Finger foods for kids make both parents and kids happy. They are a great way to give toddlers and young children a sense of independence during mealtimes. Many toddlers enjoy them because they no longer want to be fed but they have not yet mastered the art of using utensils.
Most children with feeding aversions and feeding disorders need to be fed to ensure adequate calories within a specific time period, however if your child likes or wants independence during mealtimes there is nothing wrong with adding 5 minutes to the meal in order to give your child a small amount of food he can eat with his hands. Since they are food kids love, the time usually passes quickly and your child may get enough in his mouth to have it count for something!
Many common finger foods for kids have the reputation of being unhealthy. Foods kids love include chicken nuggets, hot dogs and French fries are a few of the most popular ones. These foods, while high in calories and fat, offer little in the way of vitamins and minerals. Healthy foods can be made into finger foods for kids as well.
Some healthy options to consider for your child include cut up fruit, cut up raw or cooked vegetables, cubed tofu, grilled cheese or any other sandwich, low sodium turkey or ham, cheese or baked chicken tenders.
Some foods are not considered good foods to eat with hands because they are messy and generally not appropriate to eat with hands. Because of this many parents shy away from them when a child will not eat with utensils. If you have a toddler with a feeding aversion who prefers eating with his hands or is aversive to the spoon or fork, there is nothing wrong with letting him eat with his hands. Baked chicken can be shredded and eaten without utensils, as can ravioli, pancakes, waffles and pasta. Even eggs can be cooked well and cut into strips for your child to enjoy with his hands. These are just a few foods that can be cut up for your child and eaten without utensils.
If you are worried about etiquette, don’t be. There will be plenty of time to worry about that later. For now it’s more important your child experience different types of foods in a way he’s most comfortable with and can enjoy it the most. Once he’s eating steak you can deal with teaching him manners and the etiquette involved in eating a steak properly before you take him out to a fancy steak restaurant for a celebration dinner!
These foods are a great way to encourage independence during mealtimes and get your child to eat by himself. With a little creativity, an open mind and a relaxed attitude on the part of the caregivers, the food kids love can make mealtime more peaceful.