Finger food for little ones

what finger food to give to your little one

Snacks are a wonderful and under-utilized resource by parents. Babies and toddlers have such small appetites that to meet all their dietary needs in 3 meals a day is impossible. This is where healthy snacks come in. Snacks need to be seen as part of the day’s intake and should have the following characteristics:

  1. They should include at least two food groups e.g. a protein food and a fruit.
  2. They should be simple to prepare and easy to eat e.g. a yogurt and a banana.
  3. They should be served in between mealtimes.
  4. Snacks should be transportable i.e. they should be able to be packed in a container and taken to grannies house, the shops or a doctor’s appointment.
  5. They should be nutritious and as fresh as possible.
  6. They should be weather appropriate e.g. a Fruit ice lolly is lovely for the warm summer months but not appropriate in cold weather.
  7. They can be homemade and do not need to cost a lot of money.

Snacks are also lovely opportunities for babies and Toddlers to learn to self-feed and also try new textures. Use snack times to introduce your baby to new foods and allow them to eat with their fingers.

You can serve up to three snacks per day. E.g. mid-morning, midafternoon and last kitchen call snack. The last kitchen call snack is very helpful for the mom that has a fussy eater or when your toddler is in the fussy eater stage. You can offer dinner and relax knowing that you will offer a small nutritious snack half hour before bed. This avoids the “I am hungry” moment before bed.

So what are some healthy snack examples?

Choose any two of these foods from the following groups to make up a healthy snack time as well as a liquid

Protein Starch Fruit Veg Liquid
Biltong

Jerky

(organic and low salt)

BreadCut into-slices- cookie cutter- squares Fresh fruit cut up Crudités
-cucumber
-carrots
Herbal tea
Dairy yogurt Snack breads like Provita or Ryvita Dried fruit Bite sized Frozen veg, steamed e.g.carrots, peas and corn Water
Soya yogurt Cracker breads Raisins Homemade ice tea
Cheese Rice cakes Frozen fruit Milk
Peanut or other nut butter Digestive biscuits Fruit ice lolly Smoothies
Crushed nuts (age appropriate) Rusks Fruit smoothie
Chicken/beef strips Mini muffins
Mini meatballs
-chicken
-ostrich
-beef
Milk smoothie

And how much:

Offer a Toddler handful each from the two food groups you have chosen above.

Happy snack time!

By Meg Faure