TheBUZZ: Eating veggies while pregnant will help your child like them later on?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
If you want your kids to eat their veggies, start developing their taste preferences in the womb.
WHAT WE KNOW
According to our latest survey, many parents/guardians need help getting kids to eat their vegetables! Some parents are so worried their kids aren’t getting the proper nutrition they have resorted to sneaking fruits and vegetables into their favorite foods! Is this the answer?
Some taste and smell researchers have investigated where the desire for high-fat and sweetness began? Health professionals know that in the womb the baby is surrounded and nourished by the amniotic fluid that provides nutrients it receives from the mother’s diet. That fluid surrounding the baby is actually flavored by the food and beverages the mother has eaten in the last few hours, forming memories of these flavors even before birth. A new study reports that these memories may result in preferences for these foods or odors for a lifetime … including vegetables!
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A recent study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center
divided women into three (3) groups: one group drank carrot juice every day during pregnancy, the second group drank it every day during breastfeeding, and the third group avoided carrot juice completely. Then when their children began to eat solid food, researchers fed them cereal made with water or carrot juice and recorded the results. The study found that the babies who had experienced carrot in amniotic fluid (in the womb) or mother’s milk ate more of the carrot-flavored cereal.
A review of taste preferences published in Digestion found that some taste preferences and aversions (i.e. a liking for sweet or salty, or a dislike for bitter) which are mainly inherited, can be modified through early experiences with different flavors and types of food. Experiences with flavors that are bitter, sour, or sweet, occur through flavorings in breast milk, infant formula, and early foods. These early experiences mold long-term food and flavor preferences.*
This is just another reason to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies! Fruits and vegetables not only provide beneficial compounds (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.) to the fetus for optimal growth, they promote a lifetime of healthy eating, and help the mother to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to other complications!
Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant? Remember this …
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits & veggies to give your baby all the nutrients it needs
- It’s very important for all women, especially those who are trying to conceive, to have adequate iron and folate intake
Having trouble getting your kids to eat fruits & veggies? Try this …
*Beauchamp, G., J. Mennella. “Flavor Perception in Human Infants: Development and Functional Significance.” Digestion (2011); 83 Suppl 1; 1-6.