By Babease Nutritionist Judy More

Raspberries and strawberries

Raspberries and strawberries

During weaning, offering finger foods alongside spoon-feeding is important for helping your baby to develop their self-feeding skills. At the same time, they will learn to associate the taste and smell of different foods and their appearance.

Soft vegetable finger foods are ideal to start with and harder, raw vegetable finger foods can be introduced from 9 - 10 months onwards.

Vegetable finger foods can be prepared at the same time as you are cooking your baby's or your own meals. You can also prepare them in advance and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Steam or roast vegetable fingers for babies up to the age of 8- 9 months and serve alongside their smooth or soft meals.

The Top 10 Vegetable Finger Foods for Roasting

  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Peppers
  • Celeriac
  • Courgette
  • Mushrooms
  • Butternut Squash

The Top Vegetable Finger Foods for Steaming

  • Green beans
  • Small and tender runner beans
  • Carrots
  • Baby corn
  • Courgette
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsnip
  • Mange tout

Shapes to cut: Sticks about 5cm (or 2 inches) long are best. Younger babies pick up with a grasp reflex, so finger foods need to fit into the palm of their hand, but be long enough to stick out at either end of their closed grasp. Small florets of cauliflower and broccoli can also be picked up easily grasp reflex.

Steamed vegetable finger foods: Try green beans, small and tender runner beans, carrots, baby corn, courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnip and mange tout. Steam for about 10 minutes until the vegetable fingers are tender, but not so soft that they will lose their shape when squeezed in your baby's fist.

Roasted vegetable finger foods: Roasting gives a slightly less bitter taste which babies love. Simply brush the raw vegetable fingers with rapeseed oil before cooking on a baking tray in a hot oven about 180°C for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. For more flavour you can add a couple of herbs or spices to the oil, such as ground cumin or ground coriander. Try sticks of beetroot, carrot, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, peppers, celeriac, courgette, mushrooms or butternut squash.

Babies 9+ months: For babies aged between 9-12 months you can continue to offer the cooked vegetables listed above, as well as introduce some harder, raw finger foods. Try sticks of raw carrot, cucumber, courgette, peppers, baby corn, raw tomatoes and celery. At this age babies are starting to to pick up smaller pieces of food between their thumb and first finger, so you can also offer cooked peas and broad beans. Always cut soft round foods such as cherry tomatoes and grapes in half, as these can be a choking hazard.

When introducing finger foods, it's important to complement these with healthy spoon feeding options. Babease baby food is 100% organic, vegetable-led, and nutritious and the recipes introduce little ones' palates to the wonderful flavours and textures of vegetables, helping to create healthy eating preferences from the start. Babease is similar to the food you would make it at home, when you do not have the time to cook from scratch and because Babease is the only baby food brand to list ingredients in order of quantity on the front of the pack, nothing is hidden. The packaging also features an informative ingredient wheel, which indicates the balance of ingredients used in each recipe, enabling parents to make informed choices at a glance, with no nasty surprises.

www.babease.co.uk