Health Matters | Healthy Finger Foods for Tots

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Healthy Finger Foods for Tots

As a parent, you naturally want the very best for your kids, including the best health. So much of that depends on exposing them to healthy foods and habits in their younger years. For toddlers, it’s helpful to have healthy finger foods that are easy to make and the right size for little fingers to grasp.

Consider trying these better-for-you options the next time your toddler asks for a snack.

Low-Prep Snacks
  • Cooked, rinsed beans: Pinto, black, and white navy beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber along with iron, calcium, and B vitamins.
  • Soft, ripe fruits and cooked veggies: Fruits and veggies make an excellent, nutrient-rich snack when ripe or cooked until soft and then cut into small, toddler-friendly cubes. Cantaloupe, mango, strawberries, kiwi, and papaya are rich in Vitamin C, and winter squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A and other nutrients. Frozen or steamed peas and steamed broccoli florets are easy, healthy options, as well.
  • Fruit “sushi”: Combine plain, natural, full-fat Greek yogurt with natural nut or seed butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Spread this on a whole grain tortilla and top with soft fruits such as raspberries, banana slices, or blueberries. Wrap as you would a sushi roll and cut into bite-size “sushi” pieces.
  • Hummus and carrot pinwheels: Spread hummus on an open, whole wheat tortilla and sprinkle with grated carrots. Roll the tortilla from one end and press down firmly to seal it. Cut into desired portions with a very sharp, large kitchen knife (the sharper the knife, the easier to cut the tortilla without the contents spilling out). Enjoy immediately or within one day of preparation.
  • Energy bites: Combine any natural nut or seed butter (about 1/2 cup) with 3/4 cup pulsed dates (soak dates in water first and then pulse in a food processor until they’re in soft small pieces), 2 tablespoons chia seeds, and 2/3 cup rolled oats. You can add unsweetened cocoa powder, too. Mix ingredients well, form into small balls, and place on a lined baking sheet and chill for 10 minutes before serving.

Medium-Prep Snacks
Bite-sized rainbow pepper and feta quiche
1/4 cup each of red, yellow, or green peppers, roughly chopped
4 eggs
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (can use whole wheat bread)
1 teaspoon thyme, roughly chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
2 tablespoons feta crumbles
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop peppers and place in medium bowl. Add eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add in yogurt, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, and pepper and whisk again until incorporated.
  4. Pour egg mixture into 6 muffin cups or 12 mini muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way up. Sprinkle feta on top. Place in oven and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.
  6. Place in air-tight container or zip-lock bag and store in fridge or freezer.
View full recipe

Sweet potato waffles
1 1/2 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plain whole-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
4 ounces sweet potato puree (or applesauce)
2 tablespoons brown sugar

  1. Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Whisk in eggs, milk, yogurt, oil, puree, and brown sugar until all ingredients are combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in roughly 2 tablespoons batter onto lightly-greased waffle maker baby-sized waffle or 1/4 cup batter for toddler-sized waffle. Shut lid and cook based on your waffle maker’s directions.
  4. Lift waffle out with fork, cool slightly, and serve.
View full recipe

Apple cinnamon oatmeal cups
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large, ripe bananas
3 apples (peeled and grated)
1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

  1. Combine oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and a dash of salt in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix together bananas, grated apples, yogurt, butter, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and transfer mixture to greased muffin tins.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown on top.

Snacks to Avoid
For all foods, you should ensure safety by cutting large sections into smaller pieces before offering them to your child and watching your child while he or she eats. The following foods pose a choking hazard and should not be given to toddlers:
  • Slippery foods such as whole grapes
  • Large pieces of meats, poultry, or hot dogs
  • Candy and cough drops
  • Small, hard foods such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, raw carrots, and raisins
  • Sticky foods like peanut butter and marshmallows.

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