Free Resource Sheets to Teach Healthy Eating Habits


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Why I Say "No Thank You" to the "No Thank You" Bite

I love the logic, but, come on, let's lose the language.

I get the logic behind the "No Thank You" Bite.

It tells kids, up front, that all you're asking them to do is take one, tiny taste. Then, if they don't like the bite, they can say, "No Thank You."

The No Thank You Bite gives kids a sense of safety

  • Hey, they're not asking me to actually eat that stuff.
  • Taking a single bite isn't a big deal. I can do that.
  • For once my parents are being reasonable

Giving kids an out is a great idea.  Less pressure almost always means more success.  That's the idea behind The Happy Bite.

The "No Thank You" Bite also teaches kids to be polite (and I'm all for that).   No Thank You is way better than:

  • Yuck!
  • Gross!
  • How Could You?

On the other hand, do you really want to prime your kids to reject the food you're offering?

What kids think about while they eat matters as much as what the food tastes like.  

Set your kids up to say, "No Thank You," and they'll say "No Thank You," more often than "Yes Please!"

Read Mind over Matter.

Instead of the "No Thank You" Bite ask: "Taste it and tell me what you think."

Taste it and tell me what you think is a neutral prompt.

For added power, ask a question: 

  • Is it squishy like the yogurt you love?
  • It is as sweet as the cupcake you ate yesterday?
  • Does it smell like your brother's dirty diaper?

Silly works. Serious works. Anything that gets the conversation going works. The No Thank You Bite is "Do you like it?" in disguise.  That question invites a straight up/down vote: I like it or I don't like it. The reality is much more nuanced.

Read Teaching Your Way Out of a Picky Eating Problem with Sensory Education

Give your kids lots of information before they go in for the taste.

Children build up an idea of what food should look like, feel like and taste like.  Then, they check to make sure that the food you serve up matches the ideal they’re carrying around in their heads. The more your kids know before they taste, the easier (and less frightening) tasting will get.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

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Reader Comments (3)

Like this one! We do lots of licking at our house. DD (3) will sniff or lick almost anything. That often will lead to a taste. Even if she won't taste, we at least get to talk about it.

November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

It has never occured to me to have them take a bite and say no thank you. Usually when they try a bite we can tell by how they are chewing if they don't like it and ask them what they thought of it.

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterC.J.

C.J. and Heather: Seems like you both don't have problems getting your kids to taste foods. That's terrific. And Heather, you're right: talking about the food is the key.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.


December 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterDina Rose

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