The top healthy bedtime snacks for kids (and parents)
By Aimee Heckel
It’s a recurring parental puzzle: Your kids won’t touch a thing at dinnertime, but then bedtime rolls around, and they are on the verge of death-by-starvation (or so they act).
You might be tempted to offer up some dinner leftovers (or munch on some of them yourself), but a late dinner can disrupt a good night’s sleep and distress your digestive system. However, a grumbling belly can mess up your sleep, too.
Some snacks before bedtime that can actually improve your snoozes by helping your body relax and release serotonin and melatonin, according to Adler Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Boulder.
Here are some of the best, healthy bedtime snacks for kids — or hungry parents, who were too busy taking care of the rest of the family to get a proper dinner:
According to author Alex K. Andrew:
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea, which can help relax your mind and body.
- If your kids don’t like tea, serve them some warm milk, which contains tryptophan (that’s the stuff in turkey that makes you fall asleep on the couch after Thanksgiving; in fact, eat a slice of turkey, too, if you want something more substantial). Add some honey to the milk, to help mute the “orexin” nerve in your brain, which is connected to alertness.
- Looking for something to chew on? Peel a banana. This fruit contains melatonin, serotonin and magnesium, a muscle relaxer. Or make a bowl of oatmeal, which also contains melatonin.
Health.com says some of the best snacks before bed include:
- Cherries, which contain melatonin
- Jasmine rice, which the body digests slowly
As for the worst? You may feel tempted to pour a glass of wine to calm you down before bed, but experts at Health.com say it metabolizes so quickly that it will make you wake up a few times during the night, disrupting your zzz’s.
In addition, other experts recommend only eating small quantities. A big meal before bed can cause stomach discomfort, heartburn, reflux and more.
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