If you didn't go the baby lead weaning route with introducing solids, incorporating finger foods in to your little one's diet can be a challenge. The baby food aisle at Target or Walmart is a good place to start. Mum-Mums and Happy Baby Puffs were a big hit with Harry when we first ventured away from purees. And while those are great at the beginning, they become boring after a while.
Here are some great ideas of what to feed your older baby (seven to eight months and up). And it's
Freeze Dried Fruit/Veggies
|We bought these freeze dried peas and corn at Target. They are the Archer Farms brand.|
Freeze dried and veggies are a great alternative to puffs. They're easy for little hands to grab and can be stored just about anywhere, making them a perfect on-the-go snack. Freeze dried fruits are also a good option, but the pieces are a little bigger so you'll want to break them up. Be careful as some varieties have added sugar (bananas don't, but peaches do).
Keep servings to a handful every day to every other day. Too many of these (specifically the veggies) may cause digestive issues that can make for a fussy, uncomfortable baby.
Harry loves cheese! Sometimes I'll give him shreds of cheddar or mozzarella, but I usually cut up a string cheese for him. He's been loving the Kraft tomato basil string cheese lately.
Grapes are still a little hard for Harry to eat on his own. Plus, when I cut them up the sticky juices get all over his face and hands. This mom's worst nightmare!. But raisins are wonderful. Not only are they less messy but they are very easy for him to "chew."
Pasta is such a great finger food for babies. We are keeping Harry gluten free until his first birthday so we give him Tinkyada rice pasta we bought at Super Target. I'm too chicken to try it myself, but he seems to love it. Babies don't know that pasta is usually eaten with sauce, so you can go crazy with what you serve with it :). In the above picture I mixed the pasta with carrots (Gerber Pick Ups), shreds of cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg yolks and a spoonful of pasta sauce.
Also, if your baby is now refusing purees, spoon them on to pasta for a flavorful sauce so they don't go to waste!
We started first with giving him hard boiled egg yolks. Egg whites are high on the allergy list for babies, though I've read so many contrasting reports on the subject. A couple weeks ago I gave him a few small pieces of egg white. A few days later I gave him some potato salad without thinking about the mayonnaise in it. He didn't have any reaction so a few days ago I whipped up a scrambled egg for him. He wasn't sure what to do at first, but quickly warmed up to it and finished the entire egg. Try jazzing up baby's eggs with a pinch of shredded cheese or some oregano.
Meat is something I've struggled with. Making my own meat purees grosses me out, so I've bought them in the past. But as far as finger foods, I'm lost. I thought about doing turkey hot dogs but I'm not crazy about a lot of the ingredients, so I went with Gerber meat sticks. They're not much healthier than hot dogs, but he eats one jar a week at most, spread over a few days. Other than meat sticks and purees Harry will eat pieces of whatever meat I prepare for the grownups.
Let me know what kind of meat you give your baby. I'm all ears!! Would pieces of low-sodium deli meat be a good option?
Sweet Potato Tots
Maybe not the healthiest option, but sweet potatoes are considered a super food and they're really easy to prepare. The sweet potato tots are a little big for his hands so I break them up for easy handling.
Keeping Harry gluten free for the first year has been tough. There are so many foods I know he would love that we're holding off on. At the grocery store a few weeks ago I saw some corn tortillas and was mad at myself for not thinking of giving these to Harry sooner. Spoon a little pasta sauce on a tortilla, top it with cheese and a little shredded chicken and microwave it for 30 seconds (you could also use the toaster oven for a crispier pizza). There are tons of different ways you can prepare tortillas for babies.
Stop pureeing your fruits and veggies and start giving your baby little chunks. I always try to cook a vegetable with dinner so Harry usually has some with us. Some of his favorites include canned green beans (my favorite kind!), tomatoes, zucchini and cauliflower. He was really liking broccoli until recently, when he ate everything on his plate except for the florets! In regards to fresh fruits, Harry likes watermelon, small chunks of apples and strawberries. I'm not a big fruit person so I don't think to buy a large variety at the store.
Here are some other finger food ideas.
- Frozen yogurt drops: freeze small spoonfuls of full-fat yogurt for your baby to eat
- Rice cakes
- Whole chickpeas or black beans
- Cereal: Cheerios, Chex, Rice Krispies
- Toast with hummus
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
Disclaimer: I am not a trained medical professional or licensed nutritionist. I take no responsibility for what you feed your children. These are merely suggestions based on what has worked for my son and others I have spoken with.