So I did a little bit of web-research, as well as checking out my copy of Better Food for Kids.
Some tips for planning bedtime snacks into your routine : You want to ensure that you are planning for complex carbs and staying away from proteins and sugar. Protein takes a lot of work for your body to digest and can make it difficult to settle down and fall asleep. A little bit of protein is fine (for example, peanut butter on toast) and dairy contains triptophain (like what you find in turkey!) and aids naturally in falling asleep.
Bedtime snacks that are factored into your young child’s diet can also give you an extra opportunity to ensure that you are meeting their daily dietary needs (although for many children the better options for bedtime snacks like dairy and carbs, are not what is lacking in their diet, lol)
When our children were little, we would often have bedtime snacks, but we also had a reasonably early dinner and didn’t have a multitude of extra curricular activities to work around. For a while though, we had to stop having those evening snacks, because my son was not eating his dinner and instead waiting for bedtime snacks. We introduced the rule (and still have it) that if you didn’t eat your dinner, you didn’t have anything until breakfast. You could eat all your dinner, and have dessert and then have a bedtime snack if you needed to.
So, if your little one (or not so little one!) is not a good eater, you might want to try and keep your bedtime snacks as “uneventful” as possible, like plain toast or warm milk, so that there isn’t the intriguing option of having cookies or yogurt or banana later.
We occasionally have bedtime snacks around here, but mostly they are post activity snacks, eaten as a supplement to an early dinner , or on the way home from soccer practice.
I asked my kids what their favourite bedtime snack was… Cookies and milk (warm milk), was my son’s suggestion, while my daughter’s was yogurt and banana.
Other great ideas for bedtime snacks? homemade peanut butter oatmeal cookies, plain yogurt and dried fruit or cereal, toast and cheese.
Here are some great links with more information on bedtime snacks.