10 Of The Best Finger Foods For Your New Eater!
It’s a scientific fact that the finger foods phase is one of the best/most terrifying parts of parenting. It’s SO cute. Almost ridiculously so. But once you’ve watched a baby shovel 12 blueberries in their maw at once, you’ll never breathe right again. ONE AT A TIME IS KEY HERE. If your baby is solidly eating solids, and it’s time for them to put those pudgy little pinchers to work, then you need to add some of these finger foods for new eaters to your shopping list.
There are a few rules for what constitutes good finger foods. They need to be small enough for baby fingers to grasp, soft enough to gum, and easy to swallow.
1. Which is why Cheerios are still a pantry staple 70 years later.
They’re small, they’re easy to pick up, and they’re healthy. If you haven’t tossed a few Cheerios down on your kid’s highchair tray, are you even a parent?!
2. Berries are a great option for babies!
Raspberries, blueberries, diced strawberries are all perfect for new eaters. Pro-tip: strip your baby down before letting them go to town on some raspberries or blueberries, unless you like the idea of red and purple tie-dye.
3. Cooked pasta!
Soft pastas are perfect for toothless babies! Avoid long pastas like spaghetti (don’t act like you’ve never swallowed a piece of too-long spaghetti and though you were about to die). Even cut-up spaghetti can be hard for little fingers to pick up. Farfalle, rotini, orecchiette, and elbow pasta are perfect. Add a dollop of pesto or red sauce or a sprinkle of Parmesan for some flavor.
4. This is the perfect age to introduce a lot of veggies, like green peas and broccoli.
Peas are the perfect pincher food! And before babies master the pinch, they just palm whatever they’re trying to shove in their mouths. Steam some broccoli and let them gnaw at the florets. Remember, exposing your babies to lots of flavors and textures is key to raising good eaters.
5. If you want to introduce meat, well-cooked ground meats or cut-up meatballs are the way to go.
Even babies can get in on Taco Tuesday! Cook up some ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork, and give them little bits at a time. Or you can cook meatballs and cut them into small pieces.
6. Steamed or broiled fish is easy to eat, and is an excellent source of super important fatty acids.
Maybe you’re a pescatarian, or maybe you just want to broaden your baby’s palate. Either way, steamed or broiled fish is a great first food. It’s soft and flaky, and is an excellent source of DHA, which is crucial to your baby’s brain development.
7. Beans are a magical food! (You’re singing the toot song now, aren’t you?)
Beans are an excellent source of protein, vitamin B, potassium, and iron. They’re soft and easy enough to pick up for new eaters, making them excellent finger foods! You can cook them yourself (make sure they’re well-done), or even use canned or packaged beans. If you use canned, make sure to rinse them well to remove excess sodium.
8. Extra-thick mashed potatoes make a great (and messy) first food.
Whip up a batch of mashed white or sweet potatoes, and watch your kid paint their face, head, and hair with the glob you put on their tray. This is a messy one, but whatever tiny amounts make it in their mouths will be a hit.
9. Scrambled eggs for breakfast, even for the baby.
The less cooking you have to do, the better. A scoop of the scrambled eggs you made the big kids will please your baby to no end!
10. My kids absolutely lost their minds over shredded cheese.
Cheese is delicious, and even babies think so. Skip the pre-shredded stuff and get out that ol’ box grater (mind your knuckles) and shred up a pile of whatever you’ve got in the fridge. Cheddar, mozzarella, colby, it all works.
You don’t have to buy special finger foods for your new eater. You very likely have all of these suggestions in your fridge and pantry already! Those little pinchers are ready for some new food adventures.
(Image: iStock / Aynur_sib)