I always get a lot of questions about meal time, and “…how many bites…before dessert.” Well, I have a few considerations. Most health professionals recommend that parents should avoid serving dessert every day.
When serving dessert they recommend that it be a healthy choice like fresh fruit or yogurt.
Children should NOT be coaxed into eating their dinner for dessert. Dessert should NOT be a reward.
If dessert is a healthy choice, then what I like to do is to put that fruit cup or yogurt on the table right at the start of the meal. I am sure you won’t be upset if your child eats his strawberries BEFORE his chicken. Secondly, remember children have small stomachs so they usually eat small amounts of food. They need to eat often, about every 3-4 hours. Give your child a variety of foods such as cereals, bread, fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, and lean meats. Offer water and milk for your child to drink. Avoid soda and fruit-flavored drinks. Don’t stress if your child isn’t eating a certain food group each meal; it balances out in the week. If your child is refusing a certain food group, fruits/vegetables for instance I recommend ‘concealing them in your cooking. You can put applesauce in muffins, and squash/cauliflower in mac and cheese. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife has 2 excellent cookbooks that I bought for my daughter-in-law to help with getting our grandsons to eat vegetables. They are great. Remember NEVER make food an issue that you fight over and discipline with.
Remember, Meal time should be one of the MOST enjoyable times of the day for the family.