Your baby may be at the stage when he’s taken an interest in feeding himself. Most of his efforts will be quite messy—half, if not more, of the cereal will probably end up on the floor and even in his hair. But resist the urge to grab back the spoon. These efforts build hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Help him along by giving him finger foods, which are easy to handle and to clean up.
Cut bananas into slices
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. But instead of giving your child a whole banana (he might choke on a big mouthful) slice them and then further divide each slice into four. The banana will look like little pizzas. Stand them up on end so your child will have an easier time getting a piece.
Serve mini pancakes
For added nutrition make them from whole grain, sweeten with mashed fruit, and add yoghurt or milk. You can also use cookie cutters to create pancake stars, hearts and other interesting shapes.
Give tofu cubes
Tofu is an excellent source of protein. Fry up a batch and serve in finger-friendly cubes. Unseasoned tofu is bland, so you can try serving it with dipping sauces—barbecue sauce, honey mustard, ketchup.
Give peeled fruit
You can’t go wrong with soft fruits, which are packed with vitamins. Start with soft fruits like mango or peaches. Soft avocado is also full of healthy fats (read our article on why babies need fats) and fiber. These can be slippery, though, so choose fruit that are not overripe (they’ll be too soft and mushy).
Load up on steamed veggies
You used to puree them for your baby, but now he’s ready for a little texture. Steam them instead. Carrots, broccoli, and potatoes are great bets—just cut them up into little pieces.
Serve healthy cereals and breads
Search local health food stores for less sugary versions of the popular Cheerios. For other fiber-rich, whole-grain alternatives, try cutting up tortillas, bran muffins, and breads. Just cut them up into little pieces that your child can’t choke on. You can even serve your child his little-kid version of a bread and have cheese platter—just stick to mild cheeses like string cheese or mozzarella.
Photo from carmenwiki.osu.edu