When my daughter entered the finger food stage, I was elated. We could all sit down together to eat as a family. I didn’t have to airplane homemade baby food purees (so much butternut squash!) into her mouth between each bite I took. We could even eat some of the same foods. It was messy, but it was exciting.
It would have been easy to just let her live on the snack foods she immediately liked. But I wanted to make sure she was also eating nutrient-rich, real food that helped her grow. And truth be told, I didn’t want her to grow up like me – a kid who exclusively craves Pop-Tarts and whipped cream and doesn’t eat vegetables until college (only a slight exaggeration).
I do, however, work full-time, write, and spend time with my kids after daycare, so anything I cook MUST be easy. Because I love helping other busy moms, I’ve gathered a list of easy finger foods that my daughters enjoyed when they started eating solid foods.
Whether you’re trying to introduce a variety of foods, exploring baby-led weaning, or developing your baby’s pincer grasp and fine motor skills, these baby-friendly recipes are great options for first finger foods. They’ve also been proven to please hangry toddlers.
You know those lists on Pinterest that have 50 healthy recipes for babies and toddlers? I’m scaling down to 5. Nothing shows love to another mama like simplifying her life.
5 Simple, Healthy Finger Food Recipes You Can Make This Week
1. Banana Pancakes
Beat two eggs. Mash one banana. Stir the mash into the eggs. Add cinnamon.
Warm a skillet on medium and add 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Pour 1/3 cup batter into the skillet and cook for one minute on each side. Cut into small bites or let your toddler decide how to eat it.
2. Mexican Bowls
Cook or steam riced cauliflower (fresh or frozen). Add one can of rinsed, cooked black beans and a handful of shredded cheese. Stir in a little cumin and lime juice if you want more flavor. Stir in a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt (a nutritious substitute for sour cream).
This recipe makes multiple servings; store extras in the fridge.
3. Sweet Potato Balls
If you’re over plain-old pureed sweet potatoes, which often appear in baby food recipes, wrap a sweet potato in a damp paper towel, and steam it in the microwave on the potato setting. It will be hot, so wait 3-5 minutes before touching it. Slice open the potato and put the insides in a bowl. Stir in a little cinnamon and stevia or syrup.
Grab 1 Tbsp and roll it into a bite-sized ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
4. Mediterranean Crackers
Mix equal parts finely chopped (no choking hazards!) pitted black olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese. Stir in a little avocado oil. Spread hummus on a soft cracker (like a Ritz) and top with one spoonful of the olive mixture.
Repeat with the rest of the mixture or store in a glass container in the fridge.
5. Veggie Egg Cups
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop and steam 3 cups veggies (I like Steamfresh broccoli and bell peppers). Once they’re cooled, divide the veggies into muffin tin cups (silicone muffin cups make clean-up easy). Add 1 ¼ cups shredded cheese (cheddar or parmesan).
In a bowl combine 12 eggs, 1/4 cup milk of choice, and a little salt and pepper. Pour over veggies and cheese.
Bake for 24 minutes. This recipe makes 12 egg cups.
Three Tips to Simplify Your Life During the Finger Food Stage
- Get plates and bowls that suction to the highchair tray so they don’t end up on your floor every time you turn around.
- Double the recipes so you can join in.
- Babies don’t mind leftovers. Dirty your kitchen once and make 1-2 extra servings of all recipes for babies – keep them in the fridge to enjoy later in the week.
One Final Thought About Introducing Solid Food
If you’ve ever considered adopting a dog, now would be a good time. For the next few years, feeding your child will mean a lot of food is going to end up on your floor, and food for baby quickly becomes food for pup. Sorry, Mom: You’ve been warned.