Is there any fruit that better encapsulates summer than a watermelon? They are so juicy and refreshing, making them the perfect snack for kids (especially if your kid isn’t a big fan of drinking water).
Watermelons are actually a type of berry called a pepo (1). You can actually eat the rind, if you cook it. Watermelons were originally grown for their high water content and were stored as a water source.
How to Serve Watermelon
Because it is so juicy, watermelon is considered a mixed consistency food. It can be a little difficult for babies as they are first starting out. You can start by offering the rind with just a little bit of fruit to act as more of a teether. After that, offer large pieces that your baby can bite into (or use a recipe like this sorbet that makes the consistency a bit more consistent). Once your baby has their pincer grasp, you can offer bite size pieces.
Always offer seedless pieces (whether that means you pick out the seeds yourself or you buy a seedless variety) as young kids won’t be able to pick out the seeds themselves.
As the name implies, watermelons have a high percentage of water (around 91%) (2). They contain vitamin C which means you can pair them with an iron food to help with absorption. Watermelon also contains the carotenoid lycopene as well as a little beta carotene.
Due to the high water content, watermelon can help with constipation. For some kids, it can cause loose stools as well. You may also note a reddish tint to the stool if your child has eaten a lot of it. Don’t worry, that’s just the watermelon, not blood.
Choosing a Watermelon
While there is nothing better than a great watermelon, we’ve probably all tasted a mediocre or bland one as well. Here are some tips for choosing a good one at the store:
- Shape: Watermelon should be symmetrical and uniform in shape. Indentations or bumps may indicate internal issues or uneven growth
- Color: It should have a deep uniform, green color, with the exception of the field spot which should be creamy or yellowish. A while or pale spot may mean that it is not fully ripe. The skin should be dull, rather than shiny.
- Weight: The watermelon should be heavy for its size. This means that it has more water and juice.
- Sound: You can tap the watermelon. It should have a deep, hollow sound
- Stem: A brown, dried out stem suggests that the watermelon is likely ripe, whereas a green stem may mean that it was harvested too early.
Dairy Free Watermelon Sorbet
- 1 cup watermelon (cubed, frozen)
- 1/2 whole lime (juice)
- Place frozen watermelon and lime juice in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. You can add a little water to thin it out if needed.
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.