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Tasty Finger Foods for Babies

  • Small pieces of grapefruit
  • Meat loaf or meatballs with applesauce for dipping
  • Whole-wheat mini pancakes or waffles, quartered, with syrup, jelly, yogurt, or leftover pureed baby food
  • Slivered cherries with cream cheese
  • Dr. Praeger's veggie pancakes
  • Amy's Snacks
  • Omelet with cheese
  • Soft tortilla with mashed black beans and sour cream
  • Toast with a thin layer of peanut butter (after 12 months; if your baby has an immediate relative with a peanut allergy, ask your doctor about when to start)
  • Egg or tuna salad on whole-wheat bread (after 12 months; finely chop veggies, if you add them)
  • Canned pitted black olives, cut up
  • Soft granola bars (like Nutri-Grain)
  • Bran muffin
  • Pita and hummus

Serving suggestions

Get the camera ready, have plenty of wipes on hand, and follow these simple guidelines from Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., to ensure safe snacking:

Before age 1, cut foods into tiny, bite-size pieces, about the size of a pea or your pinkie fingernail. Quarter grapes, slice blueberries, dice cooked carrots, break up crackers, and so on.

Once your child can gum and hold his snacks and has some more teeth (generally around age 1), cut foods into strips about the length and thickness of his pinkie finger.

Start with the single-food options to make sure your child doesn't have an allergic reaction. Once he's had meatballs and applesauce separately, for example, then he's ready to eat them together.

Peel apples, pears, and peaches before serving; remove the membranes from small orange or grapefruit pieces.

Cook all vegetables, pasta, and beans until soft. You should be able to mash them easily with a fork. Let them cool.

Dips and spreads (mashed sweet potatoes, cream cheese, fruit preserves) are a great way to sneak in extra nutrition.

Don't worry if each and every item you feed your tot isn't superhealthy. Sometimes the taste and texture experience is more important. For example, while Jell-O is pretty much void of nutrition, this is one texture he'll love.

Avoid egg whites, peanut butter, and honey until after age 1.

Stay away from these choking hazards: hot dogs, hard or gummy candy, gum, whole nuts, raisins and any dried-fruit pieces, popcorn, and seeds.

And the number one rule: Always watch your tot when she's eating any kind of finger food, even if it's something she's had a million times before.

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