Sometimes I swear Ensen and Avery only eat dinner to get to dessert. Some nights it's all they talk about while they eat their meals. I'm not going to lie and say I don't enjoy ice cream or a piece of pie every now and then, but, somehow, dessert has become something that is expected every night in our household. It's become part of our routine . . . dinner, homework, dessert, brush teeth and bed. I have a sneaking suspicion that Kelly and I have had something to do with this.
Thankfully, our children have come to accept our loose definition of dessert and, as far as they are concerned, if a treat is served after dinner, my children are happy.
With that revelation, we've introduced many goodies that seem to satisfy their sweet and savory teeth and our desire to ensure their good health.
Here's a sampling of sweet treats we enjoy often:
- Fresh Fruits. Our kids love a nice bowl of fruit, especially strawberries, grapes, apples, tangerines, bananas, honeydew melon and cantaloupe. Nothing fancy, just fresh, cut fruits loaded with vitamins, nutrients and natural sweetness.
- Yoplait Go-Gurt. From a young age, both Ensen and Avery have enjoyed eating yogurt. Today, that trend continues and, for ease and convenience, we’ve started buying Go-Gurt in the ready-to-eat tube. We suggest freezing them and turning them into “yogurt pops” (think Otter Pops) for an ice-cold, refreshing treat and a good source of dairy.
- Homemade Ice Pops. Speaking of ice pops, we received a Zoku ice pop maker as a gift, which enables you to make homemade frozen treats in a matter of minutes. Using our blender, we take fresh fruit, such as strawberries, and puree them into a smooth consistency. Then, we pour the blended fruit into the Zoku and, in 10 minutes, the kids enjoy fresh fruit ice pops with no additives or preservatives. Note: A Zoku isn’t necessary, regular ice pops molds and a little extra freezing time will do.
- Smoothies. Using the same blender, we’ll take whatever fresh fruit we have on hand, add a little ice and milk, and blend to make fresh smoothies. This provides another technique, texture and way to keep the kids happy. You control the flavor, calories and nutrients that go into this yummy treat.
- Kale Chips. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know our family loves kale chips, which also double as dessert treats for the kids. The process of making the chips together, anticipating them warm and crisp out of the oven, with a touch of sea salt, proves that even savory snacks make great desserts.
- Ice Cream. Probably the guiltiest pleasure on our list. We don’t have ice cream in our freezer often, but, when we do, it is the most requested option. We keep portion sizes reasonable and we don’t offer toppings, which tend to add extra sugar.
These are just a few of the ways Kelly and I balance sweet treats and good health. I'd love to hear how your family enjoys dessert without guilt.
Excuse me while I enjoy my delicious, homemade, all-natural ice pop ;-)
Nathan Kam is a Honolulu public-relations executive, husband and a proud daddy of two incredible kids, Ensen (5) and Avery (2), who enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling, blogging and golfing. You can reach him via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or via his personal Kam Family Blog.