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Old 07-12-2012, 06:27 AM   #11
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

I love dessert. I was never forced to eat my whole meal before dessert as a child, and I won't force DS. (DH is different--he has a harder time letting go of control over the food thing).

At our house, DS does have to at least TRY the food on his plate. My concern has nothing to do with the dessert, but that he's going to be hungry later. So, basically our approach is not to mention dessert or eat any ourselves until we are satisfied that DS has eaten what he's going to eat.

Then, if we have something like cake or ice cream in the house, we may say "we are going to eat some cake, would you like a piece?" Usually he says yes, and we put a *very* small amount on his plate..... AT that point 9 times out of 10 DS is just ready to go play and he doesn't even EAT the dessert!! Playtime wins!

DS does like popsickles, which I will give him on occasion as a snack if he asks (especially in the heat we've been having), and I'll give him about 2 tablespoons of ice cream when he asks for it.

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:49 AM   #12
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

We rarely have dessert. It's a treat. So, generally speaking, it's a non-issue. However, I don't make my children clean their plate to get it, but they do have to eat most of what's on their plate and I don't serve them much. I hate wasting food and they can always ask for seconds. My husband is much more into "you must eat this to get that" than I am. But, he is also more into giving the dessert. If it is a special occasion, then they get it regardless of how they ate.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:00 AM   #13
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We don't do desserts here as in after dinner l. I will give them a cookie or something during the day like after nap etc. we do require everything on their plates to b tasted . They don't have to eat any amount beyond trying it. I do make sure that snacks have hidden veggies in them along with trying to do more protein than carbs so whatever is going into their mouths is at least semi healthy.

I don't believe in force feeding for dessert. However I don't believe in sweets like candy and such for kids either. I would rather they have fruit, homemade cookies, etc so even when they eat a cookie they are getting the things I hide in them.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:32 AM   #14
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We have it sporadically. If there are sweets, we eat them off and on throughout the day til they're gone. Then it may be a month or more before I buy more. I never even mention dessert, so it's not a treat hanging over their head.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:36 AM   #15
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

I generally don't start preparing dessert until after we eat dinner anyways. That gives my slow-eating 5yo plenty of time to eat enough dinner before dessert is ready and cooled off. That way she doesn't feel like it's something I'm hanging over her head.

That being said, our desserts are really wholesome, and I would have no problem letting dessert be dinner once in a while, if it came to that.

Thing is, I have struggled most of my life with eating disorders and it has been the one thing that I can never truly shake. So I don't really want to mess around with the kids' heads regarding food (not that anyone else is doing that, necessarily, but it's a particular issue of mine).

Also, there's a lot to be said for not eating large meals in the evening; people "should" be eating our large meals early in the day, for breakfast or lunch, so we have energy during the day when we need it. Not that I do that, mind you; I like my big dinners! But kids tend to follow their instincts much better than adults, and in that case; them eating a smaller amount of dinner and keeping room for a healthy dessert sounds okay to me.

ETA: I wouldn't be giving things like store bought sweets or candies for dessert, either. I might feel differently if that were the case.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by mrosehughes
My sister has instituted a 'no thank you bite' for every type of food she serves at dinner with her oldest (now 7), and I plan to do this with DS as well. They have to take one bite of each thing (particularly if its something they've never had before, or not in a while -- foods they repeatedly have said they don't like are excluded), then they're free to finish eating. We always offer a snack before bed as well, that sometimes includes 'dessert'. This at least addresses the issue of them eating nothing healthy; my nephew often says he isn't hungry then eats half his plate with 'no thank you' bites

I would probably just try to keep the sugary treats unavailable except for a few days per week, and then just make them a surprise dessert.
We do the "no thank you" bite as well.

Another idea I had is to allow him to eat however much dinner he does or does not want to eat, but he just has to sit at the table with his food in front of him until everyone is ready for their small dessert. That way he has a lot of time/opportunity to eat if he is hungry and then can have his treat at the end.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:02 AM   #17
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

My ds1 (5) has a terrible sweet tooth too. First I keep any treats in the house to a minimum. If he knows there is ice cream in the house he will ask for it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack, lol. We also have a very open dialoug about how our bodies react to the things we put in them. He is very into it. He knows all about protiens and amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber, ect. He wants to grow strong like daddy and have a healthy body and to do that we need to balance the not so great things with very good things.

ETA: we also do a no thank you bite but we call it a tasting bite. Most of the time once he tastes the food he will eat more. He is not required to eat it all but he is required to make good snack choices before bed if he chooses to not eat much. Oh and if anyone gets dessert everyone gets dessert. If the boys have not eaten well no one has any (at least not in plain sight, lol)
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:04 AM   #18
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

We do not have dessert every night. When we do my kids only get it if they have eaten a good dinner beforehand.

The catch is that at least half of what we are having for dinner is something I know they will eat, and I never mention dessrt beforehand. If they haven't eaten much dinner and ask for dessrt I will tell them no - "if you aren't hungry enough for dinner you don't need sweets". I don't consider it bribing. I never say "If you eat this you'll get candy" or anything like that. I feel like I am teaching them that you eat healthy stuff to fill up and sweets are just a fun bit at the end.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:28 AM   #19
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

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Originally Posted by EmilytheStrange View Post
But, I sorta agree with your husband on this. It shouldn't be a 'eat this and you'll be rewarded' type of deal. That devalues the good food and puts huge value on the dessert.
Emily usually writes what I'm thinking better than I can word it. I totally agree with what she wrote here.

My DS is only 2, but also has a huge sweet tooth. We don't do dessert as a reward for eating your dinner, I actually try to keep sweets out of the house (good luck with that, lol) but when we do have them, we let DS eat them as random snacks during the day, not associated with anything else. He gets sweets maybe once or twice a week.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:34 AM   #20
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Re: So how do you handle dessert?

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Originally Posted by Boheme View Post

Also, there's a lot to be said for not eating large meals in the evening; people "should" be eating our large meals early in the day, for breakfast or lunch, so we have energy during the day when we need it. Not that I do that, mind you; I like my big dinners! But kids tend to follow their instincts much better than adults, and in that case; them eating a smaller amount of dinner and keeping room for a healthy dessert sounds okay to me.

ETA: I wouldn't be giving things like store bought sweets or candies for dessert, either. I might feel differently if that were the case.
I agree here..I serve DS very small servings of dinner, so I have felt like requesting him to eat it shouldn't be overfeeding him. I am talking amounts of food the size of his palm! And the candy, I never buy...it's always left from Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and recently from the 4th of July parade. Most of it disappears after he eats some on that holiday, then I let him keep some pieces.
The only other sweets we have are occasional homemade cookies and homemade popscicles. And store bought ice cream in the summer.
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