If most of my child’s diet is well rounded, does it matter that he has a rewarding dessert here and there? After all, he’s a kid!

Dessert is A-OK, but rewarding kids with food is not. For something sweet, try fresh summer berries!

I’m all about dessert, especially homemade sweets, but not with the “reward” word attached to it.  Rewards for good behavior, school grades, etc. should not be linked to food, but rather to a new book or a privilege at home, like extra playtime.   There is a growing body of evidence that links food rewards to obesity because the type of foods given as rewards are usually high sugar, high fat, low nutritional value items.  I’ve never seen a child receive an apple as a food reward.  So, we are associating unhealthy foods with great behavior that we want to see more of… a recipe for disaster down the road.

After dinner, for a little something sweet, a square of dark chocolate and fresh fruit or berries or frozen yogurt with fruit toppings get thumbs up from kids and parents at HealthBarn USA!

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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