Choosing Beginner Finger Foods for Your Baby

baby eating finger food
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Once your baby is ready for finger foods, it will open up whole new dining opportunities. Your baby will begin exploring new foods on their own. Just be sure you follow health and safety tips as you prepare these easy and simple finger foods for your baby. Bon appetit!

Fruit Finger Foods

For fruits, if the fruit is already naturally soft and gum-mashable, you will not need to do anything more than cut it into small pieces that your baby can grab in their hands. Since babies may not have their pincer grasp yet, stick to finger-sized pieces they can pick up with their entire hand. Once babies have the pincer grasp (around nine to 10 months of age), you can dice foods into smaller pieces.

It probably would be advisable to peel these fruits as well. For some, like banana, you may want to leave some peel on for baby to use as a place to grasp. For firmer fruit, you will likely need to steam the food a bit in order to make it softer and safer for your baby to swallow. Here are just a few ideas for fruit finger food:

  • Bananas: Broken into pieces (easier to hold); cut in half with half the peel left on as a handle; mashed and turned into pancakes; diced
  • Peaches, plums, or pears: Raw or roasted and sliced, or diced
  • Melon: Cut into thin rectangles about the length of your pinky and 1/4 inch thick; wedges without rind; diced (for older babies)
  • Blueberries: Raw and lightly squished
  • Avocado: Sliced; mashed on pieces of toast about the size of your thumb; diced (for older babies)
  • Kiwi or mango: Sliced; diced (for older babies)

Veggie Finger Foods

With veggies, you pretty much will need to steam and soften them all at first. Depending on the vegetable, it may be necessary to peel them as well. Keep your chunks small enough and the food firm enough to maintain shape as your baby grabs onto it.

  • Sweet and white potato: Roasted or steamed and cut into wedges, or diced (for older babies)
  • Carrots: Steamed and cut into 2-inch strips; grated raw
  • Green beans: Steamed or roasted until super-soft
  • Squashes like butternut, pumpkin, and acorn: Steamed or roasted and sliced into 2-inch strips or wedges; diced (for older babies)
  • Peas: Cooked and slightly squished
  • Broccoli: Steamed florets; chopped (for older babies)

Other Finger Foods

You do not have to limit your baby to just fruits and veggies. You have lots of options in grains, dairy, and other foods. You might consider:

  • Lower-sodium cheeses: Cut into pieces about the width and thinness of a ruler
  • Tofu: Cut into thin pieces like cheese; crumbled; or cut into small pieces for older babies
  • Meats, including fish: Soft-cooked and cut into pieces
  • Dried cereals that melt in the mouth
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Pasta: Cooked until soft
  • Quinoa: Cooked and scrambled into eggs, stirred into yogurt, or used to top toast with a thin layer of peanut butter

You might be surprised to read some of the foods on this list, like eggs and fish. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its guidelines on when to introduce certain foods. Essentially, the only foods that should be delayed for all babies are those which are choking hazards and those which present food safety issues (like undercooked meat and honey). Talk to your pediatrician regarding their thoughts on when your baby can have each of these foods.

By Jennifer White
Jennifer White has authored parenting books and has worked in childcare and education fields for over 15 years.