The One-Bite Practice: Teach Kids to Eat Veggies

Impossible? Not anymore!
From the hundreds of articles on parenting I have read, probably one of the most useful bits of information that I found most handy is the One Bite practice, which gradually teaches kids to be, well, more well-rounded eaters (thank you Reader's Digest).
I love vegetables and I can't help but feel just the teeniest bit sorry for people who don't like them at all. They seem to be missing a lot - we all know that veggies are good for the body and they give a unique, natural flavor to our favorite dishes. Naturally, I want my kids eating vegetables too and so far, I am satisfied that no blood and tears are shed whenever vegetables are served for dinner.

My seven-year-old loves eating vegetables and I rather see it as a kind of achievement (her dad isn't much of a fan, sadly; though he eats in moderation). She likes pechay, sayote, potatoes, carrots, kangkong, kamote, and even eats less kid-popular choices like garlic, radish, papaya, and onions. There are still some foods that she does not like much so we still apply the one-bite rule at the table today. Nonetheless, the method is quite effective with me and I'm sure it will work for you and your kids, too.

The concept is easy. You just ask (never force!) your child to take one bite of any food he or she would otherwise ignore. If for example the food served consists of different types of vegetables, I ask my daughter to take one bite of every kind of vegetable there is. After several tries, she now likes - even loves - most of them. If she really detests the food and refuses to take even one bite, we don't push it. Next time I cook the same food, I keep "suggesting" she try one bite, and so on, until she eventually gives in. If she wants to, we allow her to drink water right away after tasting. In any case, everyone's happy! 

Children develop a taste for specific foods over multiple exposure (try 15 to 20 times). Experts say that seeing the food on their plate and seeing the people they eat with eating that particular food is also a form of exposure and would likely result in kids eating vegetables. The one-bite rule should be applied with gentleness and understanding, of course. If parents make the mistake of "forcing" kids to taste or eat vegetables, children will develop greater tendency to be picky eaters or worse, view eating as a generally stressful activity. 

Feeding children can be a bit tricky. You need to be creative, plan, and in some cases such as obesity, consider dieting options. Furthermore, you need to be a healthy eater yourself and be a good example. Kids not eating vegetables will no longer be a cause for worry if you try the One Bite practice. It is simpler and surely makes more sense than "disguising" veggies before including them into your kids' food (i.e. vegetable purees). Tell us if you've tried the one-bite method in feeding children and whether you are happy with the results too.

Bon app├ętit!

Naomi, 27, is married six years to her husband, Gan, and is mom to seven-year-old Nini-pie. She spends most of her day in front of the computer, working as freelance copywriter. Apart from eating out with her family, she likes reading, art, watching suspense thriller films, football, going to the beach, tweeting, and cooking (although whether that last one likes her back is still subject to debate).

Image source: Photo 1 | Photo 2


Katerina Bon Vora said...

thats great! I love vegetables and fruits and my little boy sees me eating all these colorful things, surely he'll enjoy eating them too when he grows bigger. I think if parents eat and enjoy eating veg/fruit it wont be so hard to get their kids to enjoy eating them too. :)

N. said...

Hello there Kat!

That is true. My mom, too, had been very passionate about veggies and tomatoes and stuff. Never let me and my siblings rest until we wiped our plates clean. Haha, good times.

Thanks for dropping by! :)

AnneM said...

I love the one bite rule as well BUT my kid hasn't agreed to it yet :( Do you any tips on how to get him to?

N. said...

Hello Anne! :)

How old is your baby? I think we started with our little girl when she was about four or five. You somewhat have to make them see that it's just a bite; nothing to it, right? Instead of saying "Eat your vegetables" you just say "Okay, just take one bite of this and one bite of that and then you can eat however you please." Eventually it becomes a habit. When my daughter sees something on her plate that she doesn't like, she automatically tells me "Ma, just one bite..?" I guess they would have to be old enough to see that it's quite a fair deal.

Hope that helps. Keep us posted! ;)

AnneM said...

My son is 4 already. And I did try the one-bite rule a few more times and it worked :) I'm so glad I came across your blog. My son can be quite stubborn kasi, but I think he eventually warmed up to the idea of "trying".

Naomi said...

Hello Anne! Sorry for the super late reply. That is amazing. I'm glad it worked out well for you two. :) Cheers!

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