Parents are always SO excited when their baby can finally start eating solid food for the first time.
But often, there’s always an issue with identifying WHEN that moment should be and WHAT types of finger foods for baby to give.
Today, we’ll be answering those two questions! So get your notepad out, and let’s get started!
13 Best Baby Finger Foods: Organic & Healthy Options
Adults don’t generally have a problem with consuming any type of food. Thanks to our full set of teeth, we can almost eat anything as long as it’s edible.
For babies, however, that’s going to be a different conversation.
If you want to get your baby started with eating solid foods, a good idea is to introduce them to finger foods for baby.
We’ve listed down some of the best and healthiest finger foods we’re sure you and your baby will love snacking together.
And don’t worry, we made sure to include different options from different food groups!
Beans are a great source of protein, next to meat. They’re soft and very filling — your baby will have a blast eating beans.
Beans already come in small pieces — you don’t have to worry about chopping them! Nonetheless, you can opt to mash the beans to make them easier to pick up.
With a variety of beans sold out there, you’ll never run out of options. You can get your baby to try different types of beans as possible!
No wonder they make one of the best first finger foods for baby. There’s so much variety!
2. Cereal Puffs
Cereal makes one of the best first finger foods for baby because they contain great nutritional value.
Because cereal comes in small pieces, they are SO EASY TO HOLD, and you wouldn’t have to worry about any choking hazards over a piece of cereal.
However, do note that you want to make sure you choose cereal PUFFS or at least a SOFT cereal.
ALSO worth mentioning is that you want to choose a cereal packed with the most nutrients your baby needs.
Always check the nutritional value before buying the cereal.
Who doesn’t love cheese? Whether it’s goat cheese, shredded cheese, cheddar cheese, or mozzarella, they all taste great! Yummy!
If you love cheese, you can bond with your baby by preparing an assortment of cheese as their finger food!
However, be careful with WHAT TYPE of cheese to give. You can’t just grab the first cheese you find in the grocery store.
A good rule would be to choose pasteurized cheese instead of a fancy blue cheese!
Whenever you’re giving cheese, always watch out if they develop some kind of dairy allergy. That way, you can take note of what types of food to avoid.
Eggs have a lot of nutritional value! Plus, it’s so easy to cook and prepare.
Regardless of HOW you want to cook the eggs, make sure it’s cooked all the way.
You don’t want to end up with uncooked portions, or your baby might end up feeling sick.
Freshly made scrambled eggs are delicious, and it’s something WE adults appreciate.
But for babies, wait until the eggs cool down so that it’s no longer hot to touch.
Fish also makes one of the best first finger foods for babies. It’s as soft as any other baby food, nutritious, and delicious!
Because of how soft fish is, you don’t have to worry about cutting it into small pieces. The texture is so soft it can easily be crushed by the hands.
The only problem with feeding fish is the bones. Fishbones are often too tiny — it’s so hard to get them out! It’s best to get BONELESS fish.
Fruits help you introduce different textures. There’s soft, mushy, firm, and more!
As a starter, start with ripe fruits. Once your baby can eat by themselves and start chewing, consider introducing fruits like papaya and strawberry.
Regardless of the fruit you choose, make sure to cut them into small pieces.
These naturally sweet fruits are always a good way to introduce the flavor of sweetness.
As babies grow, you can start introducing more foods to them, like meat.
Meat is a great source of protein, and it’s a different texture and flavor compared to fruits and vegetables.
It’s one of the best first finger foods for baby that have developed some teeth. You can let your baby practice their chewing skills!
You can start by giving some ground beef. Ground beef already comes in small pieces — your baby won’t have a hard time consuming it.
In terms of cooking, make sure to cook the ground beef thoroughly to avoid your baby getting sick.
The last thing you want to happen is your baby getting food poisoned.
You can also give some chicken, without the bones of course! You can chop some chicken breasts into small pieces and have a side of mashed veggies on the side.
If you’re someone who loves to bake, consider baking a delicious muffin.
Although there are a lot of muffins out there that are ready to consume, some of them come with a lot of added sugar or added salt.
Now, all this sugar isn’t the best for babies, especially if you could make a healthier version yourself.
If you plan to bake muffins, consider using whole-wheat flour. Instead of using sugar, consider an all-natural fruit sauce as a sweetener.
Some would even add whole grains, peanut butter, mashed bananas, and more!
We adults love our pasta al dente. It’s THE perfect way of cooking pasta, and there’s no contention about it.
For babies, however, you’ll have to overcook your pasta to make it softer and easier to chew.
