Hi friends, Katie here from Special Needs Essentials. Today, I want to introduce y’all to Kiyah, a Nutrition Epidemiologist, Inventor and Mom who so graciously agreed to participate in a short Q & A. Lets get started! 

Tell me about yourself!

Kiyah: My professional training is as a Nutritional Epidemiologist, which means I’ve been interested in how we make decisions about what we eat and how those decisions impact our waistlines and our health. I’ve been doing nutrition and food policy research for about 15 years, and am adjunct faculty at Virginia Tech and the president of a nutrition consulting firm. I am also the mom to three little kids, ages 8, 5 and 4!


As former Mainers, Tarheel graduates (GO HEELS!) and nutrition professionals, what else do your business partner, Lisa, and you have in common?


Kiyah: In addition to all the things you listed, Lisa and I both love to cook, have adventures with our family and we both like a good piece of dark chocolate!

What sparked the idea of KIZINGO?

Kiyah: Our spoons really grew from my professional knowledge about what it takes to help encourage healthy habits in kids paired with my personal experience watching my own kids beginning to eat solid foods.


Why is self-feeding so important to learn at a young age?

Kiyah: When kids are first learning to eat, and their motor skills are still developing, they hold utensils palm down. With traditional spoons, with those straight, sometimes long, handles, kids have to turn and twist their arm, shoulder, and wrist in a way that makes it hard for them to successfully get the food into their mouths. It gets frustrating for kids and messy for parents. I observed this with my own children. What often happens at that point is that we – parents and caregivers – take over feeding our kids, rather than letting them do it themselves.

But research tells us that letting kids feed themselves is a critical piece of helping them to create healthy, long-term habits around mealtime. When kids are able to successfully feed themselves, they are less likely to become picky eaters, they are less likely to overeat and they are more willing to try new foods; all important components of having a healthy relationship with food.

What are the benefits of KIZINGO?

Kiyah: So we designed our spoons differently. The handles of our spoons are wider, which makes it easier for kids to hold onto and because they are shorter too it brings the bowl of the spoon closer to the child’s hand, which improves their control over the spoon and the food on it. The bowl of the spoon is also turned off that straight plain, so that the bowl faces the child when they are holding it. This puts the food into the position kids need so they don’t have to twist and turn to get the food into their mouths.

Describe KIZINGO in four words.

Kiyah:  Innovation in children’s cutlery

Thank you to Kiyah for allowing me to interview you! It’s always so great to hear brilliant women making an impact in health, early childhood development and the world! 

PS- The spoons come in several fun bright colors named after yummy fruits and veggies!