feel satisfied longer. A good serving size would be 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon each of nuts and dried fruit. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan and stir until thickened.
- Apple or Banana Slices dipped in Peanut Butter: Apples seem to bring out the sweet nuttiness of peanut butter. No added sugar needed!
- Boiled Egg, Cheese Quarter and 1/2 Slice of Toast: This is a favorite at our house. We keep boiled eggs in the fridge pretty regularly. When we need a bedtime snack, we smash or slice up the boiled egg, layer it onto the toast, and top with sharp cheddar.
- Cucumber Rounds with Greek Yogurt and Rice Crackers: Need extra flavor? Try adding a little salt and pepper.
- Yogurt Cheese Spread on an English Muffin: Yogurt cheese is merely yogurt that has had water strained out of it so that is has a consistency like cream cheese. It’s delicious and easy to make. Try it!
- Homemade Granola Bar: When you make them yourself you can cut them to the perfect snack sizes for your children. It’s a good (and kid-approved) balance of protein and carbohydrates.
- 1/2 Cup Whole Grain Cereal and 1/2 Cup Milk: If your kids are like mine, they’d eat cereal every for every meal, if they could. Only buy whole grain cereal and then you can feel good about this bedtime snack option.
With so many families’ hectic schedules, sometimes a bedtime snack can be just the ticket to a restful sleep for your children. These healthy and quick options are sure to please even picky eaters and will empower you in your goal to provide healthy food for your family.
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