The Next Food Network Star's "No Thank You Bite" Rule

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next food network star melissa d'arabianDid you watch the most recent season of The Next Food Network Star? I was totally pulling for stay-at-home mom of four, Melissa d'Arabian. And guess what? She won! Her new show, Ten Dollar Dinners, debuted on The Food Network this weekend.

Melissa not only has great ideas about how to feed a family of four for under $10; she also has some creative ways to get her four daughters—all under the age of 5—to eat new foods. How does she do it? Here, she tells about her family's "No Thank You Bite" rule.

What is the "No Thank You Bite" rule?

The "No Thank You Bite" rule is the answer to a problem I was having with my kids: I wanted them to eat vegetables and try new things. At the same time, I wanted them to have their own opinions and know that those opinions were respected. This is a good compromise. My kids are welcome to say they don't care for something as long as they have one bite. If they don't like it, that's fine, and I move on. For me this fits our family because I wanted my kids to be willing to try things. That was more important to me than having them stomach a huge thing of broccoli. For now this solution works really well for us. Charlotte, my 3-year-old, is really finicky. She automatically eats one bite of everything on her plate.

But what do you do if your kids say "No Thank You" to everything?

We have the rule, and I also have a limit for how long the food is on the table. We sit down, and when dinner is over, it's over. I will let people know if they are dilly-dallying and not eating that: if they want to eat, now is the time...I say to them, "Does that mean you are not hungry anymore? Breakfast is a long time away."

If they get up from the table, their plate goes away. Once in a while I'll keep that plate in the fridge. And if they are hungry later on, then I'll give them the plate. But I don't always do this because I don't want to send message that they can eat dinner now or later.

I also will make sure that each meal has something healthy that I know they like—like brown rice. That way I feel better because I know they won't go hungry. I also have a backup item that I allow them to have later on. For example, if they come to me and say they are really hungry, I tell them that I could get them a piece of whole grain toast. It's healthy enough that I don't mind them having it and good enough that they aren't going to hate it. But it's still not a reward.

Stay tuned later this week for Part 2 of our interview with Melissa!

Do you have a "No Thank You Bite" rule in your house?

food, picky eaters

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Proud... Proudmumof2

I have the same rule in my home, but we just call it the "One Bite Rule". The kids have to try at least one bite of everything on their plate. The advantage of this is we could give my son sweet peppers and mushrooms every day (not that we do) and he would say he hated them until he takes his "one bite" and then exclaims: I DO like them, Mommy. There has only been once that the kids took their one bite and didn't like it and in that case they didn't have to eat any more. I don't know many 3 and 4 year olds who like brussels sprouts, anyway! I was pulling for Melissa on the show, too, and I am so glad that she won! Way to go, Mom!

Jesse... JessecaLynn

We absolutely have a one bite rule.  I don't care if they don't want to eat something, or if they don't like it but they have to try it.

Cafe... Cafe MicheleZ

Congrats Melissa! I was rooting for you the whole time!


Great tips! Excited to watch the new show.

Lovep... Loveplusmama

We are trying the "no thank you bite" but our son is just 2 and I'm having trouble enforcing it. Is he still a bit young yet?


I do the same thing with meals tho- it's served, then it's gone. Or, in teh case of last night where he hardly ate anything, It went in the fridge and was offered later on when he wanted bite of daddy's treat. Well, we ended up compromising at fruit, which I was pleased with.

auror... aurorabunny

We do the no thank you bite thing too!

Curio... CuriousSarahM

Our "No Thank You Bite" is a little different. We have "Girl Scout Bites" and you have to take at least 3 of them from everything on your plate. (3 meat, 3 carb, 3 veggie is generally how it goes)


I also use toast as an alternitive if DD doesn't eat much dinner. I usually try to get her to eat it with peanut butter, but more often than not she'd rather have just a plain slice of bread.

Brade... Bradensmommy719

braden must at least try it. he isnt picky eater but i offer him just about everything when we eat. some things he loves and others he tries to drop under the table. as he gets bigger he will have to have a bite of at least everything i put out.

shiva... shivasgirl

my kids eat what I give them,  they must try one bite before they are allowed to say they dont like something, but if they dont eat it it they dont get something else....oh..and mt twins have loved brusselles sprouts since they were 9 months old

Saman... SamanthaAgain

Yep, we do the same thing.  Growing up with an incredibly picky little sister though, I have conditions for the one bite.  It has to be a real bite, not just dipping your fork in the food.  The whole bite has to go in your mouth, no licking it and saying it's yucky.  And you have to chew and swallow the whole bite.

Denve... Denversmommy

I've been trying this and was having a bit of trouble with my 2 1/2 year old ds. I feel guilty sometimes cause I work and sometimes don't get home til 710. But I'm gonna have to start it up again. I know he won't starve. He's just soo picky some days and will barely eat ALL day! Hopefully its just a phase!

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