You can start by serving plain pasta. Now we know that doesn’t sound too appetizing, but remember you’re just starting to get your baby used to mild flavors.
Later on, you can start being a bit more “adventurous.” You can cook the pasta in olive oil or even in tomato sauce!
Don’t forget the shredded cheese on top or some goat cheese, because we all know that’s what makes pasta a winner.
10. Teething Biscuits
Teething biscuits make a great treat for babies. Most parents would even recommend teething biscuits as one of the starting finger foods for baby because they help with teething.
They’re yummy and nutritious, making them one of the best foods as snacks.
In terms of texture, teething biscuits are usually firm to the touch but soften up pretty quickly!
Once your baby finishes eating their teething biscuits, make sure to check your baby’s mouth and check that no pieces got stuck inside.
Who doesn’t love toast? It’s so easy to prepare — everyone loves it!
Once your baby starts developing some teeth, they’d be able to start biting down on the bread.
If you want to add more flavor to the bread, you can spread some peanut butter or jam on top. It’s up to you!
Tofu is a GREAT source of protein! It’s also one of the best first finger foods for baby because of its texture.
Speaking of texture, there are different kinds of tofu out there. You’ve got soft, firm, and silken tofu.
If your baby isn’t used to chewing foods and can’t eat solids yet, you might want to opt for silken tofu. It breaks apart so easily!
Once your baby is used to holding and chewing, consider giving firm tofu chopped in small pieces as finger food!
And don’t worry, firm tofu is still VERY SOFT despite being called firm. So soft, your baby can practically smash it with their bare hands.
Once your baby reaches their toddler years, feeding them vegetables might be a big ordeal.
They start evading vegetables like the plague, thinking it’s probably something icky and disgusting!
Well, a good rule, if you ask us, is to start introducing vegetables at an early age.
There’s a variety of vegetables out there that makes one of the best finger foods for baby.
You’ve got broccoli, sweet potato, cucumber, frozen peas, carrot, and more!
If you’re not sure how to prepare the vegetables, you can start by steaming them and cutting them into small pieces.
You can also be adventurous by laying the vegetables on a baking sheet, drizzling some olive oil, and baking them!
And the results? A delicious and nutritious healthy snack everyone can enjoy.
When Can Babies Start Eating Finger Foods?
When can babies start eating finger foods? On their 5th month? 6th? 7th? 12th?
There’s no right or wrong answer, and it could be at any month!
Some experts would say that a baby’s age is not just the only basis. Instead, you’ll have to look for cues whether your baby is ready to start finger foods.
Babies usually start with drinking milk and then eventually transition to eating pureed food.
If you notice that your baby is getting used to eating pureed food, you might want to consider introducing finger foods for baby.
There is no exact age when babies should start finger foods, considering how each baby has different stages of development.
But on average, babies between seven to nine months old respond positively to finger foods.
Plus, it is usually at this baby’s age that they’ve already mastered their pincer grasp and can even start holding their food with two fingers.
What other signs should you look for?
- Your baby is comfortable sitting on the high chair and can control both their head and trunk
- They’ve mastered the pincer grasp and can hold things
- They start growing interest in foods being introduced to them without any problem
- They start bringing things to their mouth, making a motion of eating
- Your baby is comfortable with self-feeding
Don’t rush and take it slow. Your baby will eventually transition from being breastfed to eating finger foods for baby on their own.
How to Introduce Finger Foods to Your Baby Properly
Introducing finger foods doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In fact, it could be a pleasant and great experience for everyone!
But just because you’re starting to introduce solid foods doesn’t mean you’d have to forego their usual baby food and milk.
THAT’s a BIG NO-NO!
Finger foods are not alternatives to their usual milk and should NEVER be their main source of diet and nutrition. Not yet, at least.
So how exactly do you SUCCESSFULLY introduce finger food and make it a positive experience?
Well, here’s how you should do it!
1. Baby-Led Weaning
Some parents would introduce pureed foods to their babies even before reaching their sixth month.
There’s nothing wrong with this, and consider this as early exposure to “adult food.”
During the baby-led weaning process, parents would replace puree foods with finger foods.
At this stage, we recommend introducing single-ingredient foods. Or at least to a minimum, one to three types of fruits or vegetables at a time.
This limits your baby’s choice and prevents them from feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some pointers to help ensure the success of your baby-led weaning approach:
- Stick-shaped finger foods are great, especially if your baby has mastered the pincer grasp. They could hold on to the food themselves without being spoon-fed.
- Be mindful of the food’s texture. It should be soft, squishy, or even mushy! Nothing hard that would be a choking hazard.
