Q & A: Finger Foods for Toddlers
Q: What do you recommend as finger foods for toddlers?
A. During roughly the first 6 months of food introduction (usually from 6-12 months of age) complementary foods to breastmilk or formula are intended more as a sensory experience than to replace the nutrition provided by milk. The food you are introducing to your child at this impressionable stage will forever affect his/her taste preferences, appetite, and lifelong health. Complementary foods are teaching them about new textures, tastes, and colours so it’s important to offer a variety of different finger foods in addition to the purees or solids you may have already introduced.
There are many convenience foods packaged and marketed to the parents of toddlers like yourself. Most of this packaged foods are high in sugar (disguised in rice crackers and teething biscuits), salt, and synthetic ingredients and colours that do nothing to enhance your child’s health. Some common finger foods have the same sugar content as a can of pop!
Finger food ideas to consider:
· Any cut-up age appropriate fruit or vegetable (e.g. pomegranate seeds, kiwi, raspberries, grapes)
· Kamut puffs, organic corn puffs, millet puffs
· Dry cereal made from the above grains as well as spelt, buckwheat, and amaranth
*to make chewing easier for those without teeth, soak the cereal in a little breastmilk, water, almond milk, coconut milk before serving
· Nuts and seeds (make sure the size of the nut or seed is age appropriate to reduce choking hazards)
· Hardboiled egg or scrambled egg
· Kale chips (make your own in 10 minutes!)
· Cubed chicken or turkey breast (seasoned as desired)
· Beans (white beans, navy, beans, kidney beans etc.) cooked, rinsed, and seasoned with a little salad dressing
Using the above finger foods will provide your little one with a mouthful of vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats, without the added sugar, colour, and additives that come in pre-packaged toddler snacks (and they’re easier on your budget too!)
Have a question for Dr. Carly? Email her.