“My Kids Just Refuse to Eat Healthy Foods.”
You may have heard this uttered in desperation by many mothers. Thankfully, I have never had to say it, and hopefully after reading this, you won’t either. In my last post, we learned that what you eat can affect your child’s metabolic health forever, but did you know that it can also affect the baby’s future food choices as well? It turns out whether he or she chooses cheesy puffs or an apple has a lot do you with your diet while pregnant.
YOU Determine What Your Child Will Eat in the Future
Since the epigenetic process continues after birth, your pregnancy diet can promote or discourage overeating in your children. Your pregnancy diet also determines whether or not your children have a greater preference for junk food or whole food all the way into their adulthood. While pregnant, your fetus experiences flavors from you as amniotic fluid is swallowed in utero, influencing your kids’ future food and flavor preferences.
Studies show that mothers who drank carrot juice during pregnancy had infants who showed greater acceptance of carrots at weaning compared to infants without this familiarization. Your baby brings these predispositions to early feeding interactions. These early sensory experiences during gestation and lactation can provide a ‘flavor bridge,’ facilitating the acceptance of foods (consumed by you) and enhancing the baby’s transition to table foods. Whether your child first becomes familiar with the flavors of donuts or carrots will depend greatly on your dietary choices during pregnancy.
Create a Generation of Healthy Leaders
Whether we want to think about it yet or not, our children (and their generation) will eventually inherit and run this world. Why not give them the tools to succeed early…now? It will not only benefit them but also us, as we too will be inheriting strong, healthy leaders, whose bodies are more efficient at coping and handling stress, warding off metabolic disorders, and protecting against obesity.
These early childhood eating periods are characterized by high brain plasticity and rapid transitions, and we parents have a high degree of control over children’s food experiences.
Teachers, friends, and strangers always comment on my kids’ incredible desire for healthy food. My boys enjoy and love good, whole food and it has never been a struggle to get them to eat this way. They even have no problems saying no to sugar and junk, for I’ve never given them the palate for it. Instead, I’ve educated them and built their taste buds (since conception) on natural unprocessed foods, fresh fruits, pastured meats & eggs, and veggies.
Therefore, I am confident anyone can do the same. The earlier you start, the easier the transition will be. Whether you were raised on a diet of junk or not, you can end the cycle for your children….and it starts in utero and beyond!
Because flavor preferences are learned, children can learn to like healthy foods if given the opportunity. Be consistent and don’t give up! Together we can team up to make this next generation the healthiest, strongest generation yet who does not need to suffer and pay for preventable metabolic conditions we (as mothers) can help them fight!
For interesting quick and easy ideas, check out my recipes.
So What Should You Eat While Pregnant?
Find out the answer to this and more in my next post: