Did you know that eating a variety of foods and flavors during pregnancy and nursing can have an impact on what your child will enjoy eating? Even before you are feeding her solid foods, you can set the foundation for an interest in a healthy and varied diet. What this can mean is that as mothers, even while our babies are still in the womb, we can start to shape their food habits. This is another reason that focusing attention on your eating habits before and during pregnancy is so crucial to the health and development of your baby.
I recently read an article called Food, Folklore and Flavor Preference Development by Catherine A. Forestell and Julie A. Mennella in which they say that, “emerging evidence reveals that…food choices can be detected by the fetus and young infant because of flavor changes in amniotic fluid and mother’s milk.” I don’t know about you, but I think that this is fascinating.
Here are a few ways to nurture your baby and increase the chance of an interest in healthy and varied foods and spices:
- Eat a wide variety of foods – Your health will benefit from a variety of foods because you will get a wider variety of nutrients. By incorporating many different types of fruits, veggies, grains, and protein sources, you will introduce your baby to many different flavors, and prepare her to recognize and enjoy them when you introduce food to her. She will be more likely to have well balanced eating habits when she has been conditioned to recognize these flavors even before infancy.
- Try something new – This is perfect time to try new foods, because the introduction of them to your baby (either through amniotic fluid or breast milk) will increase the chance that they will express interest in them when you start them on solid foods. Remember that just because you didn’t like a food in the past doesn’t mean that’s still the case. This is also a great opportunity for you to discover new ways to get the nutrients that you need most for a healthy pregnancy.
- Spice it up! – Experiment with different spices so that your child will develop a flavorful palette. Especially great to include are spices that have health benefits like cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and turmeric to name a few. When your child is ready for solids, don’t be scared away from flavorful choices – you may be surprised by what he enjoys and it allows for the opportunity to keep his favorites fresh and exciting.
If you’re planning to conceive, what new foods are you going to experiment with and add to your diet? If you’re pregnant or nursing, how are you going to amp up the flavors you are sharing with your baby? If you’re already a mama, does this resonate with the experience you’ve had? I’d love to know your thoughts! Please share here in the comments or on Facebook.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,