It's intuitive that a person's tastes come from the food they were fed growing up. But new research shows that food memories and palates are shaped very early on in a child's life, and even in the womb. Strong flavors like vanilla, garlic, and mint have been shown to pass directly to babies in the womb. NPR reports the foods and flavors mothers eat show up distinctively in amniotic fluid. What's more interesting is the reaction to the same foods after birth. Researchers tested babies who had been exposed to carrots in the womb against those who didn't, and, when fed carrots for the first time, those who hadn't had carrots had a negative reaction. Exposure to flavors early on greatly increases the chance that a child will like certain types of food.
Now, does that mean if you eat lots of Brussels sprouts while pregnant your toddler will gobble them up? Not necessarily. Many other factors come into play as kids grow. The researchers in this story urge parents to keep at it and eventually their kids' taste buds will come around.