Nothing beats pureed food for helping them get the good stuff (we know, we make it). Finger foods have another job: giving your kid a bit of independence by feeding them self. It also helps them finesse those fine motor skills and the pincering action of picking something up. So, once they’ve mastered swallowing your smooth purees and some more textured ones, start chopping up the finger food for snack time or as part of mealtimes. Since you’re handing it over to your little terror, do expect some of it to be flung on the floor. It doesn’t mean they don’t like it; they probably just didn’t like that particular piece. Try again.
Chop up some orange into chunks, quarter some strawberries or halve some blueberries. Fruit is always a good place to start because your kid will already be used to the flavour of fruit pureed up.
For harder fruits like apples and pears, it can be worth slicing them finely and sautéing them for a few minutes to soften them up. If your little food critic doesn’t have any teeth yet, they’re not going to approve of anything too tough to chomp on.
Cereal is such a life-saver for snacks on-the-go. Down the park with a grumbly baby? Lucky you brought your tub of cereal! Just make sure to swerve the cereals with added sugar in the supermarket; we’re sure you know the usual culprits.
Fill some mini ice cream moulds with yoghurt and berries (granola bits work too) then freeze them. They’re a fantastic sweet treat that can be soothing on sore gums if they’re teething.
Once they’ve mastered the art of picking things up and putting them in their mouths, how about introducing dipping? This could be your favourite pesto mix; a bolognese sauce or hummus. Dip in some pasta or toasted pitta slices.
It’s not one that we’d typically eat with our fingers but we’ve got to admit it does have a fun and messy texture for baby to play around with. It’s a pretty simple way for them to get egg into their diet too, a solid source of protein and other nutrients.
Fusilli and penne are best for picking up but feel free to work through the spectrum of pasta shapes. It’s best to start your kid off with plain bits then, once they’re familiar with the taste and texture, try it out with a sauce like one of our stir-ins.