This master list of finger foods for toddlers, babies, and kids is your go-to list for healthy, safe, and delicious foods the kids can feed themselves.
Healthy Finger Foods for Kids
When little ones want to feed themselves, it’s a perfect time to introduce and keep serving healthy, fresh foods to make the most of their enthusiasm for meal times! Fruits and veggies, whole grains, meats, fish, beans, and more are healthy finger foods that can help your baby and toddler learn to like these foods from an early age—and they are often easy to pick up and eat with those little fingers. Bonus: These foods are often easy to prepare as finger foods without the need for special kitchen tools.
I love to keep finger foods in the mix even as kids get older since they make for simple, healthy snacks that often require very little prep work on your part.
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Wait! My baby/toddler has no teeth—can he eat finger foods?
Absolutely! Gums are incredibly strong, as is the tongue, so how many teeth your baby or toddler has is not an indication of whether or not they can handle finger goods. If they’ve started solids with baby led weaning or have progressed to self-feeding with a pincer grasp or pre-loaded spoons, they should be able to eat any of these safe finger foods.
How can I tell if a finger food is safe for my baby or toddler to eat?
A good rule of thumb to help prevent choking or excessive gagging is to avoid anything hard (like a raw carrot), round (like a slice of hot dog or a whole grape), sticky (like a spoonful of nut butter), or too chewy (like gummy candy). If you are just starting out with baby led weaning or if baby is younger than 9 months, longer sticks of foods are usually easier to pick up and self feed. Once a baby has mastered her pincer grasp and can pick up a food like a puff or a Cheerio, you can move on to more diced foods. Stick with softer foods to start that are easy to chew to make sure they have plenty of time to get the hang of the new shape.
Foods that squish easily between your fingers are good for older babies and younger toddlers. Around 16-18 months, many toddlers are ready for more complicated textures. During this window of eating table food, cutting foods into pea-size pieces is a good idea too—many toddlers tend to stuff bigger pieces of food into their mouths, so to avoid this, go with small cubes. Always adjust sizes of foods to suit the age and eating experience of your own child.
Finger Foods for Kids at Daycare
This list can be really helpful when packing food for daycare to make meals easy for your baby or toddler to eat. Aim for a mix of nutrients with whole grains, protein, fat, and lots of produce to help them meet their nutrient needs.
This list is designed for kids over 9 months. For younger babies doing baby-led weaning, serve foods in longer/larger pieces as needed, and avoid anything that’s not soft enough for them to easily chew. (The foods should still squish between your fingers easily or dissolve quickly like a puff.) Sit with your kids whenever they eat and especially whenever they try new foods to see how they handle it—and so you can see if you need to cut things bigger or smaller to meet them where they are.
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Fruit
- Apples, steamed until soft
- Bananas, broken up and sectioned (these are easier to pick up than slices, which can be slippery)
- Blueberries, halved if large
- Raspberries, halved if large
- Blackberries, halved if large
- Strawberries, diced
- Clementines or oranges, halved or cut if needed (many toddlers need citrus cut until they’re at least two since the whole sections can be tricky to chew)
- Grapes, sliced in half or quarters vertically
- Kiwi, diced
- Watermelon, diced
- Cantaloupe, diced (make sure it’s not too hard for younger eaters)
- Cherries, pitted and chopped
- Honeydew, diced (make sure it’s not too hard for younger eaters)
- Mango, diced
- Pears, ripe, diced with or without the skin (pear skin has a tendency to get stuck on the roof of little mouths, so your baby or toddler may prefer if it’s removed
How to Serve Apples as Finger Foods
Here’s an example of the progression of what it might look like to serve apples as finger foods.
- (6+ mo) Applesauce, unsweetened
- (6+ mo) Steamed or roasted apple slices: served BLW style, the baby will be able to pick up the pieces and suck off the tender flesh, then discard the skin.
- (8/9+ mo) Raw, grated, using softer varieties like MacIntosh or Gala and offer a small amount at a time.
- (16/18 mo +) Raw sticks, using softer varieties here too and sit with your kiddo to see how they do.
- (2 yr + ish) Raw slices. Use soft varieties and see how your toddler does. Many toddlers at this age can actually eat whole apples, but some can’t so you need to see what works for your child!
How to Serve Clementines as Finger Foods
And here’s what it might look like to serve clementines as finger foods.
- (8-ish+ mo) Clementine flesh, outer membrane removed. Or, mash them more and serve on a preloaded spoon. See if baby likes the texture…or not! P.S. Canned mandarin oranges in water (NOT syrup) with no added sugar are a super soft option that many babies and toddlers love.
- (10/12+ mo ish) This will depend on the baby and how they’re doing with finger foods, but the segments are easier to chew and move around when the membrane is cut in half. Can cut smaller if desired. Can continue to remove the membrane if needed/preferred.
- (Closer to 2, with discretion) Whole segments. My 2.5 year old can usually eat these with no problem, but she still may have a hard time chewing them and sometimes spits them out. And serving with the whole peel, with it started so they can remove it themselves, is a great way to practice fine-motor skills as they finish peeling the fruit! (They can practice peeling earlier though you may need to cut the fruit if needed.)
