The Best Finger Foods for Babies

By Kristen Fisher
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Between seven and nine months of age, most babies are ready to try feeding themselves finger foods. This is a skill that takes some practice, but it's an important one, as it gives your baby a chance to exert her independence, and helps her develop her fine motor skills and coordination, according to BabyCenter. Offer your baby a variety of finger foods, making sure they're small and soft enough to prevent choking.

Cereal

Many dry cereals are just the right size for little fingers to grasp, and they deliver whole grains and vitamins in a bite-size package. Choose small cereal shapes, such as O's, that are low in sugar, made with whole grains and will melt easily in your baby's mouth.

Fruit

Ripe fruits are the perfect texture for babies just learning to feed themselves, and they're easily cut into tiny cubes. Try ripe bananas, peaches, strawberries, watermelon, mango, cantaloupe and avocado; just be sure to remove skins and seeds from the fruit before serving.

Pasta

Pasta makes a quick and easy snack, and can be cooked for an extra minute or two to ensure it's soft enough for your baby. Try small, easy-to-grab shapes like ditalini, or cut larger shapes like rotini and penne into small pieces. Plain pasta is great for babies who are still exploring new foods, but you can also try stirring in tomato sauce or butter and parmesan cheese too add flavor and variety to the meal.

Bread

Lightly-toasted bread can be prepared with an almost endless assortment of spreads, and is quickly cut into tiny pieces with the help of a pizza cutter. Try topping your baby's toast with butter, fruit or vegetable puree, cream cheese or low-sugar jam. Top a whole-grain tortilla with black or refried beans, sprinkle on some shredded cheese and microwave before cutting to create a quesadilla fit for a baby.

Vegetables

Like fruit, vegetables are a great way to get your baby to try new flavors and textures, although many vegetables need to be cooked to make them soft enough for a baby. Cook potatoes, yams, carrots, broccoli, green beans and squash until soft and cut into tiny pieces. Well-cooked peas are another healthy finger food for babies, since they're already the perfect size.

Beans

Children often shun beans, but introducing them at an early age can help your baby develop a taste for these fiber and protein-packed legumes. Cook black, kidney, pinto or cannellini beans until they're soft enough to be easily squished between your fingers. You can serve them plain or toss them with a small amount of olive oil or butter.

About the Author

Kristen Fisher is a freelance writer and editor with professional experience in both print and online media. She has published articles on a wide variety of topics including health, fitness, nutrition, home and food, and her work has appeared in "Connections Magazine" and on Lifescript.com. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology.