Parenting Health and Wellness Food and Nutrition

Don't Give These Foods To Your Child Before Bedtime

Ambili S Kartha
3 to 7 years

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Apr 29, 2018

Dont Give These Foods To Your Child Before Bedtime

Diet is important for children as their bodies and brains are still developing. A healthy diet is not only beneficial for your child's overall health it also helps them to sleep better. On the other hand, certain food hinder with their sleep. Some food before bed can have adverse effects on their health. Continue reading to understand the effects of eating before bedtime for kids, food to avoid giving your child before bedtime, and more.

Is Eating Before Bedtime Safe For The Child?

When it comes to children, eating before bedtime is a must. Making sure that the child never goes to bed on an empty stomach is more important than worrying about what food they ate. With small stomach and more activities, usually, the child will get hungry around every 3 hours. They should need to feel "full" to sleep better. <2>Why Should Bedtime Food Be Different From Daytime Food? During the day, the kids will be very active. Not only their body but also their brain will be busy with thinking processes. Therefore, they need food that fuels their thinking brains and active bodies. At night, however, providing snacks with too much fuel tends to interfere with sleep. Some foods if eaten just before bedtime can cause acid-reflux and heartburn. Certain foods can have a stimulating effect on the brain of the child and will keep the sleep at bay. At the same time, there are other types of foods that actually have a sedating effect on the brain. Therefore, while giving your child bedtime meals there are a lot of factors to take into account.

What Are The Foods That Should Be Avoided Before Bedtime?

Avoiding certain food to your child during bedtime is very important. Don't give the following groups of food to your child during bedtime:

  1. Cut out caffeine:

    Coffee is not only food that laden with caffeine. You should watch out for hidden sources of caffeine, such as chocolates, sodas, tea (some children are fans of iced lemon tea) and cola as well. Never give your child caffeine ( a big no for those bowls of chocolate ice cream, you offer your child) within six hours of bedtime as it hinders with the sleep of the child. Also, caffeine is diuretic, which means more bed wetting or toilet visits (if the child is potty trained), which will also affect their good night's sleep
  2. Refined sugar:

    Sugary beverages, snacks, and candies should be strictly avoided at least a couple of hours before the bedtime of the child. Why? Because the refined sugar contains so much energy and it will keep your child wide awake and quite active
  3. Protein-rich food:

    Any protein-rich foods like red meat are a big no-no before bed. Like high-fat foods, protein-rich foods take more time to digest (it can slow down the digestive process up to 50%), therefore it will prevent your little one's body from falling asleep
  4. Heavy salty and spicy meal:

    This should also be avoided during the bedtime. Your child's stomach will not be able to digest a heavy meal before bedtime. Spicy foods during bedtime can cause stomach aches and acid reflux. A large meal will increase your child's metabolic rate and body temperature. Both will hamper the sleep. You want your child's metabolism and temperature to be decreasing as they head towards bedtime, not increasing
  5. Cruciferous vegetables:

    Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for the growing children. However, these vegetables are not preferred as a bedtime food to your child. This is owing to the fact that they are loaded with a large amount of insoluble fiber as well, which takes a long time to digest. These foods may generate gas issue as well

What Are The Healthy Foods For The Child Before Bedtime?

Here are some sleep facts:

Choosing snacks and food that are high in these elements will assist your child with a good night's sleep. Here are some good sources of these factors and a good option for the bedtime meal

Dairy products:

  • Tryptophan is an amino acid that works with the body to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is referred as a calming hormone, the hormone that helps the body relax before sleep
  • Tryptophan is an important factor in the production of melatonin, the body's sleep regulator
  • Magnesium promotes relaxation and vitamin B can improve sleep quality
  • Calcium and magnesium help calm the nervous system and can help toddlers fall and stay asleep
  • Dairy products are rich in calcium. Calcium enhances the production of tryptophan and a second sleep-inducing neurotransmitter, melatonin. Giving your child a glass of warm milk before bedtime is a good option to induce sleep.

    Tryptophan-enriched food:

    Including food loaded with tryptophan in the bedtime meal of the child will help them to sleep well throughout the night. You can choose anything from the following list:
    • Dairy products- mild, cheese, etc. Please note that Cheddar, gruyere, and Swiss cheeses have a high level of tryptophan
    • Tofu and soy products
    • Wheat and oats
    • Avocados
    • Bananas
    • Raisins
    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Eggs
    • Nuts
    • Poultry -mainly turkey

    High carb-low protein food:

    In order to attain the full benefits of tryptophan, healthy and high carb food should be taken along the tryptophan-containing foods. Why because the carbohydrates will accelerate the release of insulin. Insulin will helps tryptophan to reach the brain and cause sleepiness. Snacks such as whole wheat crackers, whole grain toast, Whole-wheat pasta with some cheddar cheese grated on top, etc. are a good combo of carb- tryptophan and healthy late night food for your child.

    Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you.

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| Jun 16, 2018

My Daughter is 7 yrs till now i want to feed food very forcefully.. iam really fed up.. and she is not showing interest on any food items i do no what to do. and she is very thin.

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| Jun 07, 2018

thanks for this valuable info

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| Apr 30, 2018


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| Apr 30, 2018

Thank you for the valuable information, iam currently facing the same issues to make my son sleep early

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| Apr 30, 2018

Hi my son doesn't show interest to eat food please tell me any tip and he is too thin

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| Apr 30, 2018

very good information

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| Apr 30, 2018

Thanx for this valuable information

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| Apr 30, 2018

Great information

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| Apr 30, 2018

Very informative. .

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