Do kids need a bedtime snack? How to tell if a toddler needs a bedtime snack. Plus healthy bedtime snacks for toddlers.
Every parent knows that kids are snack monsters.
This season usually begins in toddlerhood and lasts maybe forever.
As far as whether kids really need snacks – particularly between dinner and bedtime – is a question we receive often.
And while we wish there was an easy answer, there’s some nuance in determining whether you need to offer a snack in this timeframe.
Should you offer your child a bedtime snack?
In general, bedtime snacks should either be part of the routine, or not.
In other words, if your child is used to being offered a bedtime snack as part of their daily routine, then it may be best to continue doing so. If not, or if this is an inconsistent part of their day, a snack may not be necessary.
For instance, if you’re offering snacks after a dinner where your child didn’t eat much or didn’t like what you were offering, it can be a confusing message.
They may begin to think that they can skip dinner in hopes that you’ll offer another snack.
This isn’t true for every child, of course, but if you notice this pattern in yours then you may want to reevaluate the bedtime snack offering.
However, if there are typically two or more hours between dinner and bedtime then your child may be very well hungry.
In this case, it can be a good idea to offer a snack before they go to sleep.
Healthy bedtime snacks for toddlers
So, what should you offer your toddler before bed?
Sticking with a more balanced and “boring” snack – rather than a sugary sweet treat – after dinner is the best approach.
This type of snack isn’t just more satiating for a little tummy. It will also help curb any unnecessary snacking that might be happening if your child is always anticipating a dessert before bed.
A small snack that offers a nice balance of filling carbs, healthy fat, and protein is ideal.
If you think your child needs a bedtime snack, here are some healthier ideas:
- A piece of fruit and a glass of unsweetened plant-based milk
- A small bowl of low-sugar cereal with or without milk
- A banana or apple with nut or seed butter
- A piece of whole grain toast slathered with nut butter or mashed avocado
- A small bowl of yogurt (like this homemade one) with fruit
Do kids need a bedtime snack? It depends! We hope this helps you determine how to tell if a toddler needs a bedtime snack. If yes, try these healthy bedtime snacks for toddlers.
Chime In: Do you offer bedtime snacks for your kids? Do you feel like they need one or is it just a routine?
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