Need Good Finger Food Recipes for a Picky 14 Month Old Boy

Updated on June 04, 2008
A.W. asks from Berkeley, CA
10 answers

My 14 month old son has suddenly rejected all of his favorite foods (pasta or potatoes with veggies and cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.). He only seems to want to drink water or milk or eat dry finger foods. We are not worried about his growth, but if he doesn't eat enough during the daytime, he wakes up in the middle of the night hungry. I discovered a recipe for "out of the garden vegetable pancakes" that he really loves. I am looking for other recipes that would incorporate some nutritious foods (vegetables, dairy, tofu, potatoes, corn, fortified cereal, legumes). He eats mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes we mix a little chicken or fish with his other foods. Pancakes, fritatas, or some kind of little balls that he can pick up would be best. I would be ever so grateful if you could share some of your successful finger food recipes with me. Toddler-tested is always best. Thank you!

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answers from San Francisco on

Garden Burgers cut into strips and then toasted in the toaster oven got dry enough for my older son when he stopped eating all things mushy. For a while he would only eat grilled cheese sandwiches cut into strips. Dr. Praeger's makes frozen spinach pancakes (berkeley natural grocery store) that my 15 month old likes. And Amy's frozen foods makes little spinach and feta pillow snacks (whole foods) that they both like. They also like her pizza toaster pops. Yes, with two young boys I now rely more on the organic frozen foods. I just try to give them some of what the parents are eating and then add one "kid food" to make sure they get something in their stomachs. Also, frozen peas, corn and blueberries. Kids like to eat them when they are still frozen - not mushy!

The dry sauteed green beans at Kirin in berkeley seem to be quite popular with kids. After eating the fried salty ones several times, my son eventually started liking steamed or even raw green beans.

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answers from San Francisco on

I got in a rut when our first son was this age....ran outa ideas for finger foods. Then a freind gave me this great book,' The Super Baby Food Book.' It's a thick purple paperback chock full of all kindsa ideas: for finger foods, recipes, non-toxic cleaning products, arts & crafts ideas, when fruits/veggies are in season & much more. A couple of things I gave our son at this age, veggie burgers & tofu. I'd cut the tofu in chunks & then saute it in a bit of soy sauce. At this age, kids have control over pretty much just 3 things: peeing, pooping & eating so it may just be that he's trying to take control over this & it could easily turn into a big battle that could go on for years. Give him some choices at meal times of maybe 2 items & then what he chooses is what he eats. Hope this helps & good luck!

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answers from San Francisco on

Could be that your son is asserting his growing independence in the culinary department :-). I was also mystified when my girls were around that age and suddenly things they wolfed down weeks ago were going untouched .... later I read in Ellyn Satter's "Child of Mine, feeding with love and good sense" that it's VERY common for children at this age to be more assertive in the food department. Her advice is to continue offering a variety of healthy items even if the same item was just rejected hours ago, because oftentimes it'll take 10 attempts before your child will allow the item to be left on his plate and maybe another 10 attempts until he decides he wants to put it in his mouth.

Some things my kids liked:
-slice bananas into discs about 1/4" thick, dip them in pancake batter and cook like regular pancakes (make a bunch and freeze the extras, they reheat quickly in the toaster oven. sprinkle a little wheat germ on the toaster oven tray to prevent the pancakes from sticking). Tasty and the perfect size for toddler finger-food. My girls are 6.5YO now and they still love these - the banana takes on a slightly pudding-ish texture from the cooking. Apple slices also work.

-save the crumbs from the bottom of your bag of cheerios and roll finger-food size cubes of fruit, cooked veggies (sweet potato, carrots, etc.) or tofu. The "cheerio dust" makes the cubes easier for toddlers to pick up.

-for snacking, the air-puffed grain cereals are good to have on hand. My girls faves are the puffed corn and the puffed rice, the puffed kamut is also nice and these are all good sizes for little fingers to pick up (and these have no added oils, sugars, or preservatives. another bonus is that they 'squish' instead of crumble so when you accidentally step on the ones that fell to the floor, there aren't a ton of crumbs to sweep up). We usually get the arrowhead mills brand at Berkeley Bowl for a little over $1/bag.

-hummus - they'd actually eat it straight out of a bowl or on crackers, rice cakes, or veggie strips

-cooked beans. I get dried beans in bulk at Berkeley Bowl, soak overnight and boil, then freeze in small portions for cooking or for snacking. My kids liked snacking on cooked garbanzo beans best.