- Watch out for signs that they are ready for self-feeding.
2. Watch Out for Any Allergic Reactions
As much as possible, you want to limit the types of finger foods you give at a time.
Besides the fact that it can overwhelm them, it can also help you determine if your baby is potentially allergic to different types of food.
At an early stage, you can already determine what types of foods you should be avoiding.
Some of the common food that can trigger allergies include the following:
- Seafood, especially crabs and shrimps
CAUTION: If you notice that your baby is allergic to certain types of food you’ve introduced, contact your baby’s pediatrician ASAP and ask what you should do.
3. Make a Breastfeeding Schedule
Consider finger foods as a prelude to the actual moment your baby can start eating solid food.
At this stage, you should already come up with a schedule of when your baby drinks breast milk and when they can eat finger foods.
Some parents would replace bottle feeding with one meal to get their baby used to solid food.
A typical schedule would look something like this, for example:
- Breakfast: Breast milk and some mashed food
- Lunch: Soft steamed or mashed vegetables or ground meat
- Dinner: Breast milk
As your baby starts getting better with their pincer grasp and is showing signs that they are ready to eat more, then you can start decreasing the amount of time they need to be breastfed.
Now, don’t rush things! More importantly, make sure your baby is getting enough nutrients throughout the feeding process.
Finger Food Safety Guidelines for Your Baby
1. Potential Hazards to Watch Out for When Feeding Your Baby Finger Foods
It’s VERY important to learn from the very start the different hazards you might face when it comes to feeding your baby finger foods.
We know this isn’t a subject most parents want to discuss because it’s scary and not fun.
BUT it is VERY VITAL to know what these hazards are so that parents know how to avoid them.
Some parents would have the unfortunate experience of their baby choking, not knowing what to do.
And when this happens, it’ll leave parents scared and too afraid to continue with this journey.
Choking occurs when something gets stuck in your baby’s throat. As a result, it cuts off their air supply, and they start having a hard time breathing.
Some would consider choking as a silent killer because you never really know when it’s happening unless you’re paying attention.
This being the case, we’ve listed down the different telltale signs to know if your baby is choking:
- Suddenly goes quiet
- Cannot cry or make a sound because of the food stuck
- Skin color is starting to turn blue
When any of these signs are present, BE ALERT and check your toddler.
The first thing you should do is to TRY dislodging the stuck food, or else your baby might end up unconscious or unresponsive.
You can perform a simple CPR, and things should be okay.
Luckily, you can eliminate the risk of choking. Here’s how you can do it:
- Avoid finger foods that are choking hazards (candies, nuts, etc.)
- Do not leave your baby unattended when they are eating finger foods
- Make sure your baby is sitting properly and not laying down while eating
- Check your baby’s mouth after eating to make sure there’s no more food inside
- Have your baby drink water or milk after eating
Babies often make gagging sounds, and that’s probably because food got stuck far back in their mouths.
Thanks to our body’s gag reflex, babies would be able to cough up the stuck food.
Plus, it’s also a good telltale sign for parents to know that there’s something wrong.
So how do parents know that their baby is gagging? Well, here are some of the signs to watch out for.
- Persistent coughing or hacking
- Your baby’s skin color starts turning a dark shade
- Your baby’s eyes start watering
When your baby is gagging, don’t let your emotions get ahead of you, and TRY to keep calm.
It’s a lot easier said than done, but keeping a calm demeanor keeps you level-headed and rational.
You won’t be all over the place trying to find a solution! So just breathe.
2. How to Start Feeding Your Baby Finger Foods
First-time parents don’t usually know HOW and WHERE to start when it comes to feeding finger foods.
You’ll get the typical questions of: “What should I do? Where do I begin? What should I feed?” And believe us, the questions don’t end there.
Indeed, the first time is always such a challenge and often a crucial stage. In time, you’ll get used to the whole process and even establish your rhythm.
We’ve listed some of the best tips we can give you to help make your baby comfortable with eating finger foods.
Use a Booster Chair or High Chair
Before you even give finger foods, make sure they’re comfortable with their position.
We recommend sitting your baby on a high chair or booster seat that provides great support for their hips.
Most high chairs come with a built-in tray where you can put your baby’s food.
All that’s left for you to do is prop your baby on the seat and start feeding!
Prioritize Introducing Soft Foods & Cut Them Into Small Pieces
Babies don’t have a full set of teeth yet, which is why it’s always best to start with something soft.
You can use a ripe banana, mashed sweet potato, scrambled eggs, pre-made food pouches, and many more!
