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Mama, can I have a snack?

The hour is hovering bedtime, and it's already been a long day.  I can't wait for the kids to slumber, so I can get a little down time of my own.  In the mayhem of it all - dinner, bath, reading, and music - they always seem to ask, "Mama, can I have a snack?" right after I ask them to brush their teeth.

Growing up, every meal experience was an opportunity to bond and share quality time, snacks included.  I had a "midnight" snack at 9pm almost every night with my brothers and parents.  Chat and munch, chat and munch.  Sometimes, we had more conversation over snack than we did over dinner.  We have been big fruit & cheese lovers, so maybe we shared fruit or a slice of cheese and crackers.  And, a drink.  Formerly milk or water, now I may have some wine with my snack of berries.

To this day, I am a *horrible* nighttime snacker.  I think my midline is starting to tell me to reconsider my ways.  Nostalgia or hunger, I often give into the requests for the 7pm snack.  Milk and a cookie, fine.  Water and some pita chips, ok.  A bowl of cereal, sure.  I know, I know - it's horrible.

I can't be the only snacking culprit out there.  Am I dooming my kids for bad habits for years to come?  Like I am now a culprit of snacking?  I swear it's all the running and biking around makes me so ravenous at the 9pm hour!


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I don't think its horrible.
I'm a snacker too :)I think if they're getting good sleep and don't have major cavities and you still find time for yourself I don't see
what the harm is. They will still grow up well adjusted and be healthy happy individuals. But
if it's really bugging you maybe enforce a no
snack requests after 8 pm or something? good luck :)

Really? A 7 pm snack? I'm lucky if we get DINNER before 8 pm most nights. No, I usually get the 9:30 p.m., lights are out, deep into snuggling, should have been asleep an hour ago but we're always behind "hungee mama!".

Sheesh, please pass the guilt trip.

When I lived with my grandparents, we sat down for a bowl of cereal before brushing our teeth for bedtime almost every night. Maybe because we ate dinner fairly early? My kids usually eat around 5:30 and then get a glass of milk and sometimes a snack before going upstairs at 8pm.

My almost 3 year old wakes up from nap at 5 and goes to sleep at 8. In between, she'll eat twice - dinner and snack. Which comes first depends on how on the ball mom and dad are about getting dinner ready. But once she's upstairs and the getting to bed part of the day has started, snack time is no longer an option. I make sure to let her know that if she's hungry, she needs to eat before we go upstairs.

Snack is just part of our bedtime routine. We have dinner, clean up, bath, snack, teeth, books. Snack isn't very exciting, and it isn't big (I have one who will skip dinner and fill up at snack instead if it were allowed), but it's part of the whole event. I'm with you, though. I always have a snack, so why shouldn't they?

It may actually be good for you, when I had gestational diabetes, the docs told me to eat a small snack before bedtime so that my blood sugars would be more stable throughout the night. If it nourishes you and your family, screw the mamma guilt, we have so many other things to stress out on!

We also eat dinner late - maybe 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. - to allow my husband time to arrive home. My son never has an evening snack. I figure that between an after school snack, a late dinner and occasional dessert, that's enough food for one little body. He does eat very well at dinner most nights. I feel that too much snacking takes away from being appropriately hungry at meal times. If we ate an earlier dinner, I could see maybe having a glass of milk or a cookie before bed as long as teeth were brushed afterwards. I agree with Emily though, snacking requests at our house would have to end once we start the bath/bedtime routine.

I am diabetic and one of the MAJOR recs is a snack before bedtime. If you don't your blood sugar gets low at night, then your liver pumps out sugar, leading to a higher fasting blood sugar in the morning. It should have all three of the macronutrients: protein, fat, and sugar (can you say ice cream? I'm only half kidding if it's a small amount. Probably better than crackers and juice.) So I don't think you're terrible, I think your super mom - I'm still trying to get my 2.5 year old to eat dinner before 7pm.

After 5+ years of a swallowing disorder that prevented me from eating anything within 2-3 hours of bedtime, I am so excited to have regained the option of a before-bed cookie that I can't imagine keeping the pleasure from anyone. That being said, my girl is usually in bed within an hour and a half after dinner, so this issue hasn't come up on the mama front yet. I imagine I will indulge, though. Cause it's fun.

