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Healthy Toddler Finger Food Recipes

Updated on July 24, 2014

Recipes for Healthy Toddler Finger Foods

It can be challenging to find healthy finger foods for babies and toddlers...especially ones that they'll actually eat. Notoriously picky, toddlers can snub foods that you've spent a lot of time and effort to prepare. These recipes for toddler finger foods are not only easy, but nutritious and and tasty. The best part is that even if your child only picks at any of these foods, the rest of the family can finish it up because these recipes are yummy enough to appeal to older children and adults too.

Here you'll about finger food recipes for toddlers and babies will help you give your child more vegetables, healthy proteins, whole grains and/or expose her to a wider variety of flavors and textures. They're also easy to prepare - another plus for busy families. As a health-conscious mom, I was really thankful to find some good go-to recipes that helped make life easier and yummier for my toddler daughter. Hope that they are helpful to your family!

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/684915184/

Looking for Kid-Tested Finger Food Recipes? - From her own home 'test kitchen', a mom embarks on a journey toward feeding her child yummier and healthier food.

You're a parent, nanny, grandparent or childcare provider who's conscientious about what you feed your children, but sometimes there's not enough nutritious variety out there to tempt the picky palates of babies and toddlers.

I'm in the same boat. I definitely wanted to start my daughter on a trajectory of healthy eating for a lifetime by starting with a broad base of nutritious foods. After a few months, however, I felt like I was feeding my daughter the same few things every meal, and almost none of it was finger food....except Cheerios. Then a friend loaned me some cookbooks, and I started experimenting.

As a result, I found some big winners -- foods that were easy for my daughter to eat, that she gobbled up readily and provided extra veggies and protein that she needed. The nice part is that my husband and I liked these too. His verdict is out on the tofu 'fries,' actually, but I liked them, and our daughter did too. These home-run easy recipes are the ones I want to share with you to hopefully give you an easier time feeding your child well.

Along our path to yummier food and better nutrition, I did find some very helpful prepackaged foods that have become staples in our snack repertoire which I talk about on my Healthy Finger Foods For Babies and Toddlers website, but the page you're on now is all about the recipes, baby.

photo credit: BunnyFabulous

I Wish My Child Would Eat More ______ - Famously picky, toddlers can have aversions to many different types of foods. What is your child picky about?

What type of food would you like to see your child eat more of?

See results

Since kale is one of the 'dirty dozen' veggies that harbor the most pesticides, I tend to get organic kale. It usually tastes better than conventionally grown kale as well.

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 20 min
  • Yields: Approx. 4 snack size servings

Ingredients

  • Several large kale leaves or 1/4 package fresh chopped kale
  • olive oil
  • salt substitute or seasoned salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop up kale leaves into small pieces, removing any large stems. In a large bowl, toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat. It's better to be a little too generous with the olive oil than a little too stingy. Sprinkle a little salt, salt substitute or seasoned salt over the kale, then mix together. Then, spread kale pieces out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 min; then take out to flip leaves over/stir. Bake for an additional 4-6 min. or until leaves are crispy, but not burned. Watch closely with the oven light on near the end of the bake time.
  2. Let cool for a minute or so, then serve immediately.
  3. NOTE: the curlier the kale leaves are, the better they crisp.
  4. photo credit: BunnyFabulous
Cast your vote for Crispy Kale Toddler Finger Food Recipe

Baby and Toddler Finger Food Cookbooks

I found Annabel Karmel's books very helpful for thinking outside the box about what foods to try serving to my daughter as a baby and as a toddler. Annabel has both finger food and spoon/fork food recipes that my li'l girlie loves.

Recipe for Applesauce Bran Muffins - Absolutely yummy and helps keep everybody regular. The tastiest bran I've ever eaten.

