Teaching babies to eat healthy

February 18, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Earlier research shows what moms do during pregnancy can also make a difference. In one study of women who drank carrot juice in the third trimester of pregnancy or while breastfeeding -- their babies favored cereals made with carrot juice.Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg has the story.

Eleven-month-old Deborah Celestin doesn't have a picky palate and loves eating her veggies.

"She loves carrots carrots and peas, she will eat that in a second,"

Now, new research shows children can learn to be healthy eaters when they're babies.

Dr. Steven Shwarz, with Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, says think nutrition first, taste second.

"Our society that starts the fruits and the sweeter things first is based upon the fact that we think they're going to be more digestible....We think they're going to be more palatble, and that's really a projection of our own taste on our children, which we should never do," says Dr. Shwarz.

In the study, published in the journal "Pediatrics," a group of babies was given pureed green beans. Half the group was also fed pureed peaches.

At first, the group getting both foods preferred the peaches. But within eight days, all the babies were eating more beans. And their consumption tripled, whether or not they were also fed peaches.

Interestingly, even when the children frowned at the pureed greens, they still ate them. Dr. Shwarz says kids' taste buds need to be trained.

"They like habit, they don't llike change. If you try to hand them 14 different things at once, your child is going to reject it," Dr. Shwarz says.

He also adds that parents should be careful about introducing extreme tastes into a child's diet.

"Anything thats very sweet, very salty, all of those extremes of taste..will in fact, condition the infant to prefer those foods as they grow and develop," says Dr. Shwarz.

And if you don't want your baby to grow up into a fatty food lover, set a good example.