Mum’s food choices helped shape your food choices!
Before you were even born, your preference for certain flavours was developing. The foods your mother ate while pregnant with you helped to shape your own food choices today. That’s because the foods a pregnant woman eats flavours her amniotic fluid, the liquid environment a foetus is living within, which exposes the foetus to mum’s food choices.
Research shows that if a woman eats mostly wholesome, nutritious foods during her pregnancy, her offspring may be more likely to enjoy these flavours. Conversely, if a woman eats other foods during pregnancy, her offspring may be more likely to enjoy these.
If your mum was not feasting on vegetables and healthy fare while pregnant, never fear. The good news is that you can develop new tastes as an adult. Research shows that through repeated exposure to new foods, you may be able to learn to enjoy new foods.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again
Repeated exposure to a food increases the likelihood that you enjoy that food. Exposure is tasting a food on many different occasions.
How often do you need to experience a new food or flavour before you learn to like it? Two exposures with a food will almost double the chances that you like that food.
What can you do to learn to enjoy a new food? Try a new food more than once and try it prepared a variety of different ways. For example, if you tried steamed pumpkin but did not enjoy it, try pumpkin boiled, roasted in the oven with fresh herbs, baked and served cold in a salad or mashed with other vegetables. Continue to taste pumpkin until you find a way that you enjoy pumpkin.
Repeated exposure with foods may help ensure that you enjoy a variety of healthy foods.
You can continue to expand the list of foods and flavours that you enjoy, even into adulthood. Use the technique of repeated exposure to expand your food selection and learn to enjoy a broader range of healthy foods.
Try these tips to feel comfortable enjoying new or unfamiliar foods:
- When trying a new food, pair familiar food with unfamiliar food
- Try new foods regularly and try new foods prepared using a variety of different cooking techniques.
- Don’t give up. Try a new food at least seven times before deciding that you do not like the food.
- Try foods from a variety of different cuisines. Read recipes for inspiration.