Ask the expert ... Susie Bur el
I have a constant battle with my kids about dessert. Am I setting up an unhealthy habit by ending their meal with something sweet? Melanie J, via Facebook
The choice of whether to include dessert occasionally or every night is one for every family to make. But including it nightly can get children into a habit of eating even when they are not hungry, just because something appealing is on offer. It can also prime a lifelong habit to seek out sweet foods whenever we fi nish a meal.
Eating high-calorie sweet foods at night is associated with weight gain over time and is not great for dental health. If you have nightly dessert, offer calorie-controlled, healthy options including plain yoghurt and fruit, a warm milk drink, frozen homemade yoghurt ice blocks, or sugar-free ice blocks. Theres also cheese, nuts or plain crackers with nut spread.
Treat-style desserts should be consumed at most 1–2 times each week — and make sure your little ones brush their teeth before bed.
Plus, if there are foods youd rather your kids were eating less of, try not to keep them in the house. Out of sight, out of mind!