So many things can affect your child’s ability to sleep: watching TV or being on the computer too close to bedtime. Staying up too late so they’re overtired and bouncing off the walls. Drinking cola or chocolate milk that creates a caffeine buzz.
But these aren’t the only factors. In fact, the food we feed our kids during the day can have a major impact on how well they sleep at night.
Some foods help calm the body down, and others get it revved up. Spikes in blood sugar caused by sugary foods and processed carbohydrates, for instance, can make it very difficult for kids to fall asleep and stay asleep.
On the other hand, some foods create chemicals in our brains that help us feel calm and sleepy, such as tryptophan, which produces a brain chemical called serotonin. This is what melatonin, the “sleep hormone” is created from.
Foods that contain tryptophan include:
• Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews and walnuts.
• Dairy products
• Lamb, beef, pork, turkey and chicken
• Beans and lentils
Combining these foods with carbohydrates will help activate the tryptophan in your child’s brain. Here are five great meal ideas for your child’s dinner to help her get a good night’s sleep!
1. Baked chicken breast with buttery mashed potato
Lean poultry is full of tryptophan, and paired with delicious creamy mashed potatoes, this meal is sure to be a kid-pleaser.
2. Beef and bean burrito
Use lean ground beef and refried pinto beans for this quick and easy meal that has all the right elements for a satisfying meal that will keep blood sugar stable.
3. Chicken pesto pasta made with basil and walnuts
Choose a whole-grain pasta, sauté some chicken and blend garlic with olive oil, walnuts and basil for a simple and delicious meal.
4. Cheese omelet with homemade baked oven fries
Combining the eggs, cheese and potatoes will give your child a high-protein, sleep-inducing meal!
5. Turkey and black bean chili
Use ground turkey in place of ground beef for a lower-fat version of your favorite chili recipe. Throw in some black beans and garnish with cheddar cheese and you have a hearty meal full of foods that will help your child relax.
Now that you know how to help promote better sleep with food, it’s good to know what to avoid as well.
Foods that contain white sugar are definitely a bad idea when it comes to bedtime. Avoid giving children soda, chocolate, candy or ice cream in the evenings or before naptime.
Even natural juices with no added sugar contain high levels of fructose, which can also cause the sugar high that keeps kids awake. Just substitute their nightly juice for water or herbal tea.
3. Salty Foods
Too much salt can also cause night-waking, so try to avoid chips and pretzels as bedtime snacks.
The perfect bedtime snack would be some whole-grain crackers with lean turkey or cheese, or a handful of almonds or cashews. This will help keep blood sugar regulated so your child can settle down and stay asleep.
The good news is, making these small changes to your child’s routine and diet will only have positive effects, and will teach your child from a very young age that eating right is so important for overall health and well-being.
What is your child’s diet like? Are you struggling to get your child to eat healthy foods? If so, you will want to check out The Food Sense Program. Created with the help of a nutritionist, it is a guide to help even the fussiest of eaters trying new healthy foods!
Certified Sleep Sense Consultant Tip:
Kaitlin White, one of our Certified Sleep Sense Consultants was featured on Global News New Brunswick to share some sleep tips. Click the video below to see what she had to say:
If you are interested in individualized help for your baby’s sleep, you can contact Kaitlin directly via the information below.
Interested in an incredibly fulfilling career that lets you build a flexible schedule around YOUR family’s schedule… while earning a great income?
Are you passionate about the importance of a good night’s sleep?
Then becoming a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant might be the perfect fit for you!
Just 2 spaces remain for my next training group in Florida next month. Next training is August 2015. If you’re interested in finding out more information about this opportunity, follow this link: