3 Finger Foods for Babies

babel · January 27, 2023
This article has been written and endorsed by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias
It's important to introduce finger foods into your baby's diet that they can pick up with their hands and manipulate freely. Keep reading.

There are a number of finger foods that babies can pick up with their fingers and thus favor their interaction with them. In addition, this allows them to become accustomed to their organoleptic characteristics. It’s important that little ones know the textures and smells of the different types of food to avoid rejections in the future that may condition the variety in their diet.

Before starting, we have to mention that this dietary method known as baby-led weaning has become popular in recent years. Increasingly, babies are given more freedom when it comes to feeding, although there must always be supervision. It’s good that from the first stages of life, little ones begin to manipulate the foods they eat.

Finger foods that babies can pick up with their hands

Here we’re going to show you the main finger foods that babies can pick up with their hands so that you can offer them on a regular basis. Keep in mind that, even so, breastfeeding should be maintained until at least the first year of life, as it generates many health and developmental benefits.

A baby biting into a pear.
Fruits are ideal foods for babies to manipulate with their fingers and get to know the different textures and flavors.

1. Ripe fruit

Fruit should be introduced in the diet from the early stages of life. Among other things, these foods contain a significant dose of vitamin C inside. This element helps to boost immune function, as evidenced by a study published in the journal Nutrients. We’re also talking about a substance that stimulates the synthesis of collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the human body.

The good thing is that when ripe fruit is offered to little ones, it’s possible for them to handle it without risk. Little by little, babies will get used to its texture and sweet taste. This will be essential, as if it’s not included in their diet at this time, it may be more difficult to make it part of the diet during childhood and beyond.

2. Pasta

Pasta is a source of carbohydrates. These nutrients are the main energy substrate for activities of a certain intensity. However, they’re not only important in athletic contexts, but will also help promote anabolic processes in the internal environment.

In fact, it’s important to avoid carbohydrate restriction during childhood. It’s true that, later on, it may make sense to reduce their presence in the diet, but not when they’re still young. Otherwise, this could lead to alterations in the development of little ones, which could condition their future health.

A baby eating pasta with his hands.
Pasta is a source of carbohydrates, so it’s important that it be present in the diet of the little ones. And, without a doubt, babies will have fun eating them with their hands!

3. Crumbled cheese

Cheese is another food that babies can eat with their fingers. However, it’s not recommended to include cow’s milk in the diet during the first 12 months of life. Thereafter, there will be no problem in offering dairy products. These are an excellent source of proteins of high biological value. We’re talking about nutrients whose needs are increased at this time, as stated in a study published in the journal Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism.

In addition, some varieties of dairy products have probiotics in them. They’re those that have gone through a fermentation process, such as yogurts or kefir. These will help to keep the microbiota in good working order, which will prevent the development of complex digestive diseases in the future.

Include finger foods in your baby’s diet

As you’ve seen, there are a number of finger foods that your baby can pick up with their hands to explore before consuming them. This mechanism is considered positive during infancy, as children should be allowed to adapt to the characteristics of different foods. But be careful with the portions offered to avoid choking.

Finally, keep in mind that the two factors that ensure that a diet is adequate and healthy are variety and balance. The latter can be broken during childhood, as a slight energy surplus will be key to stimulating the development processes and thus allowing adequate growth. But it must be controlled, as otherwise, the child could become overweight.

  • Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. Published 2017 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu9111211
  • Richter M, Baerlocher K, Bauer JM, et al. Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Ann Nutr Metab. 2019;74(3):242-250. doi:10.1159/000499374