Pregnant women with a varied diet are less likely to give birth to fussy eaters, they said, and babies are more accepting of foods mothers eat regularly while expectant and breast-feeding.
In one study, children whose mothers often drank carrot juice ate twice as much carrot-flavoured cereal when being weaned.
Researcher Dr Julie Mennella from the Monell Centre in Philadelphia said: â€˜The research clearly shows that if mothers eat a lot of fruit during lactation and pregnancy, then their child will be much more open to eating fruit during weaning. The same goes with vegetables.
â€˜Babies are biologically hardwired to be attracted to foods containing sugar and salt, but may not be attracted to bitter foods such as green vegetables.
‘They have to be exposed to fruit and vegetables if they are to learn to like these flavours.
â€˜The good news is our research shows babies can learn very early on about healthy foods,â€™ she said.
â€˜The message is, eat the healthy food you enjoy and when the baby is old enough to start weaning they will be familiar with those flavours.â€™
In her research, discussed at the American Association for the Advancement of Scienceâ€™s annual conference, Dr Mennella tested 46 babies aged between six months and a year for their liking of carrot-flavoured cereal.