Baby finger foods have long included Cheerios, bits of soft fruit, cooked peas, or any other soft or small regular household food. But in the last few years, all sorts of packaged finger foods for babies have come onto the market — puffs, rice wafers, fruit snacks, and “yogurt melts” — to name a few.
So are these products better for your baby? Not really. Here’s why:
- They are highly processed, which just means they’re compilations of tons of different ingredients, as opposed to real, wholesome foods.
- All of them contain sugar. And there’s just no need to give your baby sweetened foods, since right now they’re just as happy with unsweetened. (God knows this won’t last!)
- Baby finger foods are much more expensive than regular foods that are suitable for babies.
Giving your baby these foods isn’t bad, it’s just not necessary when there are so many other options. [Note: I do give these to Lucy, but I save them for “emergencies” a.k.a. when we’re in the car and she’d rather not be, when we’re on an airplane and only novel things will keep her entertained, etc.]
So what are some healthier baby finger food options?
- Puffed rice or puffed kamut cereals. These serve the same purpose as “puffs” but only have one ingredient each (whatever grain you choose is the one ingredient).
- Freeze-dried veggies and fruits. Crunchies, Just Tomatoes, Little Duck Organics are brands that can be found nationwide. Varieties good for babies include peas, corn, blueberries, tomato bits, as well as mangoes, raspberries, and strawberries (broken into smaller bits for babies under 1 year).
- Unsweetened Cheerio-type cereals. I look for organic ones, (so they are pesticide and GMO-free) that have no or very low sugar and low sodium.
- Frozen diced carrots and/or peas (thawed and cooked), unsalted canned beans (rinsed and drained, if large then cut in half), soft fruit cut into small chunks (banana, kiwi, mango, strawberries, halved blueberries).
Lucy’s been enjoying all of the above-listed foods, now that she recently developed her “pincher grasp” and can pick foods up and stuff them into her mouth…as seen here…
Not very lady-like in her manners yet, but we’re giving her a break just this once 😉