The concept of dessert did not exist at our dinner table until Izzy was about three. Before that, we would have "dessert before dinner" because we often had ice cream in the late afternoon. Since I did not usually eat dessert til after dinner it was never an issue. I also do not keep cookies or other dessert-type snacks available. We usually have cookies or cake when we bake them or when I buy them from a special place.
I am not quite sure when the idea began to emerge but at one point I started giving Izzy some chocolate morsels with chopped prunes after dinner. When he would finish his dinner he would say, "It's time for bebert." He knows that if he does not eat enough of his dinner, he can't have his dessert. If he requests dessert before he has eaten enough I will tell him he needs to eat more because if he has room for dessert than he certainly has room for the foods that help his body grow. Often he will eat his dessert and then finish more dinner at home. This doesn't work at restaurants though because the servers will take his plate away before they bring the dessert. So I must insist he eat just a bit more before we order dessert. I have found that this rule helps Izzy eat more of his dinner and also sample more foods.
Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time
Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).