Babies like vegetables more if mothers eat more during pregnancy, study says

Babies like vegetables more if mothers eat more during pregnancy, study says

Do you want your child to eat more greens? Eat more yourself! The study found that children born to mothers who consumed a lot of vegetables during pregnancy grow up to eat more than their peers.

  • The researchers tracked the eating habits of 690 mothers and their children for two years.
  • Children whose mothers ate at least three servings a day liked vegetables more
  • The researchers say that babies are used to the bitter taste of breast milk.

Every parent knows how difficult it is to get young children to eat greens at lunchtime.

But scientists now believe that this problem could have been avoided if mothers themselves had consumed more vegetables during pregnancy.

A study links at least three servings per day during pregnancy to higher intakes in children under the age of six.

Dieting while breastfeeding in infancy also helped, according to a panel of American and French experts.

They believe that the bitter taste of vegetables, carried over into the womb and breast milk, may shape children’s food preferences as they grow older.

But the team admits they can’t rule out that moms who love veggies might just get their kids to eat them more often.

Despite the wide range of health benefits, only a fifth of children in the UK eat the recommended five servings a day, according to the NHS.

A diet rich in leafy greens and fruits can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, curb obesity, and even fight some cancers.

The study found that children are more likely to enjoy vegetables if their mothers eat more of them during pregnancy.

The study found that children are more likely to enjoy vegetables if their mothers eat more of them during pregnancy.

HOW MANY VEGETABLES SHOULD KIDS EAT EVERY DAY?

two to three

four to eight

9 to 13 (girls)

9 to 13 years old (boys)

14 to 18 years old (girls)

14 to 18 years old (boys)

1 to 1.5 cups

1.5-2.5 cups

Two to four cups

2.5 to 4 cups

2.5 to 4 cups

Three or four cups

Source: USDA.

Researchers from the Universities of Rhode Island, Colorado, and Paris-Saclay interviewed 696 women between May 2005 and June 2007 during and after pregnancy, and an additional questionnaire was given six years later.

In a study published in the medical journal Appetite, mothers were asked how many servings of vegetables they ate per day during and after pregnancy.

The researchers also asked how many greens their children ate between the ages of four and six months.

For mothers who ate three and a half or more servings of vegetables per day, children ate about 0.9 servings of vegetables per day.

In comparison, babies born to mothers who ate fewer than three servings of vegetables consumed 0.8 servings per day.

The team said it had a “small but significant impact” on whether their children ate too.

Over the course of a year, this increase would mean that children would eat more than 35 more servings of vegetables than those whose mothers ate less.

The authors say that children who want to eat vegetables at an early age are vital to maintaining a healthy habit later in life.

They wrote, “Innate taste preferences that do not favor bitter compounds in vegetables are an important barrier to intake in infancy and may subsequently contribute to low lifelong vegetable intake.”

“Available evidence suggests that an intervention to increase maternal intake of vegetables before and after birth may be an effective strategy to improve infant acceptance and intake of vegetables.”

Portion sizes of vegetables were not recorded in the questionnaire. They also didn’t take into account whether children ate vegetables voluntarily or were forced by their parents.

The team said more research is needed to confirm the findings and find out if other factors are behind the relationship.

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

According to the NHS, meals should consist of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.

According to the NHS, meals should consist of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.

• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables are counted.

• The basis of the meal is potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.

• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is the equivalent of eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole grain toasts, 2 thick slices of whole grain bread, and a large baked potato with skin on.

• Consume dairy products or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks), choosing options that are low in fat and sugar.

• Eat some legumes, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts.

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day.

• Adults should consume less than 6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams for men per day.

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide.

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