Ideally, baby food should be soft enough so that even your baby can crush it with their hands. If not, then you might want to consider softening the food up a little bit more.
Another good tip is cutting down the food into small pieces to make it a lot easier to eat.
Don’t Put Too Many Finger Foods on the Table
We know you’re excited to feed your baby finger foods, and you probably want to go all out with the preparation.
You’ll start slicing up different fruits and veggies, and you probably can’t wait to find out what your baby will pick first.
Will it be mom’s favorite fruit? Or maybe dad’s? Oh boy, what an exciting first time!
BUT before you prepare a feast, STOP! As much as possible, keep the first time SIMPLE.
Prepare one to three different types of fruits or vegetables, nothing more.
Your baby might be overwhelmed with everything that’s on the table and end up feeling scared or confused.
Be Mindful of Your Baby’s Behavior
We can’t emphasize enough how vital it is for parents to listen or keep a close eye on their baby.
Babies can’t talk yet, which is why observing their behavior and watching out for cues is always important.
If your baby is unhappy with what’s going on, you’ll notice that they’ll be squirming in their seat and even start to cry.
Perhaps you’re doing something wrong, or maybe your baby is not yet ready.
It could also be the opposite, where your baby is more than happy to try out all the foods laid on the table.
3. How to Prepare Finger Foods Properly
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to preparing your baby’s finger food.
Truth be told, it’s all a matter of common sense, and it doesn’t take rocket science!
Each parent has their way of preparing their baby’s finger foods, and we’ve listed down some of the common methods below.
Hopefully, you can get a few ideas to keep you excited for the next time you’re making the perfect finger food.
Before you get the idea of frying finger foods for baby, DON’T!
When it comes to baby finger foods, the best cooking method would be to steam or roast the food.
It’s easy and one of the healthiest ways to prepare food.
The sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to choosing what food to cook. Regardless of what it is, make sure to cook it all the way.
REMEMBER: Baby food can’t be raw, too salty, or flavorful. Keep it simple!
Here are a few ideas you can try out:
- Steamed green beans
- Steamed ground beef
- Scrambled eggs
- Steamed golden beets
Sliced Into Small Pieces
Ideally, the younger your baby, the smaller slices you should make to avoid any choking hazards. A 2-3 inch sized apple slice is less likely to choke your 6-month-old child because of its size.
Babies who have started developing teeth can enjoy hard and new foods like fresh cucumber slices.
At this stage, your baby can pretty much do self-feeding, but with your guidance, of course.
They can gnaw on these slices and even have fun with them! You don’t have to worry about having to spoon-feed all the time!
Here are some of the best healthy options you can check out:
- Apple or cucumber sticks
- Hot dogs
- Cherry tomatoes
- Scrambled egg
Squished or Mashed
If you’re a beginner parent, then we’re sure you’ve already tried this method. This method is probably one of the best and safest out there!
You can mash finger foods for baby until they become soft and easy to snack on.
A good measure to determine if your baby’s mashed food is soft enough is if it can be crushed by your baby’s hand.
What type of finger foods for baby should you choose? The decision ultimately boils down to you.
Here are some of the tried and tested favorites:
- Steamed carrot sticks
- Sweet potato
- Apple puree
- Shredded cheese
- Black beans
- Mashed frozen peas
- Baby puffs
There’s a bunch more finger foods for baby you can squish or mash. Consider this as the first step to discovering the kinds of food your baby loves!
4. Foods to Avoid
Remember that when you introduce finger foods, it’s a two-way street.
YOU might be ready for this new transition, but before you do anything else, ask yourself, “Is my baby ready for this new change?”
In the beginning, finger foods would be something strange and unfamiliar for babies. Your baby will probably start wailing somewhere in between the process, and that’s okay.
But regardless of where you are in the process of introducing and feeding finger food, there are several points you need to consider:
- First, make sure to give your baby ONLY SOFT FOOD. If they don’t have teeth yet, just imagine the kind of struggle your baby will have to go through.
- Second, cut the food into small pieces to avoid any choking hazards. Your baby isn’t used to chewing yet, and they probably don’t know that they shouldn’t be swallowing the whole thing. To avoid this altogether, cut the food into small pieces. It’s as simple as that!
- And third, don’t let your baby eat finger foods that are too salty, sour, spicy, or anything TOO flavorful. Flavor is good, but too much of it is NOT GOOD for babies. Remember, your babies still have a sensitive palette. You need to SLOWLY get them acquainted with the different flavors instead of surprising them with it. Not a lot of foods are good for babies, and there are several foods out there you need to watch out for.
