Parents always try to provide the best nutrition to their kids but, at times, they might come across several questions. We are going to answer such questions today!
A bedtime snack is an essential part of a toddler’s routine, especially if they get hungry at night regularly. A bedtime snack will ensure a full tummy, and will the toddler settle down to go to bed. It also helps to curb missing nutrition, missed due to any reason. You must have heard of bananas being a good bedtime snack, but does the same apply to toddlers?
Why parents prefer banana insted of other night snake for toddler?
- Bananas are a go-to snack for all as there are in-expensive, easy to carry, packed with vitamins and minerals, filling and let’s not forget how tasty they are.
- Bananas contain complex carbohydrates, vitamin B6, fibre, potassium magnesium and tryptophan. Tryptophan in bananas helps produce serotonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) which helps to get better sleep.
- Apart from this, banana is also a natural antacid and also helps maintain blood pressure.
If a banana is so beneficial, can it be given to toddlers as a night snack?
Ayurveda says, “Bananas produces mucus in our body, and eating them at night might choke your throat.” Bananas are also said to aggravate cold and cough. As we have seen above, bananas are pretty filling and take time to digest, and metabolism is low at night; one might find it hard to digest bananas at night. If having a banana at night has such an effect on fully grown adults, think about how it would affect the toddlers.
Many netizen mothers have testified for the above statement. They had stated that eating a banana before bed caused cold and cough in their little ones. So, if not at night, then when can toddlers be fed bananas? In the mornings after breakfast/afternoons/evenings.
Options for bedtime snacks for toddlers insted of Banana
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great because it contains vitamins, minerals, magnesium, potassium, and amino acids, but it also helps produce melatonin, which will help drifting off to sleep easier. Oatmeal works for both toddlers and adults to have a good sleep.
- Breads- Whole grain bread or crackers contain complex carbs that keep blood sugar levels in check to avoid any nighttime awakenings.
- Pistachios – these contain Protein, magnesium and vitamin B6, which makes them a great bedtime snack.
- Cherries – Cherries are a rich source of melatonin and antioxidants, which increase serotonin production, which allows you to have a proper sleep. You can even give cherry juice to toddlers but make sure it does not contain any artificial sugars.
- Strawberries- They contain Vitamin B6, which help in the production of melatonin.
- Kiwis- Toddlers can have kiwi an hour before bed. They are natural muscle relaxants and also contain potassium and vitamin K, which make bones and teeth strong.
- Plain yoghurt- It contains tryptophan, calcium and amino acids which help to produce serotonin in the body.
- Warm milk- This has ample calcium, which is great for teeth and bone health. Apart from this, it also contains tryptophan which aids sleep.
- Grapes- Grapes are a rich source of fibre and also help sleep better.
- Eggs- As are pretty filling and also contains tryptophan which helps relax our body.
Things to keep in mind while deciding on bedtime snacks
- Bedtime snacks aren’t always mandatory, especially if there are shorter intervals between dinner and bedtime. They are needed only if your child says he is hungry or when there is a considerable interval between his mealtime and sleep time.
- If there is a gap of 90 minutes or more, you probably need to give them a snack before bed.
- Sometimes kids say they are hungry even though they aren’t just to stall going to bed, therefore check if they are truly hungry by giving a snack that is not their favourite.
- Keep the food simple.
- Give foods that are rich in melatonin which will help them sleep better.
- Decide on snacks before the reduce any fuss.
- Make sure the toddler does not skip dinner to get their favourite snack at bedtime.
If you are in a situation where all you have is a banana, you can do a trial and error method to check if your kid can keep up. Bananas do not necessarily cause mucus and cough in all kids. So try giving half a banana and see the result. If the results are positive, you can use banana as a nighttime snack but make sure you alternate it with other options. You must positively avoid bananas at night if your baby previously has a cold and cough, has asthma, or has digestive issues.
What to avoid while choosing nighttime snacks
- Anything sugary, like sweet treats, are bad for teeth as it will lead a path to toothache and decay. Also, aid the release of insulin in the blood, which will make both toddlers and adults active and would allow them to fall asleep.
- Anything that has high fat as our digestive fire is low at night, and anything too heavy will be hard to digest.
- Any Veggies which contain high fibre. High fibre might produce gas and disturb good sleep.
By now, you must have an idea if you should give toddlers bananas at night or avoid it as a bedtime snack. And if avoided, which snacks can take their place. Kids must have bedtime snacks rich in tryptophan and others, which help produce sleep hormones. These sleep hormones will help the kids who find trouble falling asleep.
You must understand that bedtime snacks are not an alternative for dinner. A healthy filling dinner is a must at all times, and nighttime snacks only come into the picture when there is a need to refill. Bedtime snacks should only come into play to provide extra nutrition for the kids who fuss and miss their dinner or those who have a lengthy break between bedtime and dinner. It is important to note that the digestive fire is low and lesser food before bed is the key to good sleep. This will also ensure a problem-free system.
Antara Chowdhury is a Content Marketer and Strategist with 6 years of experience. She is Master degree holder in Journalism and wants to explore everything she can write on.