If you’re like most caring parents, you’ve wondered how to get your child to try new foods in order to keep them healthy. Many dietitians, nurses, and pediatricians have found that picky eaters can be won over to new and interesting foods by employing a trick of the parenting trade called the “one-bite rule.” It’s as simple as the name implies: you simply require that your child only try one bite of a new food that you introduce at a meal.
Don’t blitz them with tangy foods or mixed dishes. Keep things simple and introduce one food at a time. You’ll be the most successful if you introduce new foods on days when your kids are the most hungry, so plan ahead and engineer their hunger. More specifically, omit snacking during the afternoon between lunch and dinner for best results.
How to Get Your Child to Try New Foods
Everyone has likes and dislikes, even adults. So, make your one-bite rule into a positive rather than a negative. No use having all out war over a bite of broccoli, but of course, you must establish yourself as the parent in charge!
One-bite Rule Tips:
- Encourage exploration – Let your child know that it’s okay to not like something, but that it’s also important to try new foods to see what he or she may like or dislike.
- Positive reinforcement – Reinforce cooperative behavior and give lots of praise to your child for trying new foods. It’s usually less of a hassle to persuade children to only take one bite; however, if you have a particularly strong-willed child who doesn’t want to cooperate, you can easily withhold non-essential snacks between meals to encourage further cooperation.
- Be an example – Make sure you are following the one-bite rule yourself. If you don’t like something, say so and then explain your reasons. This sets a good model for your children. In its simplest terms, the one-bite rule just means everyone in the family needs to try at least one bite of a new food. And that includes parents.
- Allow your child to decide – If your child doesn’t want more, accept the decision. You have won the battle if he or she takes only one bite. Many times, this will result in developing a taste for certain foods over time.
- Make it a game – Let your kid pick out a new vegetable at the store to try. You may not even like it, but you will abide by the one-bite rule, too. This will often delight a youngster to know that you must try whatever is chosen. Plus, your family might end up liking some new, strange, really healthy fruit or vegetable.
Teaching children to try new foods is important in making sure they eat healthy in the short-term and develop good habits for the long-term.
After you’ve established the one-bite rule in your household over a few weeks, your family will begin to expect this simple meal requirement more cheerfully. And remember, be a good example, even if you have to hold your nose and swallow!