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The One Bite Rule

Posted Jun 10 2009 12:18am

I had to laugh a little at my husband last night. I was laughing with him. (I think anyway.) I made cabbage soup for dinner last night. Tim took a couple bites, and then with a surprised look says, "This is really good."

To appreciate this you have to understand that when we got married there were a long list of foods that Tim did not like, and a good sized list of things he had never tried. The classic family story to attest to this happened when we were dating.  We went to a nice seafood restaurant for lunch one day. Tim ordered a hamburger. He had never tried seafood. 

Luckily for me, he is a pretty easy going and adventurous guy. I kept cooking a wide variety of food, and he kept trying them. Fourteen years later, the list of foods he does not like, or has not tried has dwindled considerably. Some things on that list he would even say he now likes such as coleslaw, seafood, and peas. 

Not all husbands are so accommodating, but the point here is that tastes change and the taste for some food items comes over time. Even if your husband is set in his ways, your children do not have to be. One technique that we've used to try to keep our kids from becoming picky eaters is the one bite rule. 

It is very simple really. Everyone gets a serving of every dish that is served for dinner. They do not have to clean their plate, but they do have to try one bite of everything they have been served. Occasionally a child will dig in their heals and resist trying an item, but after you hold your ground a time or two, they do try their one bite with out much fuss. 

It works too. Tomatoes are a food that many kids (not to mention adults) are not fond of. When my now ten year old was younger, he did not like them. We continued to serve them to him, and asked him only to take one bite. After a time of doing this, one day we served him a salad without any tomato. He looked at us and asked, "Where is my tomato?" I can't say that he loves tomatoes now, but he does like them in salad and on sandwiches. 

Introducing our children to a wide variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables, helps to develop healthy eating patterns. It also helps us, as moms, to be able to cook meals the whole family enjoys without worrying about catering to a house full of picky eaters. The one bite rule works for me
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