Five Great Finger Foods for Toddlers

Slices of mini pizza

By their first birthdays, most kids have begun to eat simple finger foods. It may be messy and a bit frustrating to watch, but self-feeding is an important developmental milestone. It encourages fine motor skills and dexterity, and builds self-esteem.

My two children have drastically different palates. I’ve got one carnivore who puts any caveman to shame and one starch fanatic who carbo loads like she’s prepping for the Boston Marathon. It can make meal preparation frustrating and time-consuming.

After much trial and error, I’ve compiled a few quick and simple finger-food meals that please just about everyone in the household. I’m not going to lie: I’ve been known to take down a few mini pizza slices or pop a few tortilla turkey roll ups into my mouth when no one was looking.

Here are 5 finger foods that are healthy, easy to make and even easier for toddlers to eat.

1. Mini Pizza Slices

Smother whole-wheat pita bread with marinara, shredded cheese and veggies, like broccoli, spinach or cauliflower (if you can get away with it!).  Lightly toast until cheese is melted and then slice into small triangles.

2. Ants on a Plank

Spread rectangles of whole-grain graham crackers  with all-natural peanut butter and top with raisins. If you’re concerned about peanut allergies, substitute peanut butter with cream cheese.

3. Veggies and Dip

Pair veggie straws or slices of fresh zucchini with a dip made from a small container of cottage cheese, a tablespoon of sour cream and half a packet of dried ranch dressing. Mix well and serve chilled. PS: Adults love this too!

4. Fancy Fruit and Yogurt

Slice small squares of fruit like cantaloupe, honeydew melon and strawberries, and stake each with a frilly toothpick. Serve with a side of yogurt for dipping. Toddlers are suckers for toothpicks. (Not sure about toothpicks for your toddler? Just make sure you’re watching.)

5. Tortilla Turkey Roll-Ups

Place a whole-wheat tortilla on a flat surface. Layer sliced turkey and cheese on top of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla into a tube and cut into several round slices. Secure with a toothpick if necessary.

Is your toddler a finger-food fanatic yet? Carnivore or herbivore?