Did you know that your preference for some foods could very well have started before you were even born? According to various studies over the years, babies develop the senses of taste and smell during the second trimester of their mother’s pregnancy. It’s also been shown that babies have a distinct preference for sweet things and can even tell the difference between certain flavors of food as it passes through the amniotic fluid that surrounds them during the time inside the mother’s womb.  

Some might even go so far as to say that children develop their eating habits from the moment of conception, which may or may not be true, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to assume that what mama eats baby will too. So, here are some foods expectant mothers should be sure to include in their meal plan.

Fruits & Veggies – It’s no secret than many kids develop a bad taste in their mouth (pun intended) when it comes to eating fruits and especially vegetables. While a lot of the problem lies in the texture of these foods, if you want a better shot at having kids who actually enjoy them, eat lots of them during pregnancy.

Iron Rich Foods – Iron is a necessity for pregnant women. Most associate iron with red meats, but even if you’re a vegetarian, you can find iron in foods such as:

• Salmon
• Eggs
• Dried Fruits
• Tofu
• Dark Green Vegetables
• Grains

Calcium – We all know calcium is vital for healthy bones, teeth and skin. When you’re pregnant, you not only need this for yourself, but your little one as well. Great sources of calcium include:

• Low Fat Milk
• Pasteurized Cheeses and Yogurt (avoid raw or fresh cheeses during pregnancy)
• Almonds
• Spinach
• Kale
• Calcium Enriched Orange Juice

Folic Acids – Foods rich in folate or folic acid are what will help your child’s brain and spine develop correctly. It’s actually recommended that all women of child bearing age get plenty of these. Many doctors will prescribe a prenatal vitamin with folic acid just to avoid the possibility of neural tube defects that can cause things like spina bifida in the unborn baby. Some foods that supply this much needed nutrient are:

• Leafy veggies
• Poultry
• Nuts
• Grapes
• Oranges
• Beans and peas
• Whole wheat foods

Water – Water is extremely important to a healthy pregnancy. As a mom, you need more water to help you deal with the extra blood your body needs to make. Not to mention, it helps avoid dehydration which is not a good thing for you and can be even worse on your baby if it’s too bad. Many kids don’t like water and if you get him or her used to it before birth you might be able to stop that issue before it ever starts.  

Whether you believe babies know what they like and dislike when it comes to food before they are born or not, you can’t argue how well the mother takes care of herself while pregnant has a direct effect on a child’s development. Although food cravings of pregnant women can range from what those of us who aren’t expecting would call simply gross to disgustingly sweet, it’s extremely important for an expectant mother to maintain a healthy diet for the sake of herself and her unborn child.

If you’re expecting a baby now, want to give your future children the best possible start, or know someone who is, it’s important to eat healthy in order for your children to do the same.