Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking for ideas

We've landed in finger food land, and we're having trouble meeting the natives.

Elliot is all about feeding himself these days and I feel like we're stuck in a rut on offerings. He's got a great pincer grip, but he's not a superstar chewer/swallower just yet. Part of this is due to the fact he only has two teeth, but mostly it's because he prefers filling his cheeks like a chipmunk to swallowing the large quantities of food he eagerly puts into his mouth. We've started putting only a piece or two of food on his tray at a time and trying to wait for him to swallow that before we give him another one, but he fakes us out sometimes. Last night, I watched him like a hawk and made sure to check his mouth between bites and I STILL found half a dozen pieces of chicken breast in his mouth after I took him out of his highchair. This boy could give any psych med cheeker a run for their money. But all of this is a tangent and not what I came here for advice on - I'm sure this will sort itself out as he gets more practice eating chunky foods.

What I'm looking for are suggestions on what you feed (or fed) your new finger-food eater? So far, we have tried: Cheerios, Rice Krispies, steamed apple, peaches, banana, peas, chicken, pasta noodles, crackers, and our favorite discovery to date - veggie Pirate's Booty*. I'd love to give him avocado but he hates it, despite repeated exposure. Ditto for cooked carrots. I know he's supposed to be able to eat other steamed veggies but the couple we've tried in chunk form (sugar snap peas and broccoli - the same ones we were eating at the time) were too fibrous for him to break down. We're going to keep experimenting. I have cantaloupe, zucchini and acorn squash on deck. I just thought I'd put the question out there and see what tips the wise Internets could provide.

*If you haven't tried this, consider it my contribution to the brainstorm. It's big and firm so it's easy to pick up, but it dissolves easily in their mouths and Elliot LOVES it.


Strawberry said...

Ha! I totally know what you mean with the fake-out. Sometimes, minutes after we've taken Miles out of the high chair, we'll catch him chewing a piece of chicken he stowed away. These kids think they're hamsters ;-)

I have no ideas to offer becuase you've got us beat by far. Veggie booty...gonna have to try that!

Melissa in Durham said...

We used to give Moira black beans and shredded cheese, or cottage cheese with small chunks of fruit in it. Chick peas or really any kind of bean like navy beans. Sometimes to add a little flavor to beans I put tiny bit of olive oil and grated parmesan cheese on them. Steamed soy beans. Those little freeze dried apples and other fruit were a hit as well as the puffs or the wheels. The wheels are good if you need to keep him busy for a minute. We used to give Moira one when she was done eating, but we were not, so she had something to munch and we could actually use 2 hands to feed ourselves, and all still be at the table together.
I read one idea for a qhick snack idea is to take a can of vegetable and pasta soup, and drain the soup, and let them eat the soft veggies and noodles, but soup tends to be high in sodium, so I only used that for cases when we were traveling in the car, or just exhausted and needed something quick and easy.
Along with acorn squash is buttnernut squash, also mandarin oranges, white or sweet potato steamed or baked. We would put cheerios in yogurt as she was learning to use a spoon because it makes it thicker. That could be a messy finger food. Cooked beets Moira used to love.
Oh, and if you don't have them, those snack cups that have lids they can put their hands in, but are harder to spill, great for fussy car rides or if you need to cook dinner and he is already getting hungry. Before we moved we had a 30 minute ride home, and being able to hand Moira a cup with some cheerios made many a trip better.
Good luck! Sounds like you have a good variety already.

For the Long Haul said...

Sounds like you have the basics covered. I also do tofu cubes after cooking them in chicken broth to give them a little flavor. Also string cheese (slice off a bit and then cut that into 4 pieces). And I just this last weekend did a big box of organic mac and cheese. Cooked the whole thing up and then cut each elbow noodle into like three pieces. She LOVES it.

katie.edwards said...

Hmm, lemme think. Gavin is 13 months and I should be full of ideas, but I'm actually still looking for them myself! We do Veggie Booty also and he loves it. I think it tastes like crap but what do I know? :) I make toast out of healthy bread and cut it into little squares, he eats unsalted rice cakes [small bits or gnaws on a big piece], bits of string cheese, corn, Earth's Best teething biscuits, um, dog hair from the floor...that's all I can think of at the moment. Still eating homemade baby food for the most part but we do try to get him to eat some of our food also. He is bigger than Elliott though and 4 months is a big difference [Gav also has 6 teeth so that probably helps as well]. Good luck, and I look forward to hearing everyone else's ideas! :)