These are a huge hit with my entire family. They don't last very long. This recipe is slightly modified from the Applesauce Bran Muffin recipe on CD Kitchen. The original recipe calls for a glaze, but for toddlers it's not necessary and the muffins are plenty delicious without it.

photo credit: BunnyFabulous

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 30-35 min

Serves: 12 - makes a dozen muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup (100% bran) cereal -- I use All Bran
  • 1 1/2 cup applesauce -- all natural applesauce has the least amount of sugar
  • 1 egg -- slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine -- melted
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar -- packed
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped raisins or prunes -- optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; grease muffin pans. In a large bowl, mix bran, applesauce, egg, margarine and brown sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, blend flour, baking powder and cinnamon; stir in bran mixture just until blended, batter will be lumpy. Stir in raisins. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from muffin pan and cool on a wire rack.
  2. These muffins freeze well, so there's no need to eat the whole batch at once....unless you want to. :)

Zucchini Muffins - Gluten-Free and Regular Versions - Another way for your baby or toddler to get their zucchini that's a tasty breakfast or snacktime treat for

Below is the my gluten-free version of Elise's Zucchini Muffins recipe on Simply Recipes. Especially when zucchini is on sale, this recipe is one that we make quite often since it's an easy snack that's full of vegetables. My husband and I enjoy them as much as our daughter does.

If you'd like the regular recipe for these muffins, just use Elise's Zucchini Muffins recipe as-is. NOTE: she says you don't need a mixer for this recipe. I beg to differ. It's much easier with a mixer.

photo credit: BunnyFabulous

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 50 min
  • Yields: 12 - makes approx. one dozen muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar -- I use turbinado or sucanat (natural cane sugar) that are slightly healthier
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups Pamela's All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup pulverized walnuts (optional) -- I food-process them until they're a coarse powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the zucchini mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts if using
  2. Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.
  3. Note: If you are including walnuts, you will likely have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins.

Baking Gluten-Free for Toddlers - Whether a family member has celiac disease, your child deals with allergies, or any number of reasons, you may want to bake gl

Here's some help for baking delicious gluten-free finger foods for your child and the rest of your family.

Pamela's Products Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix, 4-Pound Bags (Pack of 3)
Pamela's Products Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix, 4-Pound Bags (Pack of 3)

Since I have a wheat allergy, I've baked with most every gluten-free flour and baking mix out there, and nothing holds a candle to Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake mix. It's very versatile and can be used cup-for-cup to replace regular flour in the vast majority of recipes. You do have to cut down significantly on any baking powder or baking soda that a recipe calls for since Pamela's already incorporates these into its mix, but that's pretty easy to do. I've baked cakes, muffins, pies, biscuits, coffee cakes, banana bread and more with this mix, and my non-gluten-free friends have given them rave reviews. They never suspected what they were eating was gluten-free.

 

Salmon Cakes Recipe - Yummy Finger Food for Babies - These are my take on Annabel Karmel's Salmon starfish recipe from the 2004 edition of her book, First Meals

These delicious little cakes are a good introduction to salmon and are an appealing texture for older babies and toddlers. For everyone else in the family you can double or quadruple the recipe to make enough for everyone.

photo credit: BunnyFabulous

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 25-30 min

Serves: 6-8, depending on the size you make

Ingredients

  • 1 lb red potatoes - mashed
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg - lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 3/4 lb cooked salmon fillets - flaked. For best nutrition use wild-caught salmon
  • 3 tbsp panko (Japanese bread crumbs) - plus extra for coating
  • a little melted butter
  • olive oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix the mashed potatoes together with the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, egg, and green onion. Mix in the salmon and 3 Tbsp of the panko. Shape the mixture into flat cakes. Use a cookie cutter or your hands to form into fun shapes, if desired. Coat each fish cake with bread crumbs, and brush lightly with melted butter.
  2. For baking: set fish cakes on a lightly greased baking sheet. Transfer to a preheated 350-degree oven and cook for 4 min. on each side.
  3. For sauteing: Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add salmon cakes and saute several minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  4. Personally, I prefer making these sauteed, especially since olive oil has good fats in it. However, the baking method does have less fat.

Tofu 'Fries' - Go ahead. Give it a try even if you're not a tofu fan. It may change your mind.

