When your baby starts to take an interest in the foods such as sandwiches and meat or tries to grab your spoon, then it’s probably time to let him/her try out some simple grown up foods, the kind which he/she can easily pick up with hands and eat without any assistance while you also try gradually to teach him/her how to eat using a small baby spoon. Normally, at around eight months, most babies are ready to feed themselves which is an achievement that comes when they are learning to pick up small objects with their tiny fingers. Foods that are cut into small pieces or mashed into quarter-inch cubes are some of the ones which a baby can easily swallow without chewing.
8 finger foods for toddlers that are simple to make and enjoyable for your baby.
There is a good reason why all parents have boxes of cereals stored in their pantries. This is because cereals are normally sized and textured perfectly for your baby’s little fingers and tender gums to be able to handle. When it comes to cereals, you can also expand your horizons a bit and serve your baby other similar small and well-textured foods such as rice puffs or wheat as well. As an added bonus, while your baby is busy working on perfecting his/her new cereal eating skills, you can also sit down and enjoy a bowl of cereal yourself. It is however advised to avoid giving honey flavored cereals or plain honey to babies under the age of one.
Cheese is very good for babies as it packed with lots of proteins, loaded with calcium and other materials suitable for building bones, and is very friendly for babies. First start by giving your baby a mild-tasting pasteurized cheese like a non-sharp cheddar or mozzarella cut into small cubes. Once your baby has gotten used to the taste and texture of the cheese bits, you can expand his/her horizons a little by including other cheese types such as Swiss and Havarti and also serve some of the known baby favorites such as quesadillas and grilled cheese. However, try to avoid soft cheese such as feta or brie as they can contain a bacteria that can cause food poisoning known as Listeria.
Babies who have not yet learned how to pick small things up with their fingers can still hold a piece of bread that has been lightly toasted, a biscuit, or even a small bagel in their hands and then suck it until it dissolves into a washed up food which they can swallow with ease. The main objective here is to find small foods such as bread and crackers which your baby can hold in his/her mouth and suck on it until it turns mushy and becomes easier to swallow. When your baby then becomes accustomed to grasping and eating like this, you can now place small pieces of bread that have been lightly toasted on his/her chair tray. If he/she becomes picky, you can then start to get him/her used to wheat right from the beginning.
Your baby might start to show interest in meat on the dining table. While it is obvious that he/she is no ready for stake yet, you can satisfy his/her interest while also increasing his/her iron intake as well by serving him/her soft meatballs that have been made from ground turkey or hamburger.
Try to cook the meatballs in a sauce or in a soup mixture instead of frying them solo so as to make sure that they are not too firm for your baby’s mouth or excessively crusty.
You can then cut the meatballs into small quarters then put a few pieces away and watch as your baby enjoys a healthy serving of small meatballs. Try not to overwhelm him/her with too much food as the sweet meat taste may tempt him/her to stuff all the food at once in his/her mouth.
5. Egg Yolks.
Your doctor will most likely recommend that you avoid white eggs until your baby turns one, but he/she will probably give you the OK to start your baby off with a well-cooked yolk when he/she is six months old. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics state that it is alright to serve your baby with any part of an egg once he/she has already started taking solid foods, some doctors strongly believe that holding off on egg whites can help to prevent allergies. The simplest way to serve a little egg into your baby’s diet is to hard-boil the egg then cut up the yolk into small manageable pieces. If you prefer to follow your doctor’s orders, you can still serve your baby with scrambled eggs as long as you can separate the whites, which can be a bit tricky.
Once your baby has started on solid foods, just about any type of vegetable can be served to him/her as long as the vegetable is cooked until it becomes very tender.
Simply cut away the stalks and vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower florets can be made to resemble trees for your baby’s enjoyment.
Other vegetables such as carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes can be made as sweet side dishes for your baby when they are cooked until they become soft and they also have the advantage of being loaded with beta-carotene and other helpful nutrients.
Avocados are also another interesting treat to serve alongside vegetables for your baby and they are normally packed with good fats which are helpful when building up your baby’s little body and brains.
Fish is one of the few types of food which can be considered to be perfect. They have been packed with calcium, protein, and iron and also loaded with healthy omega 3 oils. Various studies have also shown that fish is capable of alleviating eczema and boost brain power as well.
Serve your baby with some small pieces of firm, white-fleshed fish by baking, broiling or poaching fishes such as flounder, sole, or cod.
These types of fishes are very easy to digest and also have the lowest amount of mercury and allergic substances. Avoid serving your baby with fishes that are not recommended as finger foods for toddlers such as tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish, and shark as they contain high allergic substances.
You also have to be extra careful when going through the fish pieces in order to remove any hard or bony substances.
While it will most likely be a few years before your baby is ready to twirl spaghetti using a fork, you can start him/her on this path by serving pasta.
Try to select healthy whole-grain varieties of pasta so that your baby develops a taste for it and be sure to cook the pasta you intend to serve the baby a little longer than you would normally do with regular pasta because it tends to be firmer.
Any shape of pasta can be friendly to your baby as long as you remember to cut it into small pieces and shapes such as bowties, shells, and wheels may have a special appeal to your baby and are normally easier to handle.
If your baby likes cheese as well, you can dust a little Parmesan on the pasta for a calcium boost or serve him/her some homemade mac and cheese. Babies who have already started on taking small pieces of meat will enjoy meat ravioli pieces, with or without sauce.
Generally, there are many types of finger foods for toddlers which you can serve a baby who has started showing interest in different types of food as long as you try to cut them into small and manageable pieces and ensure that they have a soft digestible texture.
Allow your baby to learn how to self-feed him/herself as much as possible, though at first, you will still be helping him/her out by spoon-feeding small food substances that contain important dietary elements such as the ones mentioned above. Encouraging finger feeding is important as it helps your child to develop independent and healthy eating habits.