How to Introduce Kiwi to Toddlers
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Kiwi is a beautiful fruit that is oftentimes served around the holidays because of its festive green appearance. It is also consumed more during the winter months (flu season) since it is packed with nutrition. In fact, the kiwi (which is smaller than an orange) has an equal amount of vitamin C! So, how can you get your little ones to try and enjoy kiwi this winter? Here are a few tips on how to introduce kiwi to your toddler.
Kiwi Exploration: Help your kids explore the kiwi by cutting it into small, manageable pieces, which I call micro bites. I find that kids are more willing to try a new fruit if the portion size is small. Try presenting these tiny morsels of kiwi with and without the seeds to see which texture they prefer.
Kiwi Adventure: Do you know that you can eat the skin of a kiwi? The fuzzy peel can be scrubbed off and you can bite right into it! Introducing the skin can be a fun new texture for adventurous kids to explore (with an added bonus of fiber too!). Tip: Make sure to wash the kiwi thoroughly to remove pesticides or chemicals that may cling to its wooly skin.
Kiwi Presentation: Kiwi can be presented in many ways. You can cut it into small cubes, scoop kiwi balls with a melon baller, mash it into a puree, or scrape out the inside and use the skin as a container to fill with a fruit salad. At our photo shoot, we cut the kiwi into cubes and mixed in watermelon, honeydew and pomegranate seeds. Yummy!
Kiwi Taste: Kiwi has a sweet taste that is a blend between a strawberry and banana. But, depending on its ripening stage, kiwi can have a bitter or tangy taste that toddlers tend to avoid. Before introducing kiwi to your child, taste it first. Tip: If the kiwi has a slight tangy taste, you can still introduce it to your kiddo. Try drizzling a small amount of honey or syrup on the kiwi to counterbalance the tanginess.
Kiwi Skill: Learning to eat finger foods can be a challenging skill for toddlers. It is even more challenging if the food is slippery (like kiwi). Improve your child’s ability to grab finger foods and decrease picky eating with the following tips:
- Place kiwi in a bowl that suctions to the table, like the Happy Bowl (pictured). This way your kiddo won't be chasing the slippery food AND a bowl at mealtime.
- Try making fruit kabobs. Fruit is more fun (and easier to grab) on a stick!
- Roll kiwi in some crushed cereal, nuts or seeds to add texture and make the fruit easier to grip.
Your toddler will be more willing to explore new foods if they are more successful at grabbing them. Allowing your child to self-feed with their fingers is a great way to develop a future feeding milestone of utensil use!
We hope you use some of these tips to introduce kiwi to your toddler. If you have other ideas on how to present kiwi to your kids, please share them. Have you ever eaten a kiwi with the skin on? #ezpzfun #kiwi #toddlerlife
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).