This is an idea I got from Foods Toddlers Will Eat that ended up being a winner at our house.

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Ready in: 20 min
  • Yields: 1 pkg tofu makes 6-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • low-sodium soy sauce to taste

Instructions

  1. Drain extra firm tofu then cut into thin, small french-fry (or smaller) size pieces. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the tofu and soy sauce and stir fry until golden brown and the outside has a bit of a crust.

Frozen Fruit Popsicles - Ok, so these technically aren't a finger food, but you still eat them with your hands. Have your child wear a bib or dark-colored cloth

The dark purple of grapes and either blueberries or blackberries hides the green of the spinach, and the sweetness of the grapes and juice makes the spinach taste undetectable as well, especially if you blend the mixture very thoroughly. My daughter asks for these for dessert. I love that she views this fruit and vegetable popsicle as a treat!

Cook Time

Prep Time: 5-10 min.

Total Time: 10-15 min.

Serves: varies on size of popsicle molds

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves - washed
  • 1 'adult' size 100% juice grape flavor juice box. Approx. 3/4 cup juice.
  • 1 cup red grapes -- the sweeter the better
  • small handful of blueberries or blackberries if desired for color
  • little bit of honey or other natural sweetener - to taste

Instructions

  1. In a high-powered blender, add all ingredients. Blend thoroughly to make the mixture as smooth as possible, adding additional sweetener if necessary, for taste. If you have really sweet grapes, you probably won't need the sweetener. Pour into popsicle molds; freeze.

The Mother of all Blenders - Makes amazing popsicle mixes and smoothies - It's big. It's powerful. It completely hides vegetables in smoothies and frozen fruit

Vitamix CIA Professional Series Blender, Brushed Stainless
Vitamix CIA Professional Series Blender, Brushed Stainless

Don't be afraid of the price tag, especially if you do a lot of blending. I admit I was totally skeptical when my husband suggested getting this blender, but now that we have one, I am so thankful for it. Your smoothies and popsicle mix will be incredibly smooth. Even the little seeds in blackberries and strawberries get pulverized and you can add huge amounts of vegetables like kale, carrots and spinach to fruit smoothies and not even notice. No more little particles clogging up your straw. We make smoothies nearly every morning, so the blender's self-cleaning action makes quick clean-up. You just put a little bit of dish soap and warm water, blend, then rinse and voila -- clean blender. The Vitamix is so powerful it even cooks soup. Yes, you read right. Put in soup ingredients, turn the blender on high for 4-5 minutes, and the friction heats the soup. If this is truly out of your price range, though, get the most powerful blender you can.

 

Popsicle molds - A necessity to make delicious and healthy ice pops. I personally like the smaller sizes for young children, but sometimes it's just easier to m

Cheesy Spinachy Scrambled Eggs Recipe - Eggbeaters make this even quicker and easier to prepare than with a regular egg.

Chunks of scrambled egg are easy for little fingers to pick up and eat, and both eggs and cheese provide protein. This recipe is an example of how minor tweaks to taste and/or texture can make or break a food. My li'l girlie won't eat plain cooked eggs, but add some cheese and she loves it. This is also a great way to get her to eat spinach -- mixed with one of her breakfast favorites

photo credit: BunnyFabulous

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 1 or 2 servings, depending on how much your child eats

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup eggbeaters
  • 3 -4 spinach leaves - finely chopped
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add eggs or eggbeaters and spinach, stirring often to scramble. When the eggs are close to being fully cooked, add cheddar cheese and keep scrambling until cheese is melted and eggs are cooked through. Cool slightly before serving. This recipe easily doubles, triples, etc. depending on how much your child will eat.

More Toddler-Friendly Recipes

I'm not an overacheiver. I don't make up all of my own recipes, or tweak them all for that matter. Here are some other goodies I found on the web.

Another favorite of mine is Pumpkin Spice Hippiecakes. Pumpkin, fiber and protein in a little cake-like thingy with no added sugar? Yes, please! For toddlers, you may need to omit the walnuts unless they are finely chopped.