My big kids don't go to bed till ten p.m. We eat dinner at six and there are chores and homework after. By 8:30 we snuggle in to have one episode of "family tv" and the kids get a snack. They have whatevers in the house; fruit,cheese, granola bars but no gorging. I stick with popcorn and glass of red wine.

We get the "I'm Hungry" just before bed sometimes too. I think that when kids are in a growing spurt they need extra calories so I indulge within reason. I always offer a healthy snack instead of a treat (which she often gets after dinner) just so I can make sure she really is hungry and not just trying to get a treat.

I have a bit older child, but if she requests a snack at/near bedtime, I offer a healthy one (not a "treat"). If she's hungry, she'll accept it, even if it means she has to brush and floss again. If she's bored or if it's a ploy to stay up later or if she just wanted a treat, she opts to go to bed. It's not something that comes up every night, and she swims/dances/is growing/is starting to develop--with all of that going on I figure that if she asks for a snack, she probably needs it. She's eating what I feel are balanced, large-enough meals, so I know the snacks aren't because she refused to eat at meal time.

I grew up with a mom whose response to "I'm hungry" after dinner was over was consistently "Well, you'll eat a good breakfast in the morning." To begin with, when my son was a toddler and a preschooler, we would often give in to requests for snack. But then it became clear he was ditching dinner in favor of the snack, which was usually less healthful just because it was simpler carbs or prepackaged. These days we've returned to my mom's rule. No food after dinner is done. If you're not diabetic, and you eat a decent dinner, and you're not staying up for hours and hours afterwards (all criteria my kids and I meet), your blood sugar should be fine.

I can't say no to a request for food. I also am consistly prepared for the request by keeping very healthy food prepared and in tupperware. We currently have some steamed carrots (slightly steaming make them sweet), some bake sweet potato fries for in house snacks and some freeze dried fruit for on the go snacking.
Sometimes they just don't like dinner or maybe they had gas while they were eating or whatever so healthy snacking I think is fine.

Like many here my son gets a bedtime snack as part of the routine. We eat downstairs, go up to brush teeth and that is it - if he claims to be hungry after that he waits until breakfast (unless I know for sure he had a hard day and didn't eat enough, then its a glass of milk). Growing up we always ate a bedtime snack - a yogurt. I figure the daily yogurt before bed helped me sleep and may be the reason why I had never heard of a yeast infection until I got to college.

We don't have time for a nighttime snack. The oldest child gets home by 3 most days, but by 4:30 on some others, then there is after-school snack and homework. Dinner is usually around 6-6:30ish, and all three kids are in bed and asleep by 7:30.

I don't know how you mamas do it, with the late-night kiddos. If mine weren't in bed early, I'd have no quality-time with their dad...

My son fell off the bottom of the weight chart at his last checkup, healthy but crazy skinny. We give him the most calorie rich foods we can just before bed. Full fat everything.. we don't eat with him then, but we do sit with him and talk... and sweet talk him into eating more food.

egl, you're right. That is a huge disadvantage as they get older that there's no "couple time" anymore unless we go out for a date. But my kids would be laughingstocks if I made them go to bed early as teens. I do usually have them in their rooms reading after 9:30 p.m. and they grudgingly turn out the light for me at 10 p.m. If I need to be alone with hubby, I have to be a night owl.

I'm a huge late night snacker too! And so are my parents - although I'm convinced it's habitual rather than genetic. I'm trying to eat healthier & lose weight so I'll go upstairs & watch tv, do projects or whatever after the kids go to bed in order to avoid the kitchen. So far it's totally helped!

As for the kids - mine aren't big snackers but if they ask for one we almost always oblige. Especially my 2.5 yr old daughter who's my skinny bird. We just make sure they're healthy snacks & for her, full of good fats!

My kids, 4 and 2, don't usually have snacks right before bed besides a cup of warm milk or something (they don't usually ask). But, occasionally they raid the refrigerator with their Dad and it's a super fun ritual for them. They literally all three sit in front of it with the door open, and it's great because it's the vegetable crisper that's at eye level. Somehow the rebel thrill of eating right out of the fridge is what gets them eating raw veggies. It's cool for me to see.

All of these posts were very helpful. My family tends to eat dinner early and my son asks for a snack after dinner/before bed every night. I'm glad to read that its normal to snack after dinner, and my family is not the only one.

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