London: Parents please note: Infants fed home-cooked food are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables when they grow up than those who were given packaged food, a new study has claimed.
A team of British researchers found that babies weaned on home-made casseroles and puddings develop a taste for what is good for them by the age of seven.
Experts from De Montfort University in Leicester and the universities of Bristol and Birmingham analysed data from 7,866 mothers of children born in 1991 and 1992.
The results showed that youngsters who were frequently given home-cooked fruit or vegetables aged six months were more likely to be eating higher amounts of fruit and vegetables at the age of seven than those given home-cooked meals less often.
There was no positive effect on later eating habits for babies fed shop-bought meals, the Daily Mail reported.
Writing in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the researchers said: "The findings support the concept that exposure to fruit and vegetables is important in the early weaning period."
Dr Helen Coulthard, from De Montfort University, said mothers should be giving their infants a home-cooked fruit or vegetable every day.
"The range and type of foods that young children eat is becoming an increasing cause for concern," she said.
"Fruit and vegetables from packets, jars and tins are likely to have a uniform taste and texture, whereas those cooked at home or eaten raw will vary according to the variety of the particular fruit or vegetable, whether it is in season and the cooking method.
"These variations in the taste and texture of fruit and vegetables should expose an infant`s palate to a wider range of experience, increasing the likelihood they will accept a wider range of foods."