When we have children, we all know they will have dessert with dinner. They have it at the family barbecue, they get it at birthday parties and they are lucky enough to have it on special occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving. The problem is that just like most other people, we don’t always feel like having dessert with dinner.

We either want something more healthy or just fewer calories. But it’s important to let them enjoy their dessert with dinner in some way because it can help them learn about moderation as well as management of their food intake later on. 

Here are five excellent reasons to give your children dessert with dinner. You may even find it is better for them as well as your waistline!

It Creates a Level Playing Field For All Food

Serving dessert after dinner might create rules or a contradiction between particular dishes. This can also lead to a child eating for reasons other than how her body is telling her. 

We frequently observe children overeat over time when dessert is served after meals rather than as part of the meal. Your child will actually have more self-control if you let them have dessert with meals.

Children are less likely to perceive food as belonging to a hierarchy or being divided into good and bad when foods, including desserts, are served to them all at once. Furthermore, a child does not feel as though they must finish dinner before they can have dessert.

Kids are better able to listen to what their bodies need rather than eating when they are not hungry if certain foods, like sweets, aren’t put on a pedestal. 

It Teaches Them to Learn to Listen to Their Bodies Instead of External Food Standards

There are usually some conditions associated when sweets are saved for after meals rather than given with other foods. Sayings like, “You have to eat your vegetables if you’d like your dessert,” or “No eating dessert until you’ve finished what’s on your plate,” may be used to bribe children to finish their food.

Even while it has the best of intentions, this discourse may unintentionally teach kids that they shouldn’t trust their bodies. When there are restrictions on food, children begin to distrust their bodies, making it easier for them to ignore their natural hunger and fullness signs.

When dessert is served with dinner, a child has the freedom to choose what to eat based on what is available on their plates rather than being constrained by norms about what they should or shouldn’t consume.

It Promotes Self-Control

Children are better able to self-regulate the amount (and kinds of food) that are healthy for their bodies when desserts aren’t regarded as a treat and they regularly get the chance to eat a range of foods within the context of organized meals and snacks.

It’s a terrific idea to model this at the family dinner table and to encourage kids to try new dishes. When desserts are served with meals, children can develop the self-control necessary to eat only what feels right for their bodies.

Depending on the child, this could entail anything from nibbling on a dessert before tasting the other meals on the plate to devouring the entire dessert with no interest in the other foods.

As long as we provide them TRUST and safe options, they can be encouraged to self-regulate how much of what we offer them they consume.

It May Lessen a Preoccupation and Obsession With Sweets

If your child has ever seemed fascinated with desserts and sweets, it may be because he hasn’t had enough exposure to them or because sweets are only offered on special occasions.

Again, by serving dessert with meals, you are not only boosting exposure but also presenting sweets more neutrally. Desserts become more “special” in the minds of children when they are only served after meals or on rare occasions.

Desserts may become even more alluring to a child when they feel deprived, which may enhance their obsession with sweets. It is less of a huge deal to your child when you include it in a meal and don’t make a big issue of it. This might lessen the obsession with these foods. 

It Encourages a Healthy Feeding Relationship for Both the Child and the Parent

Feeding children is an aspect of parenting and a significant chance for building the trust of your child through food interactions.

Focusing on your roles in feeding and having faith in your child to fulfill her part in eating are both important components of developing trust with your child.

Serving desserts with meals is a terrific method to practice this because you’re offering your child food (your role with feeding) and enabling her to select which foods she would like to eat and the amount she wants to eat from what you’ve given (her jobs).

We create power struggles and issues in the feeding interactions between parents and children when we attempt to handle our children’s eating tasks for them by trying to control their intake or dictating to them what they should or shouldn’t eat. You can foster a positive relationship with food and body image by developing trust with your child.

How to Serve Desserts with Dinner

Artisan Sourdough Baguette - Enjoy the crunch of artisanal bread from Wave The Grain.

Let’s discuss the specifics of how you might put this into practice now that you understand WHY giving your child dessert with meals is advantageous. And believe me, it’s not that difficult at all. Take your favorite desserts and offer them to your children among the other items you’re having for supper.

To teach your child to self-regulate his or her eating and determine how much of each food feels best in his or her body, you must remain consistent with this method. 

Avoid interfering with your child’s choice of food from the items you’ve offered. This is another crucial element. This implies that you must give your child permission to consume her dessert if she chooses to do so first.

Most essential, you must TRUST your child to eat the food you have prepared for them, especially dessert.  It is crucial to foster in your kid a happy, healthy relationship with all types of food.

It’s normal if your perception of your child’s eating habits differs significantly from how they actually eat. Your child can flourish and develop self-confidence if you let go of your expectations.

As you can see, serving sweets with meals is only one half of the puzzle. The second side of the equation is trusting your child to eat in a way that is optimal for her body. Remember that this isn’t about right and wrong, but about listening to your child and determining what they may require to feel confident with food and their body.

If your child has Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s crucial to offer them desserts that fit into their diet. For gluten-free desserts in the Denver metro area, visit Wave the Grain today located at 8172 South Holly Street Centennial, CO 80122, or call us at 303-721-7547.