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Beyond Cheerios: Baby-appropriate finger foods?

I'm losing creative steam here and need some ideas for healthful finger foods for my daughter to pick up and eat as snacks—she's ten and a half months, with only two (somewhat ineffectual) teeth. So stuff that won't make her choke. Cheerios are okay . . . any other melt-in-your-mouth but not too sweet cereals? She has all the usual teething things, homemade zweiback and fennel taralli, and sometimes we give her a hunk of homemade bread. We give her fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables (apples, frozen mango, frozen peas and green beans, jicama, etc.) in a little mesh feeding bag, but she much prefers to eat things without the bag now. I like the idea of the freeze-dried (or whatever they are) corn kernels I've seen in the grocery store, but would prefer something without preservatives and junk, something I could make at home. But all ideas are welcome!

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    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Wouldn't that be easy to choke on? (And it seems like it would be difficult to "make mushy" with only two teeth.....)

      1. re: cackalackie

        Anything raisin-size or larger can be a choking hazard so, yes, edamame would be. But, you can cut them up or cook thoroughly and mash them.

    2. Try blanching various vegetables. Boil or steam them until they are firm/soft and immediately put into ice water to stop the cooking. They will keep in the fridge for several days.

      1. pasta -- you can find all sorts of fun shapes to let her play with. We would just overcook noodles, tortellinis, etc. and give them to our daughter plain so they were easier to grasp.

        Rice crackers are good, too, and have that 'melt in your mouth' quality. We really liked the tamarind flavored rice crackers from Trader Joes, but just found out they've been discontinued.

        small chunks of avocado are good, but might be tough for her to grasp at this age.

          1. Will she gum stuff? Blueberries. The frozen wild ones are too small to choke on, I believe. The larger fresh ones can be cut in half. Grapes can be cut lengthwise to reduce choking hazard. Pieces of banana.
            Once mine started feeding herself like this, we pretty much gave her anything that we ate, but in small pieces. This included steak, pork chop and other tough items. We have not had any choking incidents. Of course your comfort level is the most important thing here.
            Ooh thought of another one that wouldn't be a choking hazard - grated apple. We gave ours small piles of this and she enjoyed it. Stains though.
            Cheese!

            1. Frozen waffles. The little dips serve as great drool cups when she's teething, too. Of course, there's an mess when they defrost, but .............

              1. Cheeze-Its fits little hands very nicely

                1. Not sure what the mesh feeding bag is. Reminds me of horses. Peas. Don't cook them just put some frozen peas in warm water and let them defrost. My older ones love to eat frozen peas as a snack.
                  Any fruit cut into appropriate sized pieces.
                  Cheese.
                  Fusilli noodles are very easy to pick up.
                  Cooked tortellinis cut into halves or quarters.

                  1. Mine is 6 months and we're just starting this, but from my first, I remember dried apple rings- which I'd attach with a pacifier strap so she couldn't lose them. Frozen waffles, bagels, peas and corn as well. I didn't even always cook the peas and corn.

                    We're using the mesh bag this time around and she's really liking it- I tried today with a frozen banana for her sore gums and she was really grooving on it. I plan to try with frozen peaches too. (also frozen pineapple and papaya if she likes those).

                    If you are doing dairy, try mixing melted cheese into rice and making little clumps of it that she can pick up easily but aren't choking hazards.

                    I also remember doing raisins, frozen blueberries, grapes cut into quarters, grated carrots, boiled/steamed sweet potatoes and rutabagas, a small piece of cooked corn on the cob (easy to grasp and fun to chew), tofu, grated cheese (gjestost was one of his favorites!), round shaped pastas that he could stick his finger through and eat off his finger, cut up meatballs and meatloaf, cut up chicken-apple balls, scrambled eggs, small pieces of muffins.

                    He inhaled all of that food as a baby but won't eat anything now, sigh. Good luck!

                    1. Forget no mess. You've got a kid, you've got a mess. Mine is almost 5 and you should have seen what I swept up from under her chair last night. I think more ended up on the floor than in her.

                      Other than tortellini which she still adores we basically gave her anything we had, cut small. Edamame were a real winner, avocado got rejected every time. Frozen bagels, still frozen, worked as teething rings. The cold helps to numb the pain. Just cook it soft, cut it up small, and serve as wide a variety as you can manage.

                      Oh, yeah. No honey until at least 1 year and no peanuts until 2 years. Good luck!

                      1. Envirokids cereals are good and not too sweet.

                        http://www.drugstore.com/qxb41061_333...

                        How about other baked goods, like quick bread and muffins, zucchini, banana, pumpkin, etc. All the veggies you've been putting in the mesh bags can be steamed/roasted. Whole Foods has a lot of good things--veggies sticks, freeze-dried veggies and fruits, baked fish sticks, baked french fries/tater tots. Oh, and baked sweet potato fries are really easy to make and nutritious. Annie's makes a good whole wheat mac and cheese.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: chowser

                          Annie's also makes bunny crackers- I frequently get the whole wheat or the cheese ones. I like that the cheese ones aren't covered in salt like goldfish or cheez-its are.

                          1. re: sweet ginger

                            I get the whole wheat cheddar bunnies for my kids. Annies has great products. I think the ww cheddar bunnies might be too crunchy for a 10 month old to eat, though.

                        2. My daughter lived on pancakes when she was that age. You can make a pancake out of nearly anything. I freely mixed wheat flour, wheat germ, rice flour, and cornmeal. I added pureed or chopped fruits and veggies. If she needed a protein boost I added powdered milk, pureed tofu, or soy flour. After cooking them up, I'd cut them into pieces for her to eat with her fingers, and freeze any extras for later.

