What You Eat During Pregnancy Can Determine Your Baby's Tastebuds
Nutrition early on in a baby's life can determine the type of eater they will be later in life, that's why it's important to get it right. Helene is the founder of Ratatouïe, and a nutritional chef, working to provide pregnant women and new mums with nutritional food to help with breastfeeding, keeping energy levels up and baby food for those weaning days. Helene discussed how what you eat during pregnancy can influence your little one's tastebuds later in life.
It is never too early to start influencing the future eating behaviours of your little ones! In fact, your pregnancy is very much when to start. If you thought it was all down to genes, then think again and get eating.
You probably already know that variety and balance in your daily food intake are key to make the most out of your first 9 months with your little one (s). Your baby needs many nutrients to grow and develop nicely and you need just the same to stay strong and healthy during this demanding time. And this remains true for both of you throughout the rest of your lives. Variety and balance in what you eat provide your surest and easiest ticket to a healthful life.
Well! This very same variety and balance may also make your life a lot easier when around the table in a few years’ time. Why? Because the taste bud education of your baby very much starts when nestled in your tummy. From there, they are already able to detect the aromas and flavours of what you eat through the amniotic liquid. From the third trimester, not only are they able to detect them but also to memorise them1. Therefore, the more variety they get exposed to in there, the more likely it is they will accept them later on in life. And that means fewer mealtime battles you will have to endure.
Why? Because acceptance of a new flavour or taste often comes with exposure and repetition. While the sweet taste tends to be innate (and yes, research shows that from gestational week 20, your little one is indeed a happy camper when you indulge in a vanilla ice-cream, chocolate bar, or banoffie pie), the other ones - acidity and bitterness in particular, which define most of the green vegetables around - tend to be acquired. And the only way to learn how to accept them is through exposure and repetition. It can sometimes can take up to 20 attempts, but I promise you, it is all worth it.
So, truly, if you want your little ones to enjoy broccoli, kale, legumes, mackerel and sardines, tuck in right now. At the very least, tuck into all the healthy stuff that makes you happy and defines your current and future eating habits. If you don’t need to “eat for two” while pregnant, you should definitely try to eat the rainbow indeed... The rewards are multiple, and you will thank yourself later!
You can find out more about Helene and Ratatouïe, and have a look at some of the delicious mum & baby foods on the website.
1) B. Schaal, L. Marlier, R. Soussignan, “Human foetuses learn odours from their pregnant mother’s diet”, Chem. Senses vol. 25, 6, 2000, 729-737.
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