Vegetable finger foods for weaning
By Babease paediatric dietician, Judy More
Weaning is an exciting time for your little one to discover all the wonderful taste and texture that food has to offer. That s why we've asked Judy More to write a few tips to help start you on your way. Enjoy exploring and let us know how you get on!
During weaning, offering finger foods alongside spoon feeding is really important for helping your baby to develop their self feeding skills. At the same time they will learn to
associate the taste and smell of different foods with their appearance. Soft vegetable finger foods are ideal to begin with and harder and raw vegetable finger foods can be given from about 9 - 10 months onwards.
Vegetable finger foods can be prepared at the same time as you are cooking your baby’s meals or even prepare some when you are cooking your own meal the night before. Once cooked, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours for your baby.
Babies 8-9 months
For babies aged 8-9 months, steam or roast vegetable fingers and offer them alongside their smooth or textured meals.
Shapes to cut:
Sticks about 5cm (or 2 inches) long. Younger babies pick up with a palmer grasp so the finger foods need to fit into the palm of their fist, but be long enough to stick out at either end of their closed fist. Small florets of cauliflower and broccoli can also be picked up with a palmer grasp.
Steamed vegetable finger foods:
Try green beans, very small tender runner beans, carrots, baby corn, courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnip and mange tout.
Steam for about 5-7 minutes until vegetable fingers are tender but not so soft that they can lose their shape when squeezed in your baby’s fist.
Roasted vegetable finger foods:
Roasting gives a slightly less bitter taste which babies like. Just brush the raw vegetables fingers with rapeseed oil before cooking on a baking tray in a hot oven about 180 degrees centigrade for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. For more flavour you can add a couple of herbs or spices to the oil such as ground cumin or ground coriander.
Try sticks of beetroot, carrot, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, peppers, celeriac, courgette, mushrooms or butternut squash.
Babies 9+ months
For babies 9-12 months you can continue to offer the cooked vegetables listed above while introducing some harder, raw finger foods.
Try sticks of raw carrot, cucumber, courgette, peppers, baby corn, raw tomatoes and celery.
At this age babies are starting to to pick up smaller pieces of food between their thumb and first finger so you can also offer cooked peas and broad beans too. Your little one will find it entertaining pushing the little pieces around the plate. Working on these ever important pincer motions.
Always cut in half soft round foods such as cherry tomatoes and grapes. Soft round foods can be a choking hazard.
Enjoy exploring and do let us know how you get on with any tips from your own experience.
Happy finger food!
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