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You've probably heard of the One-Bite Rule. Maybe your mom followed it. "Eat just one bite!" she may have said as she handed you a plate of strange green glop.
The One-Bite Rule says that a kid should eat just one bite of a new food.
This rule has a lot of merit. If a child tastes a new food about a dozen times, he will probably like it. The One-Bite Rule may encourage a fussy eater to take that first step.
Downfalls of the One-Bite Rule
There are a few problems with the One-Bite Rule.
- Your child may feel like he is being forced to eat a food that is repulsive to him. Being forced to eat a food makes a child less likely to eat it, not more likely.
- You may get angry with your child if he doesn't follow the One-Bite Rule. Your child will then associate the food (and eating in general) with stress. This will make him like the food less, and possibly become more of a picky eater in general.
Your Child Learns to Like a Food Just By Looking at It
It may seem strange, but your child is learning to like a food just by having it sit on his plate. How is this possible?
- Eating is more than just taste. Children may not like the smell or look of a new food. As the pile of green goop sits there, it becomes more familiar to your child, and therefore less scary.
- Your child is watching you eat the food. The primitive parts of his brain are taking note of the fact that you don't seem to be falling down dead. Baby mammals are programmed to eat the same foods as their parents. Your child is learning to like the food just by watching you eat it.
The One-Bite Suggestion
The One-Bite Rule has its merits. But it should be delivered with a gentle hand. I call it the One-Bite Suggestion.
When you give your fussy eater a new food, suggest that he try a forkful. If he refuses, let it be. You want the control to be on your child's side, not yours.
You might want to casually explain to him that most people don't like a food the first time they try it. With repetition, it tastes better.
The One-Bite Suggestion will help your child become less of a picky eater and make mealtime a happier time.
Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on amazon.com.
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