If you’ve been wondering why your baby seems to have an aversion to the delicious fruit and vegetable concoctions you’ve been offering at meal times, new research says that babies are hardwired to crave foods containing sugar and salt, and it is through early exposure and persistence that fruit and veg will be accepted.
A series of studies conducted by Julie Mennella, a developmental biologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, have shown that what we eat during pregnancy can affect our baby’s taste for food.
But we knew this already, right? What we eat has an effect on our unborn baby. Yes, but Dr Mennella is not just saying that eating well during pregnancy will keep our baby healthy.
The Doctor’s research shows what we eat during pregnancy can dictate our baby’s food preferences when weaning. And… not only do babies learn about flavour in the womb through amniotic fluid but through breast milk as well.
In translation: we can condition our children to eat in a healthy and unfussy manner if we eat a mass of fruit and veg during pregnancy and breast feeding. – It’s great news, mums!
And don’t despair if you’ve gone the bottle feeding route. Baby is totally capable of learning during weaning; expose your little one to fruit and vegetables as early as possible and be persistent!
Dr Mennella says that children should be given “repeated opportunities to taste these foods so they can grow to learn to like its tastes.”
My two daughters (aged one and three) are great eaters, and I am super proud of this fact. How did I do it? Persistence. I stuck to my guns and insisted that my girls eat what they were given. There were some battles, especially with my now three-year-old, but neither of my girls are fussy eaters and they eat a healthy, balanced diet. If there’s something that they don’t really like, they’ll eat it anyway because they know it is expected of them.
Whatever your food values, it’s helpful to know that we can help our children along the healthy eating route merely by eating healthy meals ourselves.
How do you get your children to eat their fruit and vegetables – any handy tips?