Is your older baby refusing the peach puree they once loved? Are they growing bored of mashed bananas and starting to reach for your morning muffin? If so, you might be on the brink of introducing finger foods! While it can be nerve-wracking to move from solids to finger foods—especially when Baby has little to no teeth—you can rest assured that there are plenty of ways to make finger food tasty, healthy, and safe for your baby. Here, everything you need to know about which finger foods to offer your little one—and when.

Signs Baby Is Ready for Finger Foods

Surprise: Babies don’t need teeth to be ready for finger foods! Instead, look for these mini milestones:

  • Sits up with good head, neck, and trunk support
  • Shows interest in eating foods
  • Opens mouth when fed
  • Picks up objects with fingers
  • Picks up foods with pointer finger and thumb

How Much Finger Food Does Baby Need?

Tiny tummies only require small portions of food. Your baby’s built-in hunger and fullness signals help them know exactly how much food they really need. You can help your baby hone these skills by always serving baby-friendly portions. And if your little one wants more, that’s great… offer a small amount again. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are serving sizes for baby finger foods:

Protein: Quarter to a half cup, or 2 to 4 ounces (meat, chicken, fish, beans, tofu)

Fruit: Quarter to a half cup, or 2 to 4 ounces

Vegetables: Quarter to a half cup, or 2 to 4 ounces

Whole grains: Quarter to a half cup, or 2 to 4 ounces (bread, pasta, rice)

Dairy milk: Half to three-fourths cup, or 4 to 6 ounces

Other dairy: Quarter to a half cup, or 2 to 4 ounces (yogurt, cottage cheese)

Best Baby Finger Foods

Just because your baby can pick up a bunch of different foods with their tiny pincer grip, doesn’t mean they should eat everything! The best first finger foods for your baby are:

  • Naturally soft or cooked until soft
  • Easy to chew or gum
  • Easy to pick up
  • Safely prepared to prevent choking

Once your baby is developmentally ready, start mixing and matching the following 10 finger foods.

Best Baby Finger Food #1: Chopped Eggs

Eggs are an affordable, easy-to-eat finger food that doesn’t take too much time to prep. Plus, they provide your baby protein for growth and choline to support brain and eye health. So many wins! Try chopping up a fully cooked scrambled or hard-boiled egg and offering a quarter cup to your baby.

Best Baby Finger Food #2: Peanut Butter Puffs

Did you know it’s recommended that you offer your baby potential allergenic foods, like nuts, at about 6 months old? That’s because introducing peanut-containing foods in the first year reduces the risk of developing a nut allergy. While you don’t want to hand over whole nuts or gobs of sticky peanut butter (both choking hazards), peanut butter puffs are an excellent way to safely start peanuts with your baby. (They typically contain simple ingredients such as peanut butter and cornmeal.) Serve a few peanut puffs with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit.

Best Baby Finger Food #3: Mixed Veggies

Don’t you just love frozen bags of mixed veggies? They save a ton of time in the kitchen, they’re ready in minutes, they’re loaded with nutrition…and they make great finger foods! Cook your peas-and-carrots mix and cook until soft, then lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and finish with a dash of garlic or basil…but no salt. Offer your bub a quarter cup to chow down on.

Best Baby Finger Food #4: Diced Pancakes

Breakfast is easy-peasy with this simple four-ingredient pancake recipe: Mash a very ripe medium banana, mix with an egg, and add two tablespoons of white whole wheat flour to give your baby vitamin-rich whole grains. Sprinkle in some cinnamon and stir it all together before cooking in a lightly greased pan until golden brown. Before serving, dice them so they’re easy for Baby to pick up independently. Top a quarter cup of diced pancakes with one teaspoon of unsweetened applesauce or yogurt to make them moist and super-yummy.

Best Baby Finger Food #5: Chopped Kiwi

Tickle your babe’s taste buds with the tangy and tart flavor experience of the kiwi! Kiwis are chock full of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and choline…all nutrients Baby needs. Peel the furry fruit and cut into small pieces that your baby can easily pick up and enjoy. Shoot for a quarter to a half cup serving. If Baby resists the tartness, don’t be deterred! It can take up to 20 exposures to a new food before your little one accepts.

Best Baby Finger Food #6: Cut-Up Whole Grain Penne

Whole grain pasta provides your tyke with B vitamins and folate to support their brain, blood cells, and nerves. And kids love pasta! Simply follow the how-long-to-boil directions on the box, cut the penne into small pieces, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. (A quarter to a half cup of penne is the ideal serving size.) Feel free to lightly sprinkle with parmesan cheese and—if you’re okay with a big mess—toss the cut pasta in 1 to 2 tablespoons of marinara.

Best Baby Finger Food #7: Mashed Black Beans

Black beans are low in cost and high in nutrition—and they boast so many nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and choline. If you opt for canned, select low-sodium or salt-free black beans; drain and rinse before preparing. Warm baby’s beans in a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with a bit of cumin, and lightly squish with a fork. This light fork-mash can help your baby get a good thumb-and-pointer grip on the beans, while also making them easier to chew. After the beans cool, dole out a quarter cup serving.

Best Baby Finger Food #8: Chopped Meatballs

Whether you prefer homemade or store-bought, chicken or lean ground beef, meatballs are  bursting with zinc, which helps support Baby’s growth and a healthy immune system. To keep your meatballs soft and easy to chew, steam them for 5 to 10 minutes. This works for frozen and fresh. Once ready and slightly cool, cut your meatballs into small, jagged chunks and offer a quarter cup for Baby to enjoy. 

Best Baby Finger Food #9: Shredded Apples

Apples are sweet, refreshing, loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C—and a baby- and kid- favorite! To turn this crunchy fruit into a soft and easy finger food, first peel and shred using a food processor or box grater. (This’ll reduce choking risk.) Next, toss the apple shreds into a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon, and zap in the microwave for 2 to 4 minutes. Let the apple cool, then dish out a quarter to a half cup to your little one.

Best Baby Finger Food #10: Frozen Yogurt Bites

Calcium- and protein-rich, frozen yogurt bites are near-perfect finger foods for Baby! In a blender, mix one cup plain Greek yogurt with a half cup of any baby fruit puree. Blend until smooth. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon nickel-size dollops of the yogurt mix onto the pan. Slide into the freezer and once set, let your baby enjoy a quarter to a half cup of these fun meltable snacks.

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About Gabrielle McPherson

Gabrielle McPherson, MS, RDN, LDN is registered dietitian in Missouri who specializes in community and pediatric nutrition. Gaby is passionate about encouraging families to eat well in simple, practical ways that are realistic...and delicious! When not working, Gaby loves cooking, baking, and making messes and memories with her sous-chef/preschooler Charlotte.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.