This collection of healthy toddler finger food ideas includes fruits, veggies, proteins, grains and dairy choices that are safe and appropriate for older babies and toddlers to eat at mealtimes. It also includes a free printable so you don’t get stuck in a rut with serving the same few foods!
Welcome to the fun - and messy! - world of toddler finger foods!
If you are just embarking on this, I have a ton of information and FAQs in my healthy baby and toddler finger foods post that you can check out.
It’s all about how and when and what to offer as your child starts to try finger foods.
Today, though it’s all about the actual foods to offer and healthy choices to include to get your little one started on the right foot.
It really is neat to watch your child start to feed themselves. They have such a sense of accomplishment. And control. And independence. 💕
And it makes mealtimes at home and restaurants more fun when you can eat your own food while they eat theirs. 👍
If you’re like me though, you’ll quickly be hunting around for what else your child can try. What else to offer. What else to introduce that’s safe and healthy.
(And just so you know where I’m coming from, I didn’t ever buy processed kiddie snacks. I made all of my own homemade baby food and I didn’t want to bring junk into the picture just because they were ready for finger foods.)
Also, as a health and nutrition editor, I know it’s important to have plenty of variety.
And to keep offering your toddler foods that they don’t seem interested in, to encourage them to try new things. That can be hard, and the tendency can be to give them only what they seem to be eating. But I didn’t want to fall into a rut of offering the same things every day.
So I created this list and frequently turned back to it to help me pull in a fruit we hadn’t had in a while, or to offer a vegetable or grain I hadn’t made recently. It's easy to forget these things when you've got a toddler on your hands and this list was a great reminder!
Just as a note, most of these are non-recipe foods - simple ingredients, simply offered. Cause many days I know that’s all we have time to pull out, right?
I’ve also included some of my favorite recipes for little ones, though, and you can always check out my toddler and kid food category for more ideas.
I hope this list of healthy toddler finger foods is helpful for you too and I’d love to hear in the comments below what your kids’ favorite foods are or whether there’s anything you’d add to this list.
(And if you have questions about how to get started and what’s safe — and not safe — for baby and toddler finger foods, check out my healthy baby finger foods and toddler finger foods post.)
Here is the FREE PRINTABLE of all the ideas below!
Check out these categories for some mostly ready-to-go finger foods and see below that for some easy recipes.
Healthy toddler finger food ideas: Fruits
Fruits should be soft (cooked, if needed, or very ripe otherwise) and able to be easily mushed or gummed in your child’s mouth. Remove peels and cut into small pieces or sticks for your child to pick up.
If the fruit is slippery and your child has trouble grasping it, you can roll it in a “dusting” of crushed O cereal.
- Apples, including no-sugar-added applesauce
- Watermelon (seedless)
- Cantaloupe and honeydew, if soft enough
- Grapes - cut in fourths to avoid a choking hazard
You can also incorporate fruits into oatmeal, pancakes and muffins.
Healthy toddler finger food ideas: Vegetables
Vegetables should be well-cooked and soft enough that they can be easily mushed or gummed in the mouth. Cut larger vegetables into small pieces or sticks.
- Green peas
- Sweet potato
- Baked potato
- Summer squash
- Butternut squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Green beans
Healthy toddler finger food ideas: Grains
Introduce your baby and toddler to a variety of whole grains and try to limit the amount of processed grains they receive. Cooked grains, once cooled a bit, can be smushed together to create little clumps for your child to pick up. Melting in some cheese helps, too.
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta, cooked well and cut into small pieces. You can also mix pasta with tomato sauce or cheese or a veggie puree.
- Whole wheat toast pieces - these are great served with a spread of applesauce, smashed avocado, peanut butter, melted cheese, or any fruit or vegetable puree (which is one of my favorite ways to use leftover baby foods).
- O cereal pieces
- Pancakes (oatmeal, pumpkin, blueberry, etc.)
- Healthy muffins (pumpkin, banana bread, zucchini-carrot, spinach banana, blueberry banana, etc.)
- Soft crackers (make sure they don’t have added sugar and aren’t too high in sodium)
- Quesadillas (fill with cheese, chicken, avocado, beans, etc.)
- Baby cookies (like these baby banana cookies)
- Banana bread or other breads (go for naturally sweetened and whole grain as much as possible)
Healthy toddler finger food ideas: Protein
Active, growing toddlers need protein and they’ll get it from many sources (including their milk). Here are some protein ideas you can serve. Make sure everything is well cooked, soft and cut into appropriate sizes.
- Cooked chicken, cut in small pieces or shredded, or small ground chicken pieces
- Cooked turkey, cut into small pieces, or small ground turkey pieces
- Cooked pork, cut into small pieces or shredded, or small ground pork pieces
- Cooked beef, cut into small pieces or shredded, or small ground beef pieces
- Cooked fish, cut into small pieces - tilapia, cod, salmon and tuna are good places to start
- Soft beans, including black beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans, refried beans, edamame, field peas and black-eyed peas
- Scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs, cut into small pieces
- Egg muffins or omelets, cut into small pieces
- Hummus (you can spread it on toast or let them dip veggies into it)
- Soft meatballs or burgers, cut into small pieces - chicken, turkey, beef, pork or veggie versions
- Tuna or salmon patties, cut into small pieces
Healthy toddler finger food ideas: Dairy
Toddlers should continue to drink milk. Check with your pediatrician for the amount and type (such as whole versus 2%) for your child. Other dairy ideas are below.
- Cheese including cheddar cheese, mozzarella and other soft cheeses
- Serve cheese as small cubes, small sticks or shredded
- Yogurt bites (make them yourself!)
You can also incorporate cheese into quesadillas, eggs, pasta or make grilled cheese bites.
WANT SOME RECIPES? Keep reading!
Here are some great finger food and toddler recipes to check out:
- Broccoli cheese quinoa bites
- Whole wheat veggie pancakes
- Veggie mac and cheese muffins
- Spinach banana mini muffins
- Triple veggie quinoa muffins
- Maple cinnamon sweet potato rounds
- Zucchini cheddar whole wheat waffles
- Cheesy chicken meatballs
- Easy baked turkey meatballs
- Healthy school lunch ideas (sandwich spreads)
- Breakfast oatmeal squares
- Banana bread baked oatmeal
- Apple and butternut squash muffins
- Almond butter zucchini muffins
- Mini oatmeal raisin baby muffins
- Apple cinnamon quinoa breakfast muffins
- Baby banana cookies
- Banana oat cookies
- Banana blueberry muffins
- Whole wheat pumpkin muffins
Check out ALL of my healthy muffin recipes here.
And here's that FREE PRINTABLE one more time!
PIN this for later 👇