When your baby or toddler is ready for finger foods, there are many healthy, vegetarian and organic options available. Fruits and vegetables in particular make wonderful finger foods, and are packed with vitamins toddlers need. You can also avoid packaged baby and toddler foods by seeking out fresh local produce. With all of these foods, watch your toddler closely and never leave unattended to be sure he or she doesn't have trouble swallowing.
Here are ideas for healthy finger foods broken down by baby and toddler stages.
First Finger Foods
When babies are first adjusting to solid and finger foods, you want to seek out foods that are soft, easy to pick up and don't pose a choking hazard. Some of the first foods to try include:
- Green beans (cooked or, better yet, steamed until soft)
- Mangos, cooked or steamed
- Crumbled cheese (goat cheese and feta are good choices for beginners)
- Apples, cooked or steamed
- Pears, cooked or steamed
- Sweet potato, baked and diced
Second Stage Finger Foods
As your toddler gets more comfortable eating finger foods, you can start adding in items with seeds or that require some gum-chewing first.
- Broccoli, cooked or steamed
- Baby carrot sticks, cooked or steamed
- Hard cheeses, like string cheese and cheddar cubes
- Graham crackers
- Nilla Wafers
- Tofu tossed with organic bread crumbs to ease handling
Third Stage Finger Foods
When your toddler starts getting teeth and has a better grasp between finger and thumb, your options get even more diverse.
- Grapes cut in half
- Bagels, diced
- Black beans or pinto beans
- Cooked lentils
- Cooked pasta in small shapes (like rotini)
- Small ravioli