A Sleepy Bedtime Snack: Tart Cherry Chia Pudding

Tart Cherry Chia Pudding - A Sleepy Bedtime Snack

Tart Cherry Chia Pudding - A Sleepy Bedtime Snack

In honor of Safe Healthy Sleep…

…let’s talk about kids and sleep! This topic probably feels anything but restful and peaceful to many parents, but hear me out!

They need it {and we know you need it!}

Young children spend almost half their day sleeping - or should be anyway. And rapidly growing teens aren’t much different. Every house has that 1 kid though. The one that is always up before everyone, or who has the hardest time falling asleep…

While there are many factors that play into children sleeping well, there is one piece to the puzzle that affects every child.

Food Choices

It’s pretty hard to argue that food doesn’t play a role in a child’s behavior and sleep, so while I am probably “preaching to the choir,” I thought we could have a quick refresher on how food can affect sleep, just in case one of these things has slipped by the radar!

1. Keep the sugar down. Processed sugar is loaded into the craziest of foods these days, so your best bet here is just to get processed food out of the house. Scan the ingredient labels if you do and just make sure there isn’t any high fructose corn syrup or the first few ingredients labeled as sugar or sugar derivative. Sugar excites and inflames the body – and in little kids it doesn’t take much to fan the flames.

2. Load up friendly fats. Kid’s brains are rapidly growing and need fatty fuel to do so. Every meal is my goal. Make sure every snack and meal has something to balance everything out with a fat. A brain starving for fat will be wired even though they are tired.

3. Avoid food triggers. Whether it’s a true allergy, or maybe just sensitivity, keeping kids’ trigger foods off the menu will help them sleep better. An example of this is one of my girls. She doesn’t have a true allergy to milk, but when she has pasteurized milk products, she is up ALL night using the potty. Take those products out, and she sleeps like a rock for 12 hours. It’s as simple as that! It could be gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and even things like MSG which literally crosses the blood brain barrier affecting sleep and the brain.

4. Move! Turn the screens off and get the kids moving. I know this isn’t rocket science, but it’s worth mentioning because most kids today definitely don’t get the movement they need in one day. Wear them out and let them use their bodies. Kids have energy for a reason – they were created to move!

5. Bedtime snacks with purpose! In my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings, I share a special raw milk (or coconut milk) tonic that I used to use for my older babies and toddlers for a bedtime snack. This fat rich snack was low in sugar but filled up hungry bellies and made for a super sound, long, restful night of sleep. Pick a snack that is nourishing. A piece of fruit is nice, but balance it out with a slice of raw cheese or something else with fat or protein like kefir, avocado, or a handful of nuts. Or! Try making this new, quick prep tart cherry chia pudding!

A new bedtime snack created to help with peaceful sleep!

Tart cherry juice has become a popular, natural means for many people to sleep better. Tart cherries have naturally occurring melatonin (a hormone in our bodies that regulates sleep and wake time), and a certain polyphenol that encourages the precursors to serotonin (a neurotransmitter that helps with peaceful sleep). Studies have shown that having one, 1 ounce serving of tart cherry juice in the morning, and another serving before bedtime is the best method for helping with sleep.

Tart cherry juice tastes so good in a smoothie or stirred up in a glass of water or milk, but I didn’t want my kids running to the bathroom to go potty an hour after drinking all that! Instead, I created a fat satiating, rich, tart cherry pudding that makes a quick prep bedtime snack to help promote a good (long!) night of sleep. These small servings pack a punch with nutrient dense chia seeds and fatty coconut milk, as well as just the right serving of yummy tart cherry juice to help with sleep.


- 2 tbsp chia seed (I used these white chia seeds so the color wasn’t affected as much as black chia)

- 1 cup full fat coconut milk or full fat plain yogurt or raw milk

- 6 tbsp (3oz) tart cherry juice concentrate (I buy this in the refrigerated section of my local health food store. - Do not get the watered down juice – get tart cherry concentrate.)

- 1-2 tsp raw honey (Or other healthy sweetener of choice. A softened date or 2 would blend up nicely too. Stevia is fine if you like using that and want a sugar free option – you will have to play with the amount to your taste.)

- 1-2 tbsp grassfed collagen (optional but good protein source)


1. Put the chia seed in you blender and blend until it becomes a fine powder.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes to set up to pudding consistency. This recipe makes 3 servings of the amount of tart cherry juice needed to help with sleep.

Cherry Chia Pudding Bedtime Snack_PIN

About Renee:

Renee Kohley Renee is a wife and momma of 3, the vision behind Raising Generation Nourished, and the author of Nourished Beginnings, a cookbook focused on nutrient-dense recipes for infants, toddlers and beyond inspired by traditional foods. She is passionate about raising the next generation of kids with a better understanding where their food comes from, and how food affects their bodies. She is committed to teaching others that simple, real food can make positive changes in health and can be done on a tight budget, all while making the kids smile.

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