Sometimes the worst part of my day is bedtime. Listening to grumpy children complain that they are not sleepy and do not want to go to bed can make me grumpy, too. Sending them back to bed after they get up and whine that they are hungry or thirsty can put me in a seriously bad mood. Of course, I don't want my kids to go to bed hungry, but I don't want them to think they can get by with manipulating the system so they can stay up as late as they want, either.
I discovered some time ago that if I lead off my kids' bedtime routine with a healthy snack, they are much less grumpy about getting ready for bed. They especially love when I give them with a snack to munch on while I read a few chapters from a brand new book. Here are a few of our favorite bedtime snacks, most of which are healthy and good for children.
Apples and oranges are favorites around our house, but depending on the season we'll sometimes have a big bowl of grapes, some berries, sliced peaches, or whatever else the kids might eat. Sometimes if I know the kids are pretty hungry, I like to mix up a little bit of peanut butter and honey for dipping apple slices or toss a few chunks of cheddar cheese on the plate.
Freshly popped popcorn always brings the kids running to the kitchen. Air popped popcorn is healthiest, and there are many flavorful toppings you can sprinkle over your bowl to make it even tastier. I personally prefer a little drizzle of real melted butter and a sprinkle of salt.
There's just something about a glass of chocolate milk at bedtime. It's so satisfying. Of course, milk does contain small amounts of tryptophan, but the chemical probably has less effect on your ability to go to sleep than simply having a full belly.
My friend bought a Yonanas machine and started making an ice cream like dessert from frozen bananas. I haven't tried any yet, but she and her kids love their Yonanas. And because the frozen dessert is made completely from fruit with no preservatives or artificial flavors, it is so much healthier than regular ice cream from the store.
Cereal at bed time? Why not? My kids love a little bowl of cereal at bedtime, and they never get up to say they are hungry or thirsty after this healthy snack. A high fiber cereal is slower to digest, and can keep their tummies satisfied all night.
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