Your child can’t sleep without a light bedtime snack? Our expert suggests some options to fill your child’s tummies before getting them ready for bed.

Children lying down

1. Milk and Wholemeal Biscuits

Milk is a good, soothing drink before bedtime and contains protein and calcium. Wholemeal biscuits are a good option to accompany milk, which your child can dip into the milk, or eat on its own.

Tip: Choose wholemeal or wholegrain instead of biscuits with no fibre and lots of sugar or cream filling.

2. Fruit and Yogurt

Bananas are a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) and yogurt is rich in protein and calcium.

Fact: Some research indicates that lack of calcium may result in poorer sleep, including the lack of a deep REM sleep phase.

Child with banana

3. Wholegrain Bread with Nut Spread

Wholegrains and nuts contain magnesium. A deficiency of the mineral has been linked to insomnia. Bread contains carbohydrate, which may increase the level of sleep-inducing tryptophan.

4. Cereal Mix Containing Nuts and Seeds with Milk

Nuts and seeds contain magnesium and vitamin E. Avoid cereals high in sugar with lack of other minerals.

5. Banana or Fruit Muffin

Muffins can be made at home with milk or yogurt and fruit as ingredients. It is a delicious way to include fruits and dairy in your child’s diet.

Tip: Store-bought muffins are also fine if you don’t bake, but try to choose those lower in sugar.

Allergen Free recipe - Orange Cranberry Muffins

5 Things to avoid before bedtime

1. Tea or bubble tea

Tea contains caffeine, and should be avoided by kids even at other times (not only bedtime). It also interferes with iron absorption. Iron is crucial to your child’s growth and development.

2. Chocolate

Chocolate contains sugar, which may cause your kid’s blood glucose levels to rise sharply. Some kids get very energetic and have difficulty settling down to sleep after taking too much sugar. Also, chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine.

3. Sweets and desserts

Taking high sugar foods before bedtime may cause ‘hyperactivity’ in your child. Excessive ingestion of sweets may lead to tooth decay if they fail to brush their teeth thoroughly before bed.

4. Heavy meals

Too large or heavy a meal may result in stomach discomfort before bedtime. Keep bedtime snacks light and easily digestible.

5. Exciting games or classes

Keeping kids active is great, but try to schedule these activities earlier in the day. As any parent would know, getting kids ready for bed after they are all ‘hyped up’ is difficult. This will delay their bedtime and result in lack of sleep over time.

Suzanne Khor, Senior Dietician from Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre)

Practice Address
10 Sinaran Drive, #09-04
Novena Medical Centre
Singapore 307506
Tel: 6397 6627/ 6397 6966 (hotline)

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