When it comes to weaning the baby, it can either be a tremendously exciting experience (oh she loves this! Yay!!) or a stressful time of experimentation (is this baby ever going to like food?) Whether you choose to wean your baby by spoon feeding or baby-led weaning (also known as BLW), it doesn’t have to be stressful. If your child does not seem keen on solids in the initial days, stop for a while before trying again. The important thing is to enjoy as you experiment, allowing your child to explore the variety of flavours available to our palate.
To begin on this journey of introducing solids, here is a list of 10 finger foods that are not only quick to prepare, fun to experiment with but healthy as well. If it is not your preferred type of food, allow your baby to try it anyway. You may be surprised with what he or she may like to eat!
1. Carrot Sticks
Rich in beta-carotenes and Vitamin A, carrots provide our babies with anti-oxidants to protect their bodies. Choose carrots that have an overall firmness in the body and wash them thoroughly. While they can be eaten raw, you may choose to steam or bake them after slicing them into 2-inch long sticks.
2. Broccoli/Cauliflower Florets
Broccoli is filled with vitamins! Full of Vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, manganese and iron, it is an excellent finger food for children. Likewise, cauliflower is also rich in Vitamin C. Cut these into florets and steam them to keep the vitamins intact.
A great source of potassium and vitamin B, these are so convenient to pop into a bag and offer to the child as a snack or as a post meal dessert. Purchase the smaller ones as they are easier for tiny hands to grab hold of. The best thing about this is, there is no preparation!
4. Sweet Potato ‘Fries’
This starchy, sweet root vegetable is chockfull of dietary fibre, potassium and Vitamins A and B. Peel and slice them like you would for fries, and bake or steam them. When your child is older and ready for table food, you can season these with olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder before baking them.
An excellent source of Vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as iron, simply steam these vegetables and you have a quick snack for yourself and baby! When baby is ready for table food, butter them for a savoury flavour!
These root vegetables are not just good for being mashed or french fries, these starchy foods are filled with Vitamin C and potassium. Bake or steam the strips and introduce your child to the world of healthy potato!
Red, juicy and sweet, these seasonal fruits are packed with Vitamin C and fibre. They are small and are perfect for chubby little hands to grab and chew or suck on. A great tip a friend taught me is to buy these seasonal fruits and freeze them, without prior washing. Pop a handful into a bag straight from the freezer and head out with your kiddo!
Steam slices of these dietary fibre rich fruit and let your child munch on them. If baby is not keen on the flavour of steamed apples, give it to him/her raw. Do be careful not to feed apple cubes as they can be choked on easily if they are unable to chew very well.
These are great finger foods for everybody! However, as these are small, feed them to your child only when you are absolutely certain that he/she is able to chew and swallow small items of food. Rich in dietary fibre, these are great to help digestion should your child have constipation issues. Like strawberries, these fruits freeze excellently.
Why not plain bread but toast? Well for one, they keep longer and help some children when teething pains inhibit food intake. Simply slice or dice them and bake the bread and you have a bag of toast sticks or croutons. As this a store bought food, do check the nutrition labels on the packaging prior to your purchase.
So there we are, 10 great finger foods as you embark and continue your journey in introducing food to your bundles of joy. I think they sound great for parents too!
By Ruth Mak