Starting your baby on finger foods can be thrilling but it can also be an overwhelming and stressful experience. Babies imitate what they observe others do. When they observe how their family eats, they want to do the same. Weaning often begins with smooth purees, textured mashes, and eventually finger foods as the baby transitions into the realm of real food. The first step toward your baby utilising their small little hands to eat is for them to eat little pieces of food. Fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination are also improved with finger foods. As a result, you must offer finger foods when your baby is ready. Many parents are afraid of choking, are unsure when to begin, and are at a loss for what to do. Here are great finger foods ideas and recipes for finger foods for your baby to start with.
What are finger foods?
Finger foods, often known as titbits or munchies, are little bite-sized foods that newborns can pick up and consume on their own. Finger foods are an excellent way for kids to fill their small tummies and acquire energy. Many mothers look for these foods to make their kids happy. (Baby’s first foods: How to introduce solids?)
When to introduce finger foods to your baby?
This will be different for all babies, but it’s usually between 8-9 months of age. On the other hand, observing your baby will tell you when he or she is ready.
- Reaching for the food while you feed them, taking the bowl or spoon, placing the spoon in their mouth, and fussing when they see you eat (because they want in!) are all signals they are ready.
- Another sign that a baby is physically ready to attempt finger foods is his or her ability to sit independently. (Child development: 7 foods that help babies in sitting)
It will be difficult at first since toddlers’ weak hand-eye coordination and easy distraction make for a lot of mess when they eat finger foods. Your baby will pick up food in his/her hands and chuck it about, with just a small amount of it making its way into his/her mouth. They will eventually learn to grip the food using their thumbs and forefingers. This is known as a pincer grasp and is a fine motor ability.
How to introduce or prepare finger foods to your baby?
Recipes for finger foods for babies may be given in a variety of forms. ( Check 6-month baby food chart)
- Offer finger foods that are easy and safe for babies: You want to give your infant food that is both safe and simple to pick up and eat. Depending on your child’s age, this will differ.
- Provide soft foods: Finger foods should be soft enough to squish between two fingers. Your baby’s first foods should be soft so that they can gnaw, suck, chew, and move the food about their mouths effortlessly.
- Try different cooking methods: Some items, such as mangos, bananas, and avocados, are already soft enough for a baby to eat on their own. Other hard fruits and vegetables must be cooked in one of four ways: roasting, steaming, sautéing, or boiling. All of these can alter the texture and flavour of a dish.
- Try different serving sizes and shapes: Cut meals into 2-3 inch strips for babies 6-9 months, about the size of two adult fingers, to make it easier for them to utilise their palmar hold on (involves all four fingers curling around food, and the thumb tucked within the palm). You may slice meals into little “pea” size pieces for babies 9-12 months to practise on using their pincer grasp (using the tip of the thumb and the index finger to pick up pea-sized foods).
How much should I offer?
Many parents are concerned about whether or not their children are eating enough. When it comes to purees, it’s simple to see what’s been eaten, but when it comes to finger foods, it’s a bit more hazy, and you’ll discover pieces of food on the floor or down the chair. Allow your child to choose how much they want to eat. They will gradually regulate their intake and stop eating when they are full. Allow them to self-feed at their pace. A well-balanced recipes for finger foods can ensure that your baby is getting the proper amount of the essential nutrients. (Weaning for babies from breastfeeding: How to do it?)
What are the best finger foods ideas for babies?
Mothers must constantly strive to provide nutritious finger foods to their children. It’s also a good idea to offer them food that can be broken into little pieces and cooked till soft so that they can chew and digest it easily. If you have any concerns regarding food allergies, talk to your doctor before beginning with finger foods. Let’s take a look at a few of the best finger foods ideas for babies:
- Fruits are great finger meals since they are so healthful. Banana, mango, papaya, muskmelons, watermelons, sliced grapes, kiwi slices, and apple slices can all be used. You can give all of these fruits together in tiny amounts or one at a time.
- Green peas, cauliflower florets, beans, carrots, and pumpkins, steamed or cooked with a touch of salt
- Vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes can also be baked and then sautéed in ghee to increase the flavour.
- A flavour for raw veggies may be provided by thin tomato wedges and extremely thin cucumber slices.
- Corn that has been boiled and baby corn that has been steamed can also be served.
- The little tot will be able to manage well-cooked spaghetti spirals sliced into small pieces.
- Cut hard-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs into small pieces and serve. Please keep in mind that allergies should be discussed with your doctor. At eight months, egg yolks can be offered, while egg whites should be presented after a year.
- Beans, which are high in protein and other nutrients, can also be boiled, well-cooked and served.
- You may also try making your own nutritious nuggets and vegetable-based fries at home.
5 Best Recipes for finger foods :
These are some amazing recipes for finger food to try with your kids. Cut them up into little pieces that your baby can handle.
