Ask the expert: Baby and toddler snack ideas

baby snacks

If your baby is starting solids, age-appropriate snack ideas are always welcome – particularly as your baby becomes a toddler and then a walker, and moves through the stages of eating solid foods. Baby and lunchbox cookbook author Anna Bordignon of Munch Cupboard has some suggestions.

Q: What are some snacks I can give my baby as they move through the stages of weaning onto solid foods? Can you give a list of “ages and stages” of snack foods?

In the early stages of weaning, your baby’s primary source of nutrition will be milk. As baby gets used to solids, you can start to introduce snacks and finger foods. These are great between meals or when you are out and about.

Snacks and finger foods will help baby strengthen their fine motor skills. This will help them hold cutlery later. Another benefit of feeding baby snacks and finger foods is that it encourages baby to try different tastes and textures.  It also gives baby some independence.

It’s important to give your baby age-appropriate snacks.

From the ages of 7-9 months, baby may be ready to try:

  • Cooked carrot sticks.
  • Small banana chopped into slices or fist-sized chunks.
  • Avocado that is soft and ripe. Either mash it and spoon-feed it to your baby, or slice it into easy-to-hold fingers or chunks.
  • Rice cakes, but be sure to try baby brands or plain adult varieties, as these will have less salt and flavourings.
  • Bread soldiers with butter, a homemade cheese spread or sugar free fruit spread.
  • Kumara, cooked, cooled and cut into thin strips.
  • Dry cereals are perfect for honing that pincer grip, dry, sugar-free cereal like cornflakes is fun for your baby to hold and dig into.

From the ages of 9-12 months baby may be ready to try a wider variety of foods and more textures. Some foods they may be ready for include:

  • Bread-based snacks like small breadsticks, pita bread, unsalted crackers, small pieces of scone, and pancakes.
  • Cooked pasta shapes, e.g. bow-ties, shells. These may still need to be chopped up.
  • Fruit slices, e.g. melon, banana, pear, apple, mango, orange, satsuma, halved and deseeded grapes.
  • Dried soft pieces of fruit like raisins and apricots chopped to appropriate sizes.
  • Soft cooked chunks of vegetables: carrot, parsnip, swede, kumara, and taro.
  • Small pot of plain yoghurt with some chopped fruit.
  • Thin “fingers” of firm cheeses, like cheddar.
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