As your baby grows, you would want them to explore new tastes and texture and build fine motor skills, what better way than to use healthy baby snacks?
Weaning baby does not need teeth to chew as before their molars appear, babies use their gums to mash food! So at the stage around 12 to 18 months of age, you can start exercising your baby’s motor skills like hand-eye coordination and the pincer grip by offering baby snacks that they can grab and mouth, with this, you can prepare your baby for a lifetime of healthy eating!
You can start giving your baby finger foods when he is ready unless advised otherwise by your pediatrician. How to know when to start? You would know when your baby starts crawling with tummy off the floor, tries to feed himself by hand or stuff toys into his mouth, and when he is able to mash food (or your fingers!) with his jaws, he is probably ready.
You can feed just about anything you like to your little one to try, but be sure it is age-appropriate! Because baby’s intestinal tract is still immature at this stage, you wouldn’t want to feed something your baby’s stomach can’t handle. So hold off on sashimi and foie gras!
Avoid feeding: Raw honey, unpasteurised cheeses, and shellfish. Choking hazards such as whole seeds, nuts or grapes. Too much salt and sugar.
Take note of: Meats, fish, and eggs should be fully cooked.
Taste tip: Try sprinkling spices like cinnamon for added flavor!
Note to parents and guardians: When in doubt, check with your pediatrician first and never leave the baby alone during snack time!
Here is the list of healthy snacks you can feed your baby!
Contains natural sweetness and juicy bites, fruits are the easiest place to start!
- Bananas: Bananas are soft and mushy, it contains loads of nutrients and will appeal to your baby’s sweet (imaginary) tooth. Peel and cut it into chunks she can easily hold and gnaw on.
- Mangoes: Mangoes are also soft to bite, rich in vitamin A, dietary fibre, and not to mention sweet too! Slice up a ripe mango with skin still intact so that baby has something to grip. To make it healthier, you can lightly coat the chunks with a powder of finely ground rolled oats or wheat germ.
- Blueberries: Keep in mind that you shouldn’t serve them whole as they can cause your baby to choke, cut them in half or crush them first, or you can use them to add flavor to mini pancakes or muffins for your baby!
The easiest way to get your child to eat vegetables is to start young!
- Broccoli florets and baby sweetcorn: Each of them are full of vitamins and minerals! These little things have the perfect texture for baby to pick up, just steam, cool and serve!
- Carrots and pumpkin: Rich in beta carotene for healthy eyes, skin and immune system. Cut them into suitably sized sticks before steaming!
- Potato or sweet potato: Slice into sticks and bake them in the oven, but remove them before they get crisp! Everyone in the family can enjoy this snack as well!
Babies still get the majority of their nutrition from mother’s milk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce them to other protein and calcium-rich foods! Try these out!
- Firm cheeses (but not hard): Mini Edam, cheddar, Gouda, and parmesan are great options. Slice them into easy-to-hold sticks but remember to choose only dairy products that are made with pasteurised milk!
- Eggs: Whole food packed with proteins, just boil a whole egg till the yolk is completely solid. Then remove the shell and slice into quarters for your baby to pick at. You could also serve them omelet strips, pan fry whisked an egg with a little vegetable oil.
- Meat: Baby can gnaw on thin strips of well-cooked meat. Start with chicken and turkey, white fish like sole and cod, then move on to pork and beef if you wish. Experiment with steaming, baking, grilling and pan-frying. But always keep in mind to minimize the usage of seasoning and oil!
Introduce whole grains to your baby’s diet with these great ideas!
- Toasted bread ‘soldiers’: Baby will probably gun it into a soggy mess but the texture is fun for them, especially for teething babies! Let her dip them into her favorite fruit puree like mashed avocado or hummus.
- Cereal puffs: A quick and easy snack, especially when you’re out and about. Choose those with no artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
With these tips, I wish you good luck! You and your baby will have fun discovering new flavors!