Hi Families! As a registered dietitian I’m often asked about bedtime snacks – are they necessary? Should I serve them every night no matter what? Will it cause picky eating? Are there certain foods I should avoid?!
The answers really depend. Sometimes families run into trouble when bedtime snacks happen every single night no matter what – even if dinner was just served. What makes matters worse is if that bedtime snack is always a loved, safe food of the child’s choosing. It’s important to maintain your role as the feeder and then leave it up to your child to decide whether they eat it or not (and how much).
What can happen if your child is in charge is that they may “hold out” for that snack, making it less likely that they’ll eat much (or even be willing to try foods) at dinner.
My suggestion? If dinner is 2 hours (or more) before bedtime, offer a bedtime snack about 1/2 hour before bed. It should be varied (not always the same) and you as the parent should ultimately choose what it is (although giving 2 snack choices and letting your child choose between those is good too!)
Pair a protein-rich good with a carbohydrate-based food for the best combo
Here are some examples:
- Apple slices + peanut butter
- Greek yogurt + berries
- Whole grain cereal + milk
- Cheese + crackers + grapes
- Homemade muffin + milk
- Cucumber + hummus + crackers
Do you serve bedtime snack? What are your go-tos?