1. ROASTED SWEET POTATO WEDGES/ FRIES
- 1 – Sweet potato (small)
- 2 tsp – Oil/ Ghee
- Peel the sweet potato and cut them into wedges or fries shape.
- Pre heat oven for 5 min at 200 celsius.
- Toss the wedges in drops of ghee or oil.
- Place the wedges on a baking dish, bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Healthy sweet potato wedges or fries is one of the best recipes for finger foods to babies.
2. Apple and banana muffin
- 1 – Egg or 2 tbsp chia or flax seeds powder soaked in 6 tbsp warm water till it becomes lumpy
- 2 – Mashed Banana
- 1.5 cup – whole wheat flour or almond flour
- ¾ tsp – Baking soda
- 1 – Small apple cut in small chunks or puree
- Preheat the oven at 175 Celsius for 5 min.
- Mix eggs/ chia or flax paste, banana in a bowl.
- Add flour, baking soda, apple chunks or puree to the bowl and Mix well.
- Divide batter into muffin pan or moulds. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and serve as finger foods.
3. Pumpkin pancake
- 1/2 cup – Jowar flour, Bajra flour
- 1/4 cup – Pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp – Ghee
- 2 tsp – Cinnamon powder
- 1/4 cup – Milk/ Nut milk
- Mix the jowar, bajra, pumpkin puree, cinnamon powder and ghee in a bowl.
- Add milk and mix well to form slightly thick batter.
- Heat the pan and add a ladle of batter and cook on the medium flame.
- Allow it to cook on the both sides for 30 seconds and serve as finger foods cut in different shapes.
4. Oats cookies
- 1/3 cup – Semolina
- 1/2 cup – Jowar/ wheat flour,
- 1/4 cup – Oats and melon seeds
- ¼ tsp – Cinnamon powder
- 1/3 cup – Milk/ Nut milk
- Take a bowl and add all the dry ingredients into it. Gradually, add milk and make a firm dough.
- Take a big ball of dough.
- Roll in between two baking/parchment papers.Preheat oven for 5 min.
- Place rolled cookie with baking sheet on the middle rack. Bake as a single piece at 200 degree celsius for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out.
- Cool on rack. Once completely cool, break the cookie into different shapes and serve as finger foods.
5. MILLET APPAM WITH BOTTLE GOURD
- 1 cup – Gram flour (Besan)
- 1 cup – Sorghum flour (Jowar ka atta)
- 1/2 Cup – Carrot (Grated)
- 1 cup – Bottle gourd (Grated)
- 1/2 cup – Corn (Boiled)
- Water (if required)
- Put gram flour and sorghum flour in bowl.
- Add Grated bottle gourd, carrot and boiled corn. Mix all the ingredients well and keep it aside for 15-20 minutes (Add water if needed to make a thick paste).
- Grease the appam pan with some drops of oil. Once heated pour spoonful of batter in each mold.
- Cover and cook on medium flame. After 3-4 minutes flip over each appam and cook from other side for 2 minutes.
- Take out on a plate and serve as fingerfoods for babies.
Finger foods to avoid:
Some meals, depending on how they’re cooked, can put your infant in danger of choking, so it’s best to wait until your kid is developmentally mature, which may not be until 2-4 years of age for some foods. Here are some of the finger foods ideas that you should avoid:
- Fruits and vegetables that are hard and uncooked
- Large chunks of fruits and vegetables
- Remove the seeds from plums, peaches, and watermelons. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds should not be fed to children since they might become lodged in the windpipe and create major difficulties.
- Giving whole nuts should be avoided.
- Popcorn and pretzels are two foods to stay away from.
- Chewing gum and other foods that are similar to jelly should be avoided.
- Don’t feed candy or marshmallows.
- Raisins should not be eaten.
- Unroasted bread
- Avoid sweets, salty foods and junk foods like potato chips and other fatty foods.
What precautions should you take when feeding finger foods?
Make sure your child is seated appropriately in a high chair. It’s beneficial to take a seat and pay attention to the infant as he or she eats. It is also beneficial to sit and eat with the infant. Here are some helpful hints:
- Self-feeding is likely to be a mess at first, with food spilled everywhere. Your youngster, on the other hand, will gradually learn to place food in his mouth. So be patient, and serve him less food to reduce waste. Depending on how hungry he is, the amount can be increased.
- Remove all seeds and peel the fruits.
- Choking-causing foods should be avoided.
- Prepare foods that are low in salt and sugar.
Coming up with fascinating recipes for finger foods for your child may appear to be a difficult task. You may, however, get creative and play around with the meals your youngster has previously been exposed to. This will also provide your baby with the opportunity to try a range of foods. Simply follow some of the following guidelines to ensure that the recipes for finger foods you pick or prepare for your tiny tot are soft and easy for him/her to chew and digest.
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