Finger Food Ideas
The first six months of food introduction (usually from six to 12 months of age) are intended more as a sensory experience than
to replace the nutrition provided by breastmilk and/or formula. Complementary foods teach your child 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. Babies and children love flavour (just like adults!), so don’t be afraid to add seasonings and spices including garlic, onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, tumeric, etc. Taste your child’s food and chances are, if you like it, so will they.
There are many packaged convenience foods marketed to the parents of babies and toddlers like yourself, however know that most of these convenience ‘first foods’ are not necessary for your child. Most of these 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 commonly marketed and advertised finger foods have the same sugar content as a can of pop!
Finger food ideas to consider:
• Any fruit or vegetable (e.g. pomegranate seeds, kiwi, raspberries, grapes). Just check the size of the fruit or veggie is age appropriate to reduce choking hazards. To increase calcium and protein use hummus for a dip.
• Kamut puffs, organic corn puffs, millet puffs (they can be given alone and dry, or be mixed with breastmilk, formula, or a fruit/vegetable puree to enhance the taste).
• Dry cereal made from the above grains as well as quinoa, spelt, buckwheat and amaranth (to make chewing easier for those without teeth, soak the cereal in a little breastmilk, water, almond milk or coconut milk before serving).
• Toast made from quinoa, buckwheat, and pumpernickel with a peanut or almond butter for extra healthy fat and protein.
• Nuts and seeds (check the size of the nut or seed is age appropriate to reduce choking hazards).
• Hardboiled 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.
• Sweet potato fries (make your own and season with cinnamon and/or nutmeg) – they also taste good cold too.
The food you are introducing to your child at this impressionable stage will forever affect his/her taste preferences, appetite, and
lifelong health. Always check the size of the food you offer your baby to prevent choking. 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.
Dr. Carly Wendler is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor with a special interest and passion for perinatal health. She offers a range of naturopathic services to her community and patients including well pregnancy visits, well baby visits, and treatment for all conditions or concerns related to moms, babies, and families. Visit www.drcarlywendler.com and www.wvchirogroup.ca.