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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Finger Food Fun!

As your baby gets ready to experiment with finger foods, the fun (and the mess) really begins! It's time to really crank out some variety and enjoy watching your baby sample new textures and flavors. Some he'll like and some he'll probably throw at the dog, but time and patience will give him an opportunity to adjust and find new favorites.

The most important factor is keeping a very close eye on what your baby can handle. Watch and make sure the sizes of cubed foods are not too big, and that the food is soft enough to chew on with those baby gums. It's a constant adjustment and plenty of trial and error to find the right combination of size and consistency because every baby is different. The crucial thing is to be present and watch closely. I know, it's kind of a nice thought - you don't have to be spoon feeding every bite! But you still need to watch and listen. All of that in mind, it's time for some fun food ideas!

One yummy finger food is the sweet potato. You can cut them in cubes, or when she's ready for it, cut them in strips. I started with cubes about 1/2 inch square or smaller. Boil them until they're soft but not falling apart. Easy to pick up, easy to chew!

My son's new-found favorite is edamame, or soy beans. I buy them frozen in the pod. (Costco has organic for a good price, and no, they don't pay me to say so. I'm just a Costco fanatic!) They're easy because you boil them for 4 or 5 minutes and then pop them out of the pod. Such a pretty green color, what child could resist? They're full of protein, relatively easy to pick up for a baby who's worked with finger foods for a little while already, and they're not too big.

Of course pieces of cut-up banana and kiwi are easy because you don't have to cook them first. Bananas are great take-along snacks - no packaging required! Cubed apples and pears can be boiled, but if the pear is soft enough, you can serve it raw.

Another handy finger food is the green bean. (Yes, I buy them frozen and organic from Costco!) Boil them until they are soft but not falling apart. You can either cut them smaller or serve them whole, depending on your baby's capabilities. My son isn't that crazy about these lately, but they're not very messy, which is why I'm hoping he takes to them at some point!

I have many, many more finger food ideas, but I'll leave that for another day. In the meantime, enjoy this time of experiment with baby! If she's hesitant, try eating the new food in front of her until she just has to taste. Works for me! Well, sometimes. And other times the dogs get the goods instead.


Haley said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not only one obsessed with that sound! :-)

Dana said...

I was wondering what edamame was...LOL Now if I could get my kids to eat more healthy.

Piana Nanna said...

You sound like a great mom especially after the one I saw at a restaurant recently, shoving pieces of her hamburger and fries at her one-year-old and then spooning her caramel shake into her child's mouth. I don't think this little girl is going to be eating vegetables any time soon.