As a parent, getting your child to sleep through the night can feel like an impossible challenge. Fortunately, experts have long acknowledged the connection between diet and quality of sleep.
So why not try giving your little one some healthy sips and treats that can benefit their slumber?
If you’re looking for ideas, we’ve got you covered. We recently sat down with our friend Cassandra Curtis, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Once Upon a Farm. She also happens to be an integrative nutrition health coach! Cassandra shared her three favorite recipes that may soothe, comfort and lead kids deeper into dreamland.
3 Easy-to-Follow Recipes to Help Kids Sleep Better, Longer
By Cassandra Curtis, Cofounder & Chief Innovation Officer of Once Upon a Farm
As a mom myself, I know how important those precious hours of sleep are. The truth is, if our little ones aren’t sleeping, neither are we. Even more of a reason to find ways to nourish tiny bodies so they doze through dawn!
Good nutrition is only one of many factors that set those slumbers up for success, but it can make a big impact if done right! I’m going to show you how, by giving you some restful recipes that will improve your chances of you and your kiddo getting the hours of rest you deserve.
Before we go to the recipes, let me give you a little background on why these rose to the top for my peaceful picks.
First of all, there aren’t really any quick fixes. Getting good sleep is about taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Yep, that means looking at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical factors! But in terms of diet alone, what your kiddo eats early in the day is just as important as what they eat before bed.
What they do and don’t eat is also important. The key is to limit stimulating foods and additives like processed sugar, caffeine (found in chocolate, sodas, teas) and artificial dyes (such as red dye #40). Why? Stimulating foods can cause a spike in blood sugar, leading to hyperactivity, making it harder for your little one to fall asleep. Blood sugar then drops, causing a crash in the middle of the night—which can wake them up!
In terms of recommended nutrients and herbs, eating foods rich in the following will maximize their sleeping hours—and yours, too:
- Vitamin C
- Foods naturally high in melatonin, tryptophan
- Chamomile or Lavender Tea
About an hour before bedtime, a balanced snack with both protein and carbohydrates can also be helpful. It ensures your children don’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night. Just make sure those tummies have enough time to digest by not cutting it too close!
Below are some of my favorite nighttime snack recipes that can ease the snooze:
Caring Chamomile Bites
Makes 10 Bites
¾ Cup Oats (melatonin and tryptophan)
½ Cup Almond Butter (magnesium + protein)
3 Dried Bananas (magnesium, potassium, tryptophan, B6 + carbohydrate)
2 Tsp Chamomile
1 Tsp Vanilla
Pinch of Sea Salt
Blend in a food processor until a large ball forms. Remove, roll into little truffle shapes, and refrigerate.
Warm Lavender Milk
Makes about 8.5 cups
1 Cups Almonds (magnesium + protein)
8 Cups Water
¼ Cups Dates (magnesium)
1 Tablespoon Lavender
Place all ingredients in a blender and let sit for 10 minutes. Blend on high until smooth. Strain through a nut milk bag or sieve.
Warm the mixture on the stovetop, letting it get to room temperature. Sprinkle lavender flowers on top for extra sweetness.
Cinnamon Almond Butter + Fruit Tempting Toasts
Sprouted Whole Grain Bread (Ezekiel is a great brand) (B vitamins + fiber)
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (magnesium + protein)
1 Banana (magnesium, potassium, tryptophan, B6 + carbohydrate)
2 Strawberries (vitamin C + melatonin)
Pumpkin seeds (tryptophan)
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Spread almond butter on toast. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds (I find that sometimes, kids don’t want to see them!), then mash banana on top. Slice strawberries and lay on top of the banana. Finish with a dusting with cinnamon.
A good night’s sleep is important for both you and your children. By following some simple dietary changes—adding some healthy bites and sips, and dropping the sugary snacks—you can encourage longer, deeper periods of rest. These recipes are a great place to start: they’re nutritious, delicious, and designed to promote better slumber. With any luck, everyone in the house will be catching some extra ZZZs in no time.