Dessert is magical.
- Used the wrong way, dessert can make kids eat more dinner. Want to know why this is wrong? Read Wheelin’ & Dealin’: 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Trade Peas For Pie.
- Used the right way, dessert can transform how your kid eats. Read Dishing Up Dessert.
In order to get dessert working for you, you’ve got to take it down a peg or two. In most homes, dessert has way too much power.
Kids want dessert. And, knowing this:
- If you are parenting a picky eater, you probably use dessert to pressure your kids to eat more than than they want.
- If you are parenting an overeater, you probably try to restrict your child’s access to dessert.
Research shows that pressure and restriction are parenting strategies that don’t work.
You don’t have to ditch dessert. Just neutralize it.
- Serve dessert every night. Read Dessert: How I LOVE Thee.
- Establish the rule that everyone who wants dessert gets it—no matter how well they’ve eaten.
- If dessert has a lot of power in your home, consider serving it at the same time as the main meal.
And then…change what you serve for dessert.
Serve fruit, yogurt, cheese or other healthy foods for dessert most nights, and sweet desserts only occasionally.
Need some ideas? You don’t have to serve fruit straight-up.
You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, or a dusting of powdered sugar to fresh fruit such as bananas, kiwi, oranges, cantaloupe, grapes, apples, mango, pear, cherries, blueberries…
Got a little more energy?
- Grilled Pineapple
- Mixed Berry Salad with Mint
- Vanilla-Roasted Peaches with Raspberries
- Broiled Plums with Marscapone Cream
- Mango-Lime Rocotta Parfaits
- Fresh Papaya with Coconut-Lime Yogurt
- Baked Apples
- Roasted Fruit
- Blueberries with Maple Whipped Cream
- Apricot Fig Compote
- Carmelized Pears
- Carmelized Apples with Fresh Rosemary
- Orange Sections with Mint Leaves & Honey
- Carmelized Pineapple with Honey and Yogurt
- Mixed Berries, Apples and Bananas
- Puree of Apples and Blackcurrents
Many of these ideas came from Martha Stewart.com, others came from one of my favorite family cookbooks, Chef Bobo’s Good Food Cookbook. (Every recipe in this book is a winner with kids—even the cauliflower soup. I kid you not.)
Want some ideas for serving yogurt? Read The Magic of Yogurt.
Change what you serve for dessert and you’ll change how you and your kids interact around dinner.
You might even change how you interact during the course of the entire day. Less stress. More success.
There are so many kinds of fruit that you could have something different every night for a month. If you’re willing to cook the fruit, you’ll be able to offer variety every night for 2 months (or more).
But, if your kids do get bored with fruit dessert, consider your strategy a success—it’s a sign that you’ve neutralized the biggest bully on the block.
And, it’s a sign that you’ve taught your kids the habits they’ll need for a lifetime of healthy eating.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~