Or, for more of my culinary picks for adults and toddlers, please

Which Toddler Finger Food Recipe Will You Try? - Hope at least one of these recipes has inspired you to try it at home.

Which one of these recipes are you most likely to make for your child?

See results

Introducing New Foods to Your Toddler

Here are some tips and suggestions from experts and from my own experience.

* If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Your toddler may hate his first, third, and ninth exposure to cauliflower, but the tenth time may be the charm.

* Try new food when you and your toddler are at your best - when you're both well rested, in good spirits, and healthy.

* Your child will be more open to a new food if he's hungry (but not overly hungry), so give him his new food first.

* Don't stop feeding your child if she makes a funny face - it doesn't necessarily mean that she doesn't like what she's tasting. She may just be reacting to the distinctly different taste. Even now, my daughter will sometimes grimace and then say that she likes a food.

* Try to keep your facial expressions positive, even if you're serving a food you detest. Likewise, keep your comments about the food positive as well. Don't preface introducing a new food by saying 'Here's some avocado, you may not like it.'

* On the other hand, some children may get their guard up if you make a big deal over a new food. Keeping things normal and low key tends to work better.

* Let your toddler see you eating the same food he's eating. He loves copying you.

* If your child gives you the thumbs-down on a particular food (closing his mouth, turning his head, throwing it), don't force it. Try again in a few days and he may surprise you by eagerly eating it. Forcing food or showing your frustration may turn mealtime into a negative experience full of power struggles.

* Switch things up. Your toddler may tire of eating bananas at every meal and give up on them entirely. Plus, a varied diet is more nutritious for your growing child.

* Try the food in a different form. My daughter never liked carrots in their pureed or mashed form, but as an older toddler, she loves crunching on the thin 'twigs' of matchstick-sliced carrots.

photo credit: BunnyFabulous

Food Feedback - I'd love to know what you thought about this site and the recipes. If you have any healthy, delicious baby/toddler finger food recipes, please s

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    • profile image

      chat2vishakha 4 years ago

      Great tips.Thanks for sharing this nice post.

    • jayavi profile image

      jayavi 4 years ago

      Very informative lens. in future i will use these tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      Great tips! Surely toddlers would love these. Sundae ;-)

    • Julia1000 profile image

      Julia1000 5 years ago

      Great to find somewhere you can buy a lolly maker that allows you to use traditional lolly sticks. No more bits of plastic cluttering up my draws and the kids prefer them. Thank you

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I don't have a toddler around, so I am not sure. But I might like to try some myself! Blessed!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      My kids loved all kinds of foods when they were toddlers but just wait until they are teens! I'm going to try out some of these recipes on my teen. They sound delicious.

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Great lens, toddlers love eating with their hands anyway :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Fabulous toddler finger food recipes! I would have to make double so I could share :)

    • BunnyFabulous profile image
      Author

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      @KimGiancaterino: I agree completely. If I had a do-over, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

    • rachelscott profile image

      rachelscott 5 years ago

      Your lens is so delicious.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image
      Author

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: I use our $450 blender pretty much daily. It makes the same or better smoothies than you'd get in any smoothie bar, and is super easy to clean. It can make soup too...and I mean it can COOK the soup in the blender. With the workout I put a blender through, a regular one would be a smoking heap of junk in a week or so. Stay classy, Skip!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      if you think you need a $500 blender you need a psychological evaluation

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 5 years ago

      These recipes sound delicious.

    • profile image

      JennySui 5 years ago

      Nice recipes! this is a great lens for moms who have kids.

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Very nice and useful lens! Nice recipes!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I have a great-grandson who is just at toddler stage. His Mom is very particular about what she feeds him, and I'm sure she will love these recipes and I'm sending her the link. Excellent lens on this subject. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Ah, I do think that we can credit toddlers worldwide for making finger food popular ... you have some delightful recipes. It makes me feel young again, to contemplate biting into some delicious finger foods. Yumm.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent recipes for healthy and delicious baby/toddler finger foods....and yummy good for grandma too! Blessed!

