Is your toddler like my grandson Mason? It seems like he never eats and when he does he only eats a few bites. He is a very picky eater. I believe that he is hungry when he goes to sleep at night. Therefore, he struggles with falling asleep. So, if your toddler is like Mason, hopefully, I can offer some help with some foods that promote deep sleep.
One of my many passions is food. I have been cooking family meals for over 30 years. My love for food has developed into a hobby. However, I didn’t start out that way. Over the years, my skills have been honed from meals from a box to everything from scratch.
And, still, Mason is a picky eater. But, I have found some foods that he likes to eat and he doesn’t even realize that he is eating healthy (somewhat, He still loves pizza but then again who doesn’t). That being said, here are some amazing foods that promote sleep not only in children but in adults as well. So, if you are having trouble sleeping at night as well, just dig in.
It would seem like everything keeps coming back to melatonin. It just so happens that melatonin is very important for sleep cycles. But I will try not to bore you too much with melatonin. Just so we are on the same page here, melatonin is naturally released in the body to promote sleep.
You might be surprised to find that certain foods contain melatonin. Therefore, eating these foods will help promote sleep in your toddler. here is a list of melatonin rich foods:
- Poultry (chicken or turkey)
- Whole Grains
- White Rice
I am sure you find something in the above list that your toddler will eat and he will not even know you trying to put him to sleep.
Dinner time around my house is full of chaos on a nightly basis. But, we all sit down to eat a meal together. Now Mason, on the other hand, takes three bites and runs around the island in the kitchen then comes back for more. I tried strapping him down. But, as you can tell, that didn’t work.
When you work all day and you come home, the hardest thing to do is to put a healthy meal on the table. If you are like most families today you are lucky if you can pump out a frozen pizza. I get it. However, there are certain foods that will help promote deep sleep that is fast and easy to make.
On the other hand, there are some foods that should be avoided in order to get your child to sleep faster and easier. Try to avoid deep-fried meals such as fried fish, chicken wings, and french fries. Fried foods take longer to digest and tend to keep your child awake longer mainly because they reduce serotonin levels. In short serotonin levels affect your mood.
Now, I realize I just took away your go-to quick meals at night. Sorry, sometimes we need to sacrifice the needs of one for the needs of many.
I remember as a kid I would not even consider going to sleep until I ate a bowl of cereal. It is something my mom started and I am not even sure what age she started me on it. However, it stuck with me all the way until my teenage years.
Because Mason does not eat very much at dinner I always try to get him to eat a snack before bed. Now, I do not want anyone thinking I am force-feeding him. He is the smallest in his class and at 3 1/2 he only weighs 28 pounds. So, he has some room to grow.
- Apple with some Mozzarella string cheese
- Peanut butter on whole-grain crackers
- Banana with low-fat yogurt
- Low fat cottage cheese and some whole grain pita chips
- A hand full of mixed nuts with some warm milk
- Hummus and whole-grain crackers
Try to avoid sugary snacks at night with your toddler. Likewise, think about what he is drinking. Sometimes the juices that we buy have hidden sugars.
You are the Boss
At the end of the day, you just need to be in control of what your toddler is eating. Sometimes, that is really difficult to trust me I know. Mason can reach almost anything he wants in the pantry so I have to hide any sweet snacks we have. Simple because he will grab and run.
I am curious does your toddler do the same thing? Or, have I lost control.
The main thing is in order to promote a deep sleep in your toddler food plays a key role in the outcome. Most importantly, there is a delicate balance between eating foods that help your toddler relax and foods that he will eat. The list of foods that I have provided is not the only food that works.
In short, try foods like tomatoes, kiwi, cherries, walnuts, and other nuts. All of these foods are high in potassium, tryptophan, and melatonin.
I want to leave you with one last thing that seems to work well with Mason. I’m sorry it is not knocking him out with a bat. People tend to frown on that so I don’t recommend trying it. Joking aside, Mason seems to like eating things from a bag. Therefore, I place his bedtime snack in a bag so he can eat while we read or he watches TV.
I will cut up anything he didn’t eat for dinner (if it is not too messy) and also add some nuts, fruit, and some craisins. Now, there is some sugar in this snack. But, it doesn’t seem to bother his sleep.
Thank you for reading and I hope I was able to leave something for you. If you have any experience that would like to share or want to leave a comment or a question. Leave them below and I will certainly get back in a timely manner.