Raising Adventurous Eaters: Part One

Once I found out I was pregnant, I started applying what I learned about kids and food in an effort to raise adventurous eaters. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll cover the approaches I've taken in various phases of my kids' development, as well as favorite recipes for each stage. Today, I'll focus on the pregnancy and newborn phases, since my experience was nearly identical in each.

Based on what I've read, fetuses can taste what their moms are eating in the flavor of their amniotic fluid. And babies supposedly prefer those familiar flavors when they grow older. Similarly, the foods that moms eat show up in the flavor of their breast milk. Here's an NPR article on shaping taste preferences in the womb and through breast milk.

Having read this, I made a concerted effort to eat strong tasting foods when I was pregnant, and kept introducing flavors that I wanted my kids to be comfortable with after they were born. I wound up eating a lot of palak paneer from the frozen section at Trader Joes, and homemade sausage, kale, and white bean soup (recipe here). To this day, both my kids enjoy eating these two dishes and the soup is a winter staple at our house. I stayed away from sweets and chips, although I did start eating ice cream at my doctor's suggestion.

As with subsequent stages of my children's lives, our eating choices are intertwined. What they eat, to this day, is greatly impacted by what I choose to eat, and what my husband eats. For example, I couldn't stomach the smell of cooked fish when I was pregnant and even now, my fish intake consists primarily of sushi or battered fish. It's no surprise the only fish my kids eat are spicy tuna rolls or fish sticks. The upside of all this is that wanting my kids to eat a variety of nutritious foods encourages us to all eat healthier foods as a family. To continue reading, check out Part Two of this Raising Adventurous Eaters series.


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