A recent study found that the most popular "vegetable" eaten by 15-month-olds is French fries. One quarter of children between seven and twenty-four months consume no vegetables, and a quarter consume no fruit. Any parent who has followed their toddler around the living room with a spoon or resorted to flying airplanes of broccoli knows that dealing with a picky eater is frustrating. But although some studies suggest as much as a 75% genetic determination to the fear of new foods or "food neophobia," there are some things parents can do to help get their children eat a diversified diet.
Even before your babies are born, you can help make them adventurous eaters. Food flavors are transferred through the amniotic fluid, which babies swallow in utero, giving them exposure to the flavors in mom's diet. Research has shown that what a mom eats affects her baby's preference for those foods. One study conducted by the Chemical Senses Center showed that when a mom drank carrot juice in her last trimester, her baby was more interested in mashed carrots many months later when solids were introduced. The same holds true for the food flavors transmitted through breast milk.
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