When it’s time for your baby to start eating solid foods, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests slowly introducing fruits, veggies, and meat one at a time to gauge baby’s reaction to each new food. Here’s our list of safe finger foods to gradually introduce into your child’s diet.
Start with: Baby O’s
What: Baby cereal “puffs” or O-shaped cereal
Tip: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests buying baby-specific cereals with the extra nutrients your baby needs.
Start with: Bananas
What: Diced bananas
Tip: Cut bananas into small pieces so little mouths won’t choke. Other soft, ripe fruits are also safe as you start feeding your child solid foods.
Start with: Sweet Potato
What: Cooked, diced sweet potato
Tip: Babies naturally like sweeter veggies like sweet potatoes. KidsHealth.org lists a tip for serving vegetables: Steam or bake them instead of boiling to retain more of the nutrients.
Start with: Avocado
What: Cubes of avocado
Tip: The soft texture of avocado makes it a perfect snack while your little one is still learning to chew. Cut the avocado into small cubes before serving.
Start With: Chicken or Meat
What: Soft chicken or meat
Tip: Pick soft chicken or meat. Puree it; when your baby is 12 months or older, you can serve her small chunks of meat.
Move to: Peaches or Pears
What: Dices of very ripe peaches or pears
Tip: Dice very ripe peaches or pears before handing them to baby.
Move to: Tofu
What: Diced tofu
Tip: Dice tofu into small squares, but remember not to force it if your baby won’t eat certain foods. MayoClinic.com suggests trying repeatedly — the exposure will help you introduce a variety of foods into baby’s diet.
Then finally: Whole-Grain Bread
What: Cubes of soft, whole-grain bread
Tip: Take slices of whole-grain bread, cut them into cubes, and get rid of those hard crusts.
Then finally: Pasta
What: Small, cooked pasta
Tip: Small pasta noodles like spirals or macaroni should be well cooked. Parents can start introducing pasta during a baby’s fifth or sixth month.
Then finally: Hard-Boiled Egg
What: Chopped, hard-boiled egg
Tip: The American Academy of Pediatrics says there’s no evidence that avoiding eggs during early childhood will prevent a food allergy, so go ahead and chop a hard-boiled egg into small pieces for your baby.
Then finally: Graham Crackers
What: Plain graham crackers
Tip: Break crackers into small pieces so they’re easy for your baby to eat.
Then finally: Vegetable Casserole
What: Small pieces of vegetable casserole
Tip: Start with pasta and add marinara sauce and a vegetable or two, such as chopped broccoli and asparagus.
Other first finger foods
Remember that you don’t have to stick with one or two options—there are a wide variety of foods that little eaters can enjoy. And since experts suggest that repeated exposures to flavors can help reduce picky eating later on, it’s good to include a range of naturally sweet, savory, and bitter flavors. Here are more safe first finger foods to try:
**Baby rice crackers
**Blueberries, very soft and halved
**Beans, cooked until very soft
**Broccoli, chopped and steamed
**Butternut squash, cubed and steamed
**Cauliflower, chopped and steamed
**Fish, steamed or poached in broth or water without added salt, with bones removed, and flaked into small pieces. (Choose low-mercury options that are high in healthy fats like wild salmon, rainbow trout, or tilapia.)
**Goat cheese, crumbled
**Green beans, chopped and steamed
**Ground beef, cooked without salt
**Potatoes, cubed, tossed with olive oil, and roasted in a 400 degree F oven on a baking sheet for 22 to 25 minutes or until very soft
**Rice, well-cooked, plain or mixed with shredded cheese to help it hold together
**Shredded whole-milk cheese
**Tomatoes, peeled and cubed
**Yellow squash, cubed and steamed
**Zucchini, cubed and steamed
First Finger Foods to Avoid
Avoid any hard foods that can snap and cannot be squished between your fingers, such as raw carrots or apple slices, as well as whole nuts, popcorn, baby carrots, whole hot dogs, whole grapes, and honey.
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