We’ve listed down some of the food items you need to avoid or be careful with:
- Hard fruits and vegetables like celery and carrots – Babies with no teeth will have a hard time eating this.
- Whole berries like grapes and blueberries – A potential hazard, especially if your baby swallows it whole.
- Hard nuts, candies, etc.
- Chicken or fish with bones on – Another choking hazard that is highly preventable.
- Honey – Not ideal for babies below one year old because of the risk of botulism.
- Undercooked meat – This may cause your baby to fall ill due to poor food preparation. Besides, a baby wouldn’t be able to tell between a medium-well cooked steak vs. a well-done steak just yet!
- Unpasteurized dairy – High risk for listeria.
- Junk food such as potato chips and candies – Too high in sodium or sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Finger Food Can I Give My 6-Month-Old?
Most parents are more comfortable introducing finger foods to their babies once they reach 6-months.
At this stage, some babies start growing teeth — giving them “solid” food wouldn’t be a problem.
So what’s the appropriate finger foods or the best finger food you can give your 6-month old baby? Here’s a list we’ve made for you.
- Slice of bread with jam or butter thinly spread on top cut to small pieces
- Cheese sticks
- Cucumber or carrot sticks
- Sliced fruits (banana, pear, apple, peach, mango)
- Sliced vegetables (broccoli florets, cauliflower)
- Strips of chicken
What Are the Healthiest Baby Snacks?
There are a lot of snacks out there you can give your baby, but not all of them are always the best.
Sometimes, these snacks aren’t the healthiest of the bunch out there and don’t give THE best nutrition.
If you want to make sure you get the most out of giving your baby some finger food, we’ve listed some of the healthiest snacks you should consider.
A baby’s main source of dairy is usually protein and milk. As an alternative, consider giving your baby some cheese cut into small pieces!
It’s packed with the same dairy and protein, just in solid form.
But be mindful of what type of cheese to give your baby. Don’t expect to be giving them a slice of blue cheese right off the bat.
Also, be mindful of the expiry of the food!
Fruits like apples and pears are always a favorite among parents. They’re packed with a lot of fiber and nutrition, good for you and your baby!
Fruits are easy to prepare, making them one of the easiest go-to healthy snacks. So easy, you don’t have to cook them at all.
Just make sure to cut the fruits into small chunks so you don’t end up with a choking hazard.
You can even make a delicious fruit smoothie for your baby if they’re having a hard time with starting solid foods.
Grab a slice of toast and spread a thin layer of your most delicious and healthy jam on top. We’re sure your baby will love this treat!
Some parents toast the bread before giving it to their baby, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
BUT, be mindful that not all babies may be able to bite through a toast of bread just yet.
If your baby doesn’t have teeth, toasting the bread might not be a good idea.
4. Plain Yogurt
A full-fat plain yogurt makes one of the best healthy snacks because it’s packed with a lot of protein, healthy fats, calcium, and more!
This tangy and cool snack will be a new flavor your baby will love.
What Finger Foods Can Baby Eat With No Teeth?
On average, babies can start eating finger foods by their fourth to sixth months. However, you need to be careful with choosing WHAT finger foods to give.
At 4 to 6 months, most babies don’t have teeth yet, which means you can only give them soft foods.
For a first-time parent, that might sound like a challenge.
But we’re here to tell you otherwise because there are a lot of delicious and nutritious soft finger foods you can give your baby with no teeth.
Bananas are ONE OF THE BEST soft fruits you can feed to babies with no teeth because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and potassium.
You’ll hardly have any fancy preparation. Just take the peel off, and slice the banana into small pieces, and you’re all good!
Did you know that you can give your baby some chicken? It’s a great way to introduce them to meat!
You can give your baby some roast chicken chopped into small pieces and a side of fruit if you want. Yummy!
Eggs are almost a breakfast staple in every household, and you won’t have to get out of your way to make them.
Many experts believe that introducing eggs to your baby’s diet at an early age helps prevent possible allergies to food.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes? They always taste delicious regardless of how you prepare them!
They’re a great source of vitamin C, protein, and beta-carotene!
You can bake them in the oven, drizzle some olive oil on top, and voila! Cut them into small pieces, serve, and you’re done!
Are you excited to get your baby started with the best finger foods out there? We bet you are!
Introducing finger foods to your baby doesn’t have to be a nightmare. As long as you know what type of baby finger foods to watch out for, you should be good!
We hope you enjoyed this article! We covered a lot of topics, so we’re sure we didn’t leave you hanging.
Show your love, and feel free to share this guide with fellow parents. Who knows, they might just be in the same foods situation as you!