What are your go-to meal ideas for little self-feeders? My 8-month-old has a wicked pincer grasp and LOVES to feed herself. We have so far stuck mostly with fruits, vegetables and scrambled eggs. I think it's time to step it up to heartier fare, but I need ideas! For some reason I have felt very resistant to offering meat and wheat products (probably because I'm questioning whether I ought to be eating them myself), but then I feel guilty that all I'm giving her is "diet food!" Looking for a healthy balance and some easy, nourishing ideas.
steamed (or baked) potato or sweet potato wedges
I used to give my kiddos yogurt with puffed rice/puffed quinoa/etc types of grains (mainly to make it less messy and easier for them to get with a spoon)
Oatmeal (cool it a bit and roll into tiny balls)
rice balls - like sushi, and my kiddos liked the roasted seaweed snacks young too. You can mix grated veggies (carrot/cucumber, chopped spinach) into the rice too.
These are all great ideas, thanks! As for dairy, we tried yogurt once and she got a terrible runny nose. But, we were visiting family with 3 cats, so I don't know for sure if it was a dairy reaction. I need to try again!
Mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes) - messy, but leave it lumpy enough to grab with pinchers (or by the handful)
avocado - if it is too slippery for them to grab very easily, cover pieces in rice cereal (works for bananas too)
healthy muffins - I make some with apple sauce and shredded carrot and/or zucchini
beans - well cooked and flavored black beans, white beans, refried beans, etc
if you want to try meat - little pieces of shredded chicken, sausage, or ground beef in spaghetti sauce (I make 'spaghetti' with pasta shells now so my DD can feed herself with her hands, again it is a bit messy, but spaghetti sauce is a great vehicle for shredded veggies and the shells hold the sauce and meat pieces very well)
cornbread with butter
My now 13 month old is also a hearty eater. I'm always on the lookout for new food ideas (especially self-feeding stuff), so thanks for this post!
Right now, finger foods we like are: re-hydrated raisins, smashed blueberries, peas, thinly sliced grapes, steamed apples/pears with re-hydrated dried apricots (super sweet), fresh young coconut meat, zucchini chunks, broccoli florets. We started meat when she was about 10 months old, mostly broth from organic/grass-fed/pastured meats (turkey, chicken, beef). Always simmered with carrots, sweet or white potatoes, peas, green beans, homemade sauerkraut (she had a little rash after about a week of plain whole milk yogurt, so we're going off dairy for a while... sauerkraut and other fermented foods gives her tons of beneficial bacteria!). I am planning on delaying any grains until she turns two, and then we'll probably start with something fairly non-allergenic like white rice or quinoa. Roasted squash is a huge favorite, too! (I am planning on roasting some spaghetti squash soon -- don't you just LOVE fall?? -- should be fun to watch her eat!)
No eggs yet, because her older brother has an allergy to eggs :(
We're heavy into the organic/pastured meats and veggies and fruits, with no grains yet. That makes it a little more challenging to prepare food for her, but in the end, I'm hoping it will serve her well.
You might want to check out The Nourished Baby eBook. I'm still going through it myself, but so far, there's lots of great info on healthful feeding of mamas and babies.
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