- make "sweet potato fries" by slicing sweet potatos into french-fry length strips, coating lightly with cooking oil (dust with a little cinnamon and nutmeg or salt, depending on your preference), and baking (depending on your oven, about 15-30 min at around 400 degrees)

-if you have small cookie cutters, sometimes cutting cheese and bread into fun shapes will make them more appealing to little ones. Experiment with other shapes and textures too - kids who don't care for carrot sticks or cheese squares sometimes find that a mound of shredded carrots or thin strips of "cheese like noodles (my girls' name for cheese run through the shredder attachment of my Cuisinart)" looks irresistible.

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answers from San Francisco on

Your son is brilliant by naturally encouraging you to get creative with other food choices....wheat, corn, soy, potoatoes and pasturized dairy products are usually challenging to digest.

Here are a few ideas that my gals enjoyed... that you can make yourself that are packed with nutrition, especially the essential fats and naturally occuring lactobacillus/probiotics....

Tempe is a great alternative to tofu since it is fermented, thus easily digestable and less processed. Pan fry with olive oil until crispy on both sides. Make dipping sauce of ginger, miso, garlic and olive oil. Stir in at the last minute and serve hot with sauteed baby carrot circles and peas.

Super delicious protein and omega filled 'milk' shake.

1 cup raw nutmilk
(soak organic almonds or walnuts a night or two) blend with 2 cups water and strain through cheesecloth or use your coffee filter)
2 raw dates
(options, Maca, goji berries, raw chocolate, avocado, etc)

Quinoa is also a very excellent superfood...and it is not a grain so there is no gluten. It has tons of amino acids and protein. It is best when soaked then cooked like rice. My kids like it with homemade pesto (using mostly parsley) and carmelized colorful veges and garlic.

Fermented veges for natural probiotics and digestive health (try Cultured Sauerkraut) available at Whole Foods and in Berkely at the farmers market on Sat and Tues)


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answers from San Francisco on

One thing my toddler LOVES is potato-kale pancakes. I just boil quartered potatoes and saute chopped kale, mash them up together with butter and form little flat cakes and then slightly brown them on both sides in a pan with a little olive oil...she loves these and sometimes when she sees I am making them gets so impatient that she likes to eat just the mashed potatoes and kale before they are made into cakes.

Also, someone mentioned mini turkey meat balls, I make little "meatcakes" (a meatball but flattened because I find they cook faster and more consistently throughout and I am always paranoid about poultry not being cooked well enough) with turkey, chopped spinach, egg/milk, breadcrumbs and grated parmesan that my daughter loves...a great thing to make a batch of and freeze, perfect when you need a quick meal.

Thanks for posting this request, I am constantly looking for new ideas for feeding my erratic eater.

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.
My son is 21 months old is also a very picky eater. Here are some Indian recipes that are healthy, easy to pick up and eat and wholesome.
Chickpea (besan) Pancakes. Just miss chickpea flour with water, whisk to pancake like consistency, add grated carrots or broccoli, salt, pepper and make them like pancakes.
Wheat flour parathas stuffed with boiled potatoes or any other vegetable of your choice.
Idlis(you can get them ready made at an Indian store)
hope this helps.

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answers from San Francisco on

How about a good old fashioned peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread cut into small bite-sized pieces. also, steamed rice pressed into a ball called a rice ball and vienna sausauges.



answers from San Francisco on

my now 15 month old kid would only eat finger food from the beginning. i deal with it by cooking several different types of "loafs" with tofu, lentils, rice, veggies, etc, slicing them and freezing for meals throughout the month. also on the menu are little sandwiches, cut up into squares, pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit, cheese and zucchini fritters, rotelle or other finger friendly pasta shapes in sauce, cut up cheese, cut up veggie dogs, steamed and cut up veggies, polenta, baked tofu squares. the list is endless. however, i've found that making normal sized batches of stuff and freezing individual servings to be a huge time saver.



answers from San Francisco on

Try Juice Plus gummies or chewables. A great way to ensure your child is getting the nutrients of 17 fruits and veggies in their diet everyday. A. B.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,

You might consider making ground Chicken or Turkey mini-meatballs. My son loves them.

Also, we have found that fun foods like string cheese are a huge hit.

Our son is 17 months and around 14 months we definately started seeing a decrease in what he would eat. Often he wants to eat when we eat and have what we are having.

If you can try to sit together for even a quick breakfast he might surprise you. My son loves Honey Bunches of Oats ceral but only will eat it when it comes from my bowl.

We also give him a snack at 5:00 p.m. and then all eat dinner together. He seems to want to eat more when he sees us eating.

Hope this helps and happy dining,


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