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Friday, January 2, 2009

Finger Foods For Thought

By Ashley H, VP of Mommyhood x2, CharlotteSmartyPants

Let's talk dirty. Finger foods for babies and toddlers! Like many of you, I am committed to providing nutritious meals, as best possible, for my little ones. But as much as I try to maintain a variety of options for the twins to eat, I get in a rut sometimes and feel like I'm going back to the same foods over and over. So I wanted to solicit your help for putting our Smartiest finger food ideas together so we all have a great reference to source when we need it.

In addition to trial & error and kids cookbooks, another way to do this is create a finger food chart of the options you gather from the moms in your current playgroup, coworkers or gal pal get together. A girlfriend of mine, Laura, started one a few months ago by emailing us all asking for ideas on what we were feeding our babies and then one chart was compiled from all responses and emailed back out to the group. I got some great ideas and recipes I still use today!

My listing doesn't take into account those children with food allergies, so we'd love to hear from you moms as well. I know there are Smarty readers out there with children who suffer from many food allergies and would love to know what other moms offer their children.

Below are some of my twins' (now nearly 17-mos-old) favorite foods, though what they love one day they spit out the next. However, I continue to try to reintroduce the things they don't seem to like and some days they will eat what they hated the day before, that's toddlers for you! It's also tricky with twins when one is a great eater of anything and the other is more finicky. I just keep at it with my finicky eater, I can always serve at least one thing he likes and will eat. But, generally speaking they are great eaters overall.

Bananas, pears, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, applesauce (I sprinkle a little cinnamon in)

Vegetables (I struggle here to get them to want to eat much)
Sweet potatoes with cinnamon and a little butter, green bean casserole, squash casserole, cooked diced carrots, creamed spinach, avocado

Whole Wheat Breads, Cereals, Other Grains
Mini bagels, Vans organic waffles, Pepperidge Farms makes a "Very Thin" sliced sandwich bread loaf (for sandwiches or toast) that is GREAT for babies/toddlers just learning, Cheerios, graham crackers, crackers, pastas, mac-n-cheese

Meats (organic)
Thinly sliced chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins cook nicely and are great sizes and easy to cut up for little ones (twins love BBQ sauce on their chicken too), they'll eat lunchmeat cubed or on the thin bread as sandwich, pasta with meat sauce (spaghetti, baked ziti, etc.), turkey or chicken franks cut up well to prevent choking

Graham crackers, gold fish, vanilla wafers, yogurt (frozen GoGurts or fruit is great for hot summer days), Cheerios, Puffs, cottage cheese with fruit, cheese

Chime in and tell us what you serve your little Smarties, we could all use some new ideas!


Wendy said...

One of my kids was a very picky eater and still is at 5 1/2 years old. He benefitted a lot from mixing and dipping foods for a variety of textures. So instead of just giving him crackers, I would put peanut butter on them, or let him dip cracker sticks into it. Bread with butter, jelly or melted cheese on it. Use yogurt, ketchup, salad dressings, etc. and you have a whole new array of snacks and foods to serve. For a little sweet treat let them dip graham crackers into pudding - I do that myself. :)

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