The ‘No Thank You Bite:’ Should caregivers use this tactic?

Print Article

The “No Thank You Bite” is a term used to describe the practice caregivers use with young children to take one bite of a food before they allow children to not eat a food. This practice is commonly seen in parents who have children who are thought to be picky eaters or who have food neophobia. Food neophobia is defined as a fear of trying new foods whereas picky eating is the refusal to eat new or even familiar foods.

Food neophobia is thought to be a survival instinct to avoid harmful foods in prehistoric time periods. Regardless of whether a child has food neophobia or is refusing to eat certain foods, the behavior can be difficult to deal with as a parent. Forcing the child to eat the food or at least take one bite has been one of the top reactions of caregivers to get their kids to eat. Other frequently used methods include using rewards, child control, and consequences, all of which are not recommended feeding practices.

A retrospective study with college-age students looked at the impact of events where the students were forced to eat. The top three feelings that the students mentioned experiencing was feeling a lack of control, a betrayal of trust, and helplessness. The majority of the students in the study still avoid the food they had the negative experience with due to being forced to eat it as a child. These results indicate the practice of the “no thank you bite” could leave lasting negative impressions on a child.

So what is the solution to make sure children are eating a variety of foods? Rather than using the “no thank you bite” tactic, caregivers can increase the exposure of the food by offering previously rejected foods multiple times. Caregivers should model the desired eating behavior of a variety of foods as well. To ease children’s discomfort with less preferred foods, make the previously rejected foods available along with food the child already likes. Adult behaviors have a large impact on children’s food preference development, therefore it is wise for caregivers to refrain from showing dislike or talking negatively about a food. Another strategy is allowing the child to serve their own portion at the table which can help the child feel more engaged and in control of what he/she is eating.

Children are in the process of developing their food preferences and caregivers can help or hinder this process. Instead of pressuring a child to try a food and making him or her take a “no thank you bite,” use positive practices that support a child. Continue to serve new foods and foods previously rejected to best encourage their consumption. Don’t give up. It can take multiple attempts for children to try a food and they may find that they like it!

•••

Garcia is a senior in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Idaho.

Print Article

Read More Healthy Community

GEORGE BALLING: With most sincere thanks

November 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT Our shop, the dinner party, has been open now for nearly 10 years, actually next month on Dec. 17 is the big anniversary. Since Mary and I moved to the area, for her it was moving hom...

Comments

Read More

HOLLY CARLING: The sugar path

November 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT Whenever we hear about blood sugar challenges we think of sugar consumption, cravings and feeling deprived if we are told we cannot keep consuming it. Or, we think of the disease aspe...

Comments

Read More

WAYNE M. FICHTER JR.: Arthritis pain and what chiropractic can do

November 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT According to the Centers for disease Control, just in the United States alone, 23 percent of all adults, or over 54 million people, have some form of arthritis. The term arthritis ref...

Comments

Read More

DR. DONALD JOHNSON: Sleep problems: They kill your sex life and can lead to divorce

November 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Coeur d'Alene Press PAID CONTENT Sleeping — the most important part of your 24-hour day. It helps restore and maintain our body’s systems — immune, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain ment...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X