Heres how mums can get their babies to like fruits and vegies

December 3rd, 2007 - 1:30 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 3 (ANI): Getting babies to eat their fruits and vegetables can be an uphill task for parents. Now, researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have found how parents can help their babies like healthy foods.

The trick, they say, is for mums to start eating fruits and vegetables while breastfeeding.

What also helps is offering your tot plenty of opportunities to taste fruits and vegetables as s/he makes the transition to solid foods by giving repeated feeding exposures to these healthy foods regardless of whether youre breast feeding or using formula.

As a part of the study, senior author Julie A. Mennella, PhD and co-author Catherine A. Forestell, PhD studied 45 infants, 20 of whom were breastfed. The infants, who were between the ages of four and eight months and unaccustomed to eating solids other than cereal, were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

One group was fed green beans for eight consecutive days; the other was given green beans and then peaches over the same period. Acceptance of both foods was assessed before and after the repeated exposure period.

The researchers found that if mum regularly eats those foods, babies will too when they are being weaned.

During their first exposure to peaches, breast-fed infants ate more and for a longer period of time, compared to formula-fed infants. Questionnaires revealed that mothers of breast-fed infants ate more fruits than did formula-feeding mothers, suggesting that the enhanced peach acceptance of their infants might be attributed to increased exposure to fruit flavours through breast milk.

However, both groups of mothers reported eating green beans and green vegetables infrequently, at levels below current recommendations. Accordingly, there was no difference in the amount of green beans eaten by breast-fed and formula-fed infants the first time the vegetables were offered.

Its a beautiful system. Flavors from the mothers diet are transmitted through amniotic fluid and mothers milk. So, a baby learns to like a foods taste when the mother eats that food on a regular basis, says Mennella.

In both groups, repeated opportunities to taste green beans over eight days enhanced acceptance of the vegetable, increasing intake by almost three-fold.

Babies are born with a dislike for bitter tastes. If mothers want their babies to learn to like to eat vegetables, especially green vegetables, they need to provide them with opportunities to taste these foods, explains Mennella.

The study, designed to test the influence of early sensory experiences on the development of healthy eating patterns, is published in the December 2007 issue of the journal Pediatrics. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |