What about Dessert?
Parents are responsible for the what, when and where of eating. The child is responsible for the how much and whether of eating.
One mum was at a loss as to what to do about dessert. Previously, she would reward her children with dessert IF they finished off their vegetables. She admits that often times she would still give dessert even if the veggies weren’t touched. This past week she has tried a few new foods and offered them without apology or dangling rewards. She let the kids know it was up to them how much they ate, BUT, this was dinner and there was no more food until breakfast.
The children ate parts of the meal and left others and then demanded dessert as they were so accustomed. She was concerned they were still hungry but wasn’t sure where dessert fit in to this plan.
My suggestion would be to make dessert a part of the nutritious meal. The good news is YOU get to decide the menu. Preparing a healthy dessert that is always available is a great way to get around the “dessert battlefield”. You will never have another argument about whether your children deserve dessert. Imagine that.
They can always have dessert as you have planned and prepared it and it forms a part of the dinner meal. For example, a bowl of mixed berries with natural yogurt and a teaspoon of honey is a fantastic way to boost your child’s daily nutrient and fibre intake as well as provide a note of sweetness that they may desire.
One word of caution – try not to use dessert to fill all the gaps that were left at dinner. If the child knows he will receive a massive bowl of fruit and yogurt or another form of dessert, then this will prevent him trying new dinner foods when he is hungry. Aim to provide a moderate portion of a nutritious dessert after dinner and if the kids want it, great; if not, no problem. Of course pies, brownies and cookies can also be given for dessert now and again. However, the one exception to the rule is that parents will dictate the portion size but the child can still decide whether he wants to eat it or not.
Some suggested healthy desserts:
Now that summer is (almost) upon us, fresh local fruit is a great way to enjoy dessert.
- Peaches (or strawberries) and cream
- Stewed cherries with ricotta and slivered almonds
- Nothing says fun like fruit on a stick
- Grilled mango or pineapple.
- Change up your regular serving of fruit by gently grilling it on the bbq or indoor grill pan. The flavours intensify and these tropical fruits feel like a real treat.
Traditional crumble is always a favourite. This version is low in added sugar but will still delight your kids.
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen fruit
1 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3 tablespoons chopped almonds
3 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter – melted
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine fruit with sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons flour and orange juice. Divide between two 6- ounce ovenproof ramekins. Combine oats, almonds, brown sugar, the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons flour and cinnamon. Drizzle with melted butter and stir to combine. Sprinkle over the fruit mixture. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden.