I love a good dessert, and I am all about indulging now and then. But, I recently came across some new information about desserts that has radically changed things for me as a woman and a mom. I bet you are going to feel the same way.
Have you ever found yourself forcing your way through a meal just because you are anxious to get to the dessert? Have you ever told your kid they had to eat all that is on their plate before they get dessert? Have you ever treated dessert like a prize?
Guess what? When you view dessert this way, you run the risk over actually overeating (or making your kids overeat). When you stop forcing yourself to say “no” to sweets, you will be surprised to find you don’t binge eat the way you did before. It’s true!
Eat Like a European
Did you know that it is common to start your meal with a pastry or tart in European countries? Since Europeans are not quite as obese as Americans, this is an interesting tidbit. They treat desserts differently than we do.
Stop Treating Dessert Like a Reward
What would happen if you stopped treated dessert like a reward and treated it more like a normal part of a balanced diet? When we treat desserts like an indulgence, it makes it easier to overindulge. Think about it. We always want more of the things we aren’t supposed to have. If we took the danger out of desserts, maybe we wouldn’t allow them to put us in the danger zone.
Even Science Agrees
The American Psychological Association has studied it, and even they say eat dessert first! In their report aptly titled If I Indulge First, I Will Eat Less Overall: The Unexpected Interaction Effect of Indulgence and Presentation Order on Consumption, they found that individuals who started their meal with their highest-calorie dish first tend to eat less calories overall.
From the report: “The results of four experiments consistently showed that when the first item in a sequence is indulgent, individuals subsequently choose healthier foods and consume fewer calories.” It makes sense to me. If I choose to begin with a dessert, I will likely not stuff myself with other high-calorie foods after.
Moderation is Key
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz
Like all things in life, moderation is key. While Europeans and scientists may agree that dessert comes first, I don’t think it means dessert comes first at every meal. Or that every dessert should be super indulgent. Some desserts are better than others.
Ultimately, the key is to let go of dessert guilt. When you eat what you want when you want it, you are less likely to overindulge. By taking away the prize of dessert and treating it like a regular part of a balanced diet, we are less likely to feel like we “need” a dessert to satisfy us.
What do you think? Are desserts worth it?