                          Favorite combinations: Cornmeal with finely chopped broccoli and cheddar cheese, and rice flour with berries.

                          1. Cereals: cheerios, chex, kix, flakes from raisin bran, corn, special k
                            Beans: canned work well, white, black, pinto, garbanzo
                            Fruit: banana, kiwi, mango, 1/2 grapes
                            Starches: bagels, crackers of every variety, rice and beans, tiny pasta cooked in chicken broth with carrots and celery.

                            Just wait until baby gets a little older (mine is 13 months) and doesn't want you to do the spoon feeding. I sure wish I didn't have wall to wall carpet!
                            Veggies: cooked to soft consistency, almost anything
                            Meats: ground with some filler to soften it up (meatballs, dumplings), thin sliced cold cuts (watch the sodium content), softer whole cuts (rotisserie chicken, roast pork tenderloin, fish fillets)
                            Cheese (oh yeah - I first got mine to eat broccoli mush by stirring in cream cheese - thin slices or small chunks - don't shy away from the strong flavors - give baby a chance to tell you what she likes)

                            1. Check out www.justtomatoes.com
                              Just Peas are supposed to be popular with kids. I love Just Corn, myself.

                              1. These are all great ideas—thank you! She eats pretty much anything we eat for actual meals spooned into her mouth—ground or smashed or cut up, of course—and also just plain-ish fruit and vegetable, fish, and meat purees, but I'd been stuck on the in-between snacks (which, honestly, are more for pacification and busy-making than nutrition purposes; messes I don't mind, although in restaurants it's kind of a pain). I hadn't even thought of pasta, because my husband and I don't tend to eat a lot of it ourselves, and tiny meatballs (chicken and apple would be nice indeed) is pure brilliance. She just got the second tooth last week, and I'm starting to notice just a bit more proficiency on the "chewing" front, so little bites of cheeses should be possible now too. (I think she'd love gjetost as much as I do.) Completely inspired here. Thanks again.

                                1. my daughter used to love plain bread sticks.
                                  sometimes she would dip them in apple sauce.

                                  1. my 2 year old is addicted to "pirates booty" those all natural puffs. she likes the cheese and the spinach/kale.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Kashi has a new cereal called Mighty Bites. They're really, really good, and have a similar enough texture to Cheerios that they should adapt easily.

                                      1. We raised a broccoli lover by offering teeny tiny steamed florets from the earliest.

                                        1. Pirate and Veggie Booty.......virtually impossibleto choke on.

                                          1. I give my 9mo toast, broccoli, tofu, and he loves mozzerella string cheese

                                            1. I bought a couple of those mesh bags. In theory, they sounded great...no fear of choking, but my son actually seemed frustrated with them. You can only suck on an apple for so long. Anyway....my son has done well with green onions, green peppers, oranges, crusts from very dense loaves of bread (it helps that my mother-in-law bakes the best bread) . Another thing that I have been happy with is my pressure cooker. I throw in a bunch of veggies and cook them until they are soft. Then I can give him a variety of nice, sofft veggies that are still healthy.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: donna5657

                                                What are these mesh bags that everyone keeps mentioning. I'm out the finger food stage with all my kids but What Are They!?

                                                1. re: bolivianita

                                                  Made by Munchkin: http://www.babysupermall.com/main/pro...

                                                  You can put whatever kind of food in it (apples, carrots, frozen vegetables, jicama, grapes) and a baby can chew on it without any large pieces escaping. It was a lifesaver on a long plane ride over the holidays (when my daughter was 9 months old), then it fairly quickly outlived its usefulness. Still, for a month and a half or two months it was well worth the investment.

                                                  1. re: Liana Krissoff

                                                    Wow that is so much is weirder than I thought it would be!

                                              2. We have a 10 month old with 4 tooth up front top and 4 front bottom. He does well with bananas, pieces of chicken, and canned green beans.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: rcheng

                                                  Ok, so he's no longer taking the canned green beans and the chicken is iffy. He loves mango, watermelon, cantelope, and honeydew.

                                                2. Avocado. Slightly under-ripe so that it doesnt completely mush in hand.
                                                  Mango cubes
                                                  Fried Plaintains

                                                  I am told that roasted beets are loved. But I dont want to clean that up so I dont make them.

                                                  1. Our 10 month old is inhaling melba toast spread with cream cheese, I think it's keeping him alive, and any kind of bean - black beans,kidney beans, green beans, green lentils. I started picking them out of my soup or chili and now have just simmered some for him with crushed tomatoes, onions and grated zucchini. He eats them by the handful off his tray.
                                                    I steamed and froze chunks of apples and sweet potatoes and can just defrost them in the fridge or on his tray on those days we don't have soft pears or bananas. He's also enjoying kiwi.

                                                    1. Black beans were my daughter's first favorite food--straight out of the can.

                                                      Gerber makes fruit and veggie "puffs" that dissolve and so are not a choking hazard. I used them on road trips, mostly.

                                                      1. Just an update: She's got four teeth now! So she does really well shaving/biting pieces off a wedge of apple or pear, and can eat much of the stuff that we eat, in smaller chunks, or just mashed a bit with a fork. One of her favorite snacks now is cubed extra-firm tofu. LOVES it. Thanks so much for all the suggestions. Oh, and the freeze-dried fruit and vegetables are pretty useful too: good for traveling, or when she goes to the babysitter's house for an afternoon, or if we go to a (casual! always casual!) restaurant and we don't want to make a mess giving her our own food. They don't have any additives, either, which I didn't know before.