Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baby's Flavor Preferences Are Born With Them

There are many nutrition and pregnancy myths (or old wives' tales) out there. Have you ever heard any of these? You shouldn't eat nuts while pregnant so your child won't have food allergies... You should eat more meat if you want to have a boy and more veggies if you want to have a girl...

Whether results are merely anecdotal or actually have some truth, now there is some evidence that suggests that children's flavor preferences are actually born with them and can be shaped until the age of 3 to 4 months. So if we want to raise some healthy eaters, who are perhaps less picky and have less of a sweet tooth, we can get our kids to start off on the right foot by choosing healthy foods while we're pregnant.

This research also suggests that breast-feeding is preferable to formula-feeding and formula is preferable to bottles prepared with cow's milk when it comes to a widely varied palette. In the study, babies who were breastfed preferred more savory flavors, which in time develops into the flavors of vegetables, like broccoli, versus sweets. Babies who were given cow's milk were more likely to consume fewer savory flavors and lean more toward sweets.

Not only could this research blossom into valuable information for helping our children to eat as nutritionally as possible, it is also a step in the way of obesity prevention. Although we all enjoy sweet treats, it's important that they don't become a stable in our diets since consumption of high-fat, high-sugar treats can lead to excess calorie intake and displacement of healthier foods. If what mom is eating during pregnancy may start to influence baby even before birth, women have a unique advantage in helping their babies have a broad sense of taste for all types of foods. Breastfeeding is preferable (and cow's milk should be avoided until age 1) to help shape baby's flavor preferences during the first few months--a window of opportunity that may make staying healthy easier for the rest of their lives.

What's a healthy meal look like? Find out more here! If you are interested in more specific meal-planning strategies, no matter where you are in life, check out RDbyyourside.

Source: Food Navigator