Feeding Grandchildren Dessert First Is Good Science For Grandma and Now A Scientific Study Confirms it is Good for All of Us

CreamCupcakesWhen our eldest daughter told us she was pregnant, I attended a conference where there were many friends and acquaintances who were already grandparents.  I asked each for what I called “grandma lessons.”  Once of the first and best was to feed grandchildren dessert first.  After all, spoiling grandchildren is a requirement for being a grandma, I was told.

I have followed this advice for almost sixteen years now and it is sound and successful advice.

When the parents balked, I found “dibs,” bite sized frozen vanilla ice cream, with a crispy, chocolate coating.  They were okay with one dib.  So were the grandchildren.  When they were not looking, I would slip in a few more of the dibs.  Other times, we make one of the quick and easy desserts that you will find in the “Meals and Recipes” section of the blog website, and eat one of something before a meal.

One of this Grandma’s favorite easy dessert recipes is Grandma’s Cupcakes in Cones.

What I have scientifically discovered from over a decade of serving grandchildren “dessert first” is that the grandchildren eat more of their meal!  Most finish everything on their plates when this Grandma gives them the treat of desert first.  See a post from 2012 where one of the mothers of our grandchildren noticed this and wanted to steal the idea to use.I objected of course.  This is a grandma thing, and you are welcome to adopt this grandma lesson for yourself.

Fast forward to 2019.  Time Magazine reported March 11, 2019 about a University of Arizona study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, on adults eating dessert first.

As a matter of fact, the study was on eating high calorie desserts first.  High calorie and low calorie desserts were served first on a buffet line, from which the adults could choose.  The study found that those who chose the high calorie dessert first then picked a healthier main course and healthier side dishes to make up for their high calorie dessert.  Conversely, those who picked a healthy fruit dessert picked a higher calorie main course and higher calorie side dishes!

How many calories were saved by choosing and eating a high calorie dessert first in the meal according to this University of Arizona study?

Those who chose and ate a high calorie dessert first consumed an average of 30 percent fewer calories (including the dessert) than those who picked the healthier dessert first.

30% savings in calories is nothing to sneeze at and is solid and valid reason for us to serve our grandchildren dessert first.  I, for one, intend to refer to this study if I get any flack about serving grandchildren dessert first.

The study recommended that restaurant and cafeteria buffets put desserts first.  Now, when we serve holiday dinners, we can encourage sampling the high calorie desserts first.  Let’s see if all of the roasted vegetables get eaten then.

Wow!  We grandmas are surely ahead of our time.  Now we know that not only should we feed our grandchildren dessert first, we too should indulge in dessert first.  The only difference is a “three bite rule” taught to me by a dear friend.  If we are intentionally dieting, eat three bites of a high calorie dessert first, or three French fries, if that is what you crave, rather than the entire high calorie dessert.

Satisfying a sweet tooth has a sweet surprise ending.







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