Even a toddler who wolfs down his dinner may be hungry before bed. A small, nutritious snack will help your toddler sleep soundly and wake up energized. Eating too close to bedtime can make it difficult for her to fall asleep, so serve a snack 45 minutes or an hour before bed. Make a snack part of her nightly routine, and she’ll soon realize that after snack time, bedtime is soon to follow.
Fruits are high in carbohydrates, which raises the levels of tryptophan in the blood, causing your child to become sleepy. Fruit is also light and healthy, making these sweet treats ideal for an evening snack. Some toddlers will be happy to bite into an apple, while others may turn up their noses. Make fruit an appetizing snack by serving apple or banana slices along with a few spoonfuls of yogurt for dipping, or blend together berries, milk and yogurt to create a fruit smoothie.
Even the pickiest toddler can generally be convinced to eat bread, and the carbohydrates in bread can help her get to sleep. Whole grain bread provides your child with more healthy fiber and vitamins than white bread. Whole wheat raisin bread may also be a hit with your child. Spread butter on a plain piece of bread, or toast it and smear it with some jelly or honey. Make the snack even more appealing to a toddler by cutting the bread into a kid-friendly shape using a cookie cutter.
Cereal isn’t only for breakfast time. A bowl of cereal and milk is not only full of sleep-inducing carbohydrates, but it's also comforting and tasty. Feeding a toddler sugar or caffeine will have her bouncing off the walls of her bedroom, so skip the sweet candied cereals and choose corn flakes or puffed rice instead. In winter, hot cereal can make your child feel cozy and warm before she crawls into bed. Make a bowl of oatmeal or cream of wheat for her to enjoy.
Giving a toddler a protein-rich snack before bed helps her maintain a healthy diet if she didn’t eat enough protein during the day. Protein is filling and takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, so any snack you give a toddler should be small. A few cubes of cheese or a handful of crackers smeared with peanut butter will fill her up without keeping her awake. Even a few slices of her favorite lean deli meat can be a satisfying snack, especially if she refused to eat meat with dinner.