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Vegetables
- Avocado, cubed
- Butternut squash, steamed or roasted until soft
- Broccoli florets, steamed or roasted
- Carrots, shredded and served raw to toddlers over 18 months or diced and steamed or roasted until soft
- Cauliflower florets, steamed or roasted
- Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- Cucumbers, sliced or diced (you may want to wait until over at least 18 months and then remove the skin)
- Snap peas, diced fresh or steamed for younger eaters
- Sweet potato, peeled, diced and roasted until soft, or roasted whole until soft and served in pieces
- Thawed frozen peas (or still frozen for older toddlers!)
- Thawed frozen corn
- Thawed edamame
- Zucchini or yellow squash, diced or sliced and sauteed, steamed, or roasted
How to Serve Carrots as Finger Foods
Here’s a progression of options for serving carrots as finger foods from babies on up as an example.
- (8+ mo) Steamed or boiled grated carrot: Very soft small pieces are easy to chew and a good fine motor exercise in picking up.
- Diced Roasted Carrots: Toss carrot sticks with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Dice.
- (10/12 mo+) Halved Carrot Coins: Easy to pick up and less of a choking hazard than full coins. Serve them steamed, sauteed, or roasted.
- (12+ mo) Roasted Carrot Sticks: You can try these earlier, especially if doing BLW, though many younger kids will stuff the whole thing into their mouths (which can get stuck).
- (16/18 mo+) Grated Raw Carrot: This can be an interesting texture for toddlers and can be a nice introduction to salad. Serve a small amount at first to see how they do with the texture.
- (16/18 mo+) Steamed/Sauteed/Roasted Carrot Coins: I like to cut them for a while just to make sure the kids can chew them well, but serving rounds is a fun way to change up the shape.
- (2.5/3 yrs+) Raw Carrots: It’s entirely possible that your toddler will be okay with these at 2. Or not until 4. Cut the sticks thinly. Use your instincts with this one since it can be a choking hazard!
How to Serve Broccoli as Finger Foods
Here’s what a progression of serving broccoli as finger foods might look like.
- (6 mo +) Cooked with potatoes or sweet potatoes and mashed. You can mash super soft chopped florets into hard cooked egg yolk.
- (8/9 mo +) Steamed or roasted very tender florets: I’d avoid the stem since it can be very tough. Progress from smaller to slightly larger pieces to help them learn to move the texture in their mouths.
- (18/20 mo+ or according to when your kiddo can bite and chew thoroughly): Full-size florets, steamed or roasted: If steamed, toss with a little olive oil, butter, or toasted sesame oil for additional flavor. (This is also a method of serving broccoli BLW that my kids loved—but they more suck/gnaw than chew it all up so expect a fair amount to come back out!)
- –>P.P.S. How to Roast Broccoli: This is slightly sweet and super delish! Toss broccoli florets with neutral oil like canola and arrange in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes or until tender at 425 degrees F. Sprinkle with a little salt or grated Parm!
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Dairy/Eggs
- Cheese, diced or shredded
- Goat cheese, crumbled
- Cottage cheese, 4%
- Frozen yogurt drops
- Hard cooked, diced eggs
- Scrambled eggs
- Egg muffins
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Legumes/Nuts
- Hummus (with a cracker for dipping)
- Chickpeas (like these Soft-Baked Cinnamon Chickpeas)
- Edamame, steamed or boiled according to package directions
- Energy bites, diced
- Larabars minis, diced (for over 12-18 months)
- Finely chopped cashews and walnuts (2 or 3 and up)
- Frozen peas, thawed
- Nut butter (on toast cubes or sticks)
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Whole Grains
- Oatmeal, cooked until it’s nice and thick so it’s easy to pick up with fingers (you can also add 1 teaspoon chia seeds, let sit for 5 minutes, and it will thicken up)
- Baked Oatmeal Cups
- Crackers, whole grain
- Granola Bars or soft snack bars
- French toast, diced
- Muffins, diced
- Pancakes, diced
- Rice, fully cooked until soft with mashed avocado or shredded cheese to help it hold together as needed
- Quinoa, fully cooked until soft with mashed avocado or shredded cheese to help it hold together as needed
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Meat/Poultry/Fish
- Beef, ground and cooked through
- Chicken, poached or baked and diced or shredded; or ground and cooked through
- Deli meat (sliced turkey, ham, or salami, cut up as needed)
- Meatballs, diced
- Salmon, poached or baked and diced or shredded
- Turkey, roasted breast or thigh meat and diced or shredded; or ground and cooked through
- White fish, poached or baked and diced or shredded
Finger Foods for Toddlers and Babies: Healthy Snack Food
- Cheese crackers
- Cereal (low sugar): Cherrios, Kix, Chex
- Mini rice cakes
- Puffs (like Plum Organics or Happy Baby)
- Snap pea crisps
- Store-bought bars like MySuperFoods Maple Graham Bars, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, diced as needed
- Quinoa Chips (these are softer than regular chips, and high in protein; best for over 2 or 3)
- Whole grain crackers (we like Bitsy’s Brainfood)
- Whole grain graham crackers
- Veggie Straws