Are You a Picky Eater? Chances Are Your Baby Will Be Too

Picky eating

This pregnancy has me craving tomatoes and apples and oranges. And enchiladas and quesadillas and big bowls of black beans with a generous plop of sour cream on top. I can’t get enough potato chips and sugary kid cereal before I go to bed either, and 4 days ago we bought a box of Girl Scout cookies and now there are only 3 left. Needless to say, I’m not one of those women who suffers from pregnancy food aversions.

All of the advice-givers tell us that we need to eat healthy meals and snacks – and not too much – to keep our babies and our own bodies in good working order throughout the pregnancy. If you’re like me, though, you’re mostly just eating whatever sounds good to you in the moment. I’m already forced to avoid potentially dangerous foods like sushi and unpasteurized soft cheeses, so why shouldn’t I at least get to indulge in macaroni and cheese with bacon, fried chicken and brownies when I want them? (Mmmm, brownies.)

While I’m aware that the food I eat can affect the health of my baby, what I’d never considered was how the flavor of what I’m eating might affect my unborn baby’s tastes later on. A new study suggests that kids who are picky eaters might actually have their mothers’ pregnancy diets to blame.

The European Centre for Taste Science in Dijon, France, has been researching this very thing, and some of their data suggest that what you eat (or don’t eat) while you’re pregnant can influence your baby’s food preferences later on. Why? Perhaps because your amniotic fluid tastes – and smells – like your last meal. According to an article in the French Tribune, “Expecting mothers who have faced nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may have kids with strong liking for salty food items.” Interesting. No one has yet proven a direct correlation between what the pregnant mother eats and what the baby later likes (for instance, just because you love asparagus doesn’t mean your baby will), but it’s still food for thought (har har).

Are you a fussy eater while pregnant? If it’s true that your diet now will affect your baby’s tastes later, would that change your pregnancy diet at all?