Finger foods are an essential and fun part of weaning whether you are offering finger foods alongside purees or whether you have decided to practice baby led weaning. As long as your baby can sit up mostly unsupported and can bring toys to their mouth confidently it is generally safe to start offering finger foods. Although you can start with one or two options, experts generally agreed that varied exposure to lots of different flavors and textures can reduce a tendency to picky eating later on. Exposing your baby to a good mix of naturally sweet and savoury foods with differing textures is good to encourage a varied and adventurous diet and is interesting and fun for your baby as well as nutritionally beneficial. Here are some favorite safe finger foods to get you started.
Avocado, cubed or sliced – avocado is soft and full of good fats
Banana, cubed – Banana is soft and sweet and contains zinc
Cauliflower, chopped and steamed – Cauliflower offers a less sweet and different texture experience
Fish, steamed or poached in broth or water without added salt, and with any bones carefully removed, and flaked into small pieces. Choose low mercury fish.
Green beans, chopped and steamed – Green beans are easy to pick up and nutritious.
Sweet potatoes, roasted whole and given in soft pieces
Pasta, cooked until very soft (about 2 minutes longer than package directions) and cut into small pieces – try different colours and wholemeal pasta for added nutrition.
Peaches, very ripe, peeled and cubed – full of fiber and vitamins A and C
Peas, cooked – peas roll around and are fun to pick up and packed with vitamins
Rice, well-cooked, plain or mixed with shredded cheese to bind it together into a patty.
Tofu, soft or firm, cut into small cubes.
Zucchini, cubed and steamed or cut into strips
Watermelon, cubed – sweet juicy and hydrating
Pear, very ripe, peeled and cubed – sweet but a rougher texture than peaches
Blueberries, very soft and halved – blueberries are sweet and juicy and full of vitamin C
Whole grain toast,cubed or cut into fingers (spread lightly with pureed vegetables or fruit, dairy spread or mashed avocado). Remove hard crusts so the toast is soft.
Eggs, scrambled – eggs are highly nutritious but pay attention to any sign of allergy to eggs. Egg allergy is rare but as with other allergenic foods it is wise to be wary when first introducing the food. Offer a small amount and check for signs of reaction.
Cheese– choose soft, mild cheese cut into strips or cubes – excellent for calcium.
Cooked Meat – cut into finely chopped slivers softened with warm broth or water.
Unsalted rice crackers – ideal for when out and about – spread with a little puree or dairy spread to soften.
Remember to always stay with your baby when they are eating just in case of choking.