Five Great Finger Foods for Toddlers
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. Iâ€™ve got one carnivore who puts any caveman to shame and one starch fanatic who carbo loads like sheâ€™s prepping for the Boston Marathon. It can make meal preparation frustrating and time-consuming.
After much trial and error, Iâ€™ve compiled a few quick and simple finger-food meals that please just about everyone in the household. Iâ€™m not going to lie: Iâ€™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!). Â Lightly toast until cheese is melted and then slice into small triangles.
2. Ants on a Plank
Spread rectangles of whole-grain graham crackersÂ with all-natural peanut butter and top with raisins. If youâ€™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 youâ€™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?
Morgan is a blogger and freelance writer living in Southern California with her two daughters and flock of backyard chickens. She is also the Associate Editor for mint.com and the Quicken blog. Her work has been featured on WSJ.com, Slate.com, The Huffington Post, and San Diego Home and Garden Magazine. In her spare time she enjoys fake shopping online, writing love letters to Ryan Gosling, and avoiding folding laundry.