Here’s a simple list to get your baby started on appropriate finger foods for both babies and toddlers. Helpful for those feeding children of different ages at home!
When Lily was about 4 months old I decided I was going to wait to start solid foods with her [here’s the thinking behind my decision]. Then once she hit 6 months of age I gradually started a mixed approach to feeding: some purees and some finger foods— otherwise known as baby led weaning. Because she had a strong pincer grasp [the ability to hold and pick up things between one’s thumb and forefinger] and was able to bring food and utensils [messily] to her mouth, I knew she’d have fun trying some finger foods. And boy was I right! I should also note that now that she’s 8 months old, she’s given up on purees almost altogether [minus things like yogurt, hummus, etc.] because she sees her big brothers eating REAL pieces of food. That girl is too smart for her own good!
Are there more than the amount of finger foods I listed that are age-appropriate for babies and toddlers? Of course! Essentially I’m sharing a list of what foods are always in our grocery cart that help me feed my hungry baby and toddlers. And since I’m practicing what I preach and want everyone in the family to eat the same foods/meal, here’s what my toddler duo and Ms. Lily are currently being offered [and enjoying from bite to bite]. And yes, it’s what I’m eating too! I just tend to add things like hot sauce to my plate!
Some of these foods listed aren’t soft, like a cucumber slice, but Lily’s enjoying “gumming” the cucumber and it’s easy for her to hold. And for foods like a carrot stick I’ve steamed so they are softer for her to “chew.” Chew said loosely because she has five teeth. Also consider when cooking foods like veggies or protein options for your baby and toddler, do so EXACTLY how you would cook them for yourself. Some softer fruits, veggies, and proteins don’t require cooking and you can leave as-is, especially if you are going to be enjoying some yourself. Flavor, spice, seasonings, etc. Just go easy on the red pepper flakes!
As always, NEVER leave your baby or toddler unattended while they are eating. AND just because I fed my then 6 month old [now 8 month old] these foods doesn’t mean your 6 month old is ready. In my complete guide to feeding starting solids and EBOOK on feeding small children, I go through all of the signs you should be looking for to make sure your baby is ready for solid foods. Don’t rush it. Oh and don’t stress about the mess. Because things only get messier from here on out!
Banana [cut in half, then lengthwise]
Green Beans [steamed or roasted]
Sweet Potato [roasted]
Baby Carrots [steamed or roasted]
Potato Wedges [roasted]
Zucchini [steamed or roasted]
Cauliflower Florets [steamed or roasted]
Broccoli Florets [steamed or roasted]
Ground Beef [crumbles]
Scrambled or Hard Boiled Egg
Peanut Butter [spread on bread or mixed in oatmeal]
Yogurt [eaten with fingers]
Hummus [spread on strips of bread]
Penne Pasta [well-cooked]
Whole Wheat Bread [strips- with peanut butter or melted cheese]
Quesadilla [small wedges]
Oatmeal [eaten with fingers]
French Toast [strip]
Yogurt [with or without spoon- it’s messy!]
This photo depicts the later stages of babyhood and early stages of toddlerhood and how I combined the meals for that transition. Soon enough those finger foods can become bigger pieces that toddlers can pick up with utensils OR their little fingers too!
If you’ve gone the finger food route with your baby, what are some of his/her favorites?
Interested in learning more about baby led weaning? Then you might like my friend Katie’s personal story as to how she got her babies started on solids without purees! I’ve been getting a lot of my inspiration from Katie’s Facebook and Instagram posts. I think Lily would love to have a seat at their table!