    • profile image

      slotowngal 5 years ago

      When our kids were young, I worked their veggies in by including them in casserole side dishes - rice mixed with carrots for example. But these days, it seems the trend is to get them to love those veggies all on their own! Crispy Kale? Who would have thought? But that is definitely one I will try for my young grandchildren! Great lens, and angel blessed.

    • maurissam profile image

      Chocolate Pickney 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Lovely lens

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens - can be hard to get kids to eat the right things. Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love the Applesauce Bran muffins and so does my son!!! They are easy to make and really tasty.

      Also, for some tips on a new stay-at-home mom dealing with postpartum go to:

      http://stayathomemomchallenge.blogspot.com/

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Our little champs never get time to eat proper quantity of food.I think this is the perfect routine for kids who can't find time to eat their food & just stay busy with their routine life of playing, schooling & activities. This food can fulfill their body needs with whey protein isolate. Your lense rocks.

    • profile image

      Tarra99 6 years ago

      great healthy choices here...nice to see...thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Jellyfresh 6 years ago

      Oven roasted veggies are a great alternative the boiled or steamed variety. Just heat oven to 425 degrees and roast veggies until they are pierced easily with a fork. My two year old loves oven roasted carrots with fresh dill.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      It is so important to give our children a healthy start in life. Well done!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      Great lens! I loved feeding my youngest kids the dehydrated veggies from Whole Foods. They especially loved the green beans!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Lovely lens, this is the kind of lens I love to see mums showing other mums healthy food to feed toddlers to get them on the right tracks for life. Thanks for sharing. **Blessed**

    • profile image

      cherrioscoupon 6 years ago

      I seriously needed to type a brief note in order to say thanks for you for those important hints that you are sharing on this internet site. My extensive internet lookup has on the end been recognized with pleasurable strategy to speak about with my classmates and friends. I ?d think that a lot of of us website website visitors are instead fortunate to become within a great area with incredibly numerous fantastic pros with good tips. I really feel rather delighted to possess uncovered your whole website page and anticipate numerous far more exceptional instances examining here. Thanks a good deal once extra for every one of the information.

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      Awesome Lens! Yummy and healthy recipes, I will give it a try even though no baby yet, will cook it for myself :)

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      Awesome Lens! Yummy and healthy recipes, I will give it a try even though no baby yet, will cook it for myself :)

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      I think every mom should read this lens. great lens.

    • profile image

      promotional-coupons-codes 6 years ago

      You might be super mom. I have bookmarked this lens and will try all these recipes for my baby.

    • ziggyzane profile image

      ziggyzane 6 years ago

      My wife should see this. We need some help with our picky eaters.

    • profile image

      SusanBlackburn 6 years ago

      Great recipes... I'm looking forward to giving them a try! Thank you!

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 6 years ago from England

      Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)

    • kwhiting644 lm profile image

      kwhiting644 lm 6 years ago

      I need to do better at this.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      Yummy for the tummy - and healthy snacks for toddlers. My daughter tries many creative ideas to make tasty finger foods for her toddler. I'll share your ideas with her ... nice lens!

    • pacrapacma lm profile image

      pacrapacma lm 6 years ago

      I'm passing the gluten free mix onto my friend since her daughter can't eat wheat. You've shared some very helpful information! I wish I would've introduced more foods to my picky son when he was younger.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image
      Author

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      @Missmerfaery444: Thank you so much for the April Fool blessing! Glad that your daughter eats her veg well and hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we do.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

      These sound like great finger food recipes! Definitely going to try the applesauce bran muffins and the spinachy eggs for my 16 month old daughter. She is pretty good at eating her veg and a wide variety of food, she's just not so keen on fruit, apart from apples and raisins! :) April Fool Blessed!

    • SquidooMBA profile image

      SquidooMBA 6 years ago

      The crispy Kale sounds delicious. Thanks for making this lens!

    • tiff0315 profile image

      tiff0315 6 years ago

      Very great advice! I love the recipes and would really like to try a few. I have three picky eaters, my fourth is very young and is a bit more moldable. I'll have to try these tips!