Finger food is essentially a continuation of pedagogical complementary foods – a trend that appeared in Russia relatively recently, but has already gained widespread acceptance. What it is? Pedagogical supplements are not an independent system of complementary foods in its traditional sense (it does not contain specific recommendations regarding the sequence of introducing products and their combinations), but a way to acquaint the child with “adult” food and behavior at the table.
He implies that if a crumb shows interest in eating in my mother’s plate, she should offer him this food in the amount of “microdoses” (a drop on the tip of a teaspoon or a pea-sized piece) without prior grinding. The main slogan of pedagogical foods is: “Sit a child at a common table, when the whole family is assembled, and let him choose what he likes.”
Children eat with hands more conveniently and “tastier” than with cutlery, which is why they do it with pleasure. But finger food is not just entertainment: the “finger food” has many advantages.
* Improving the ability to chew. There is no way that up to the year the baby received only breast milk, and then suddenly it began to wonderfully chew the pieces.
The crumb learns to chew gradually, so it is very important not to miss the age stages of this skill and to offer solid foods in a timely manner.
* Training grasp movements. When eating with their hands, the child develops a “pincer” grip (kids grab small pieces of food using the thumb and index finger), which is necessary for the development of fine motor skills. In the future, this will help them perform many exercises in which they need to be able to grab small objects: lay out a mosaic, sculpt, draw, embroider.
In addition, the development of “tweezers” capture prepares a child’s hand to the letter.
* Correction of eating behavior. For two years it has already been formed in some way, and if before the diet was poor and uniform, when accustomed to the “adult table”, the crumb can reject new products. “Eating with your fingers” —first from the mother’s plate, and then with your own — will help the child harmoniously move on to a common meal.
* A way of knowing the world around. Eating with your hands at an early age has a positive effect on children’s development in general: the baby receives a lot of information – visual, tactile, olfactory, gustatory and even auditory (products can be of different colors, tastes, textures – they can crunch, squish, etc.).
This is very useful: besides the fact that the child is accustomed to independence, he conducts a kind of identification of dishes on the table.
British scientists have proven that “eating by hand” reduces the risk of obesity in a child. They conducted an experiment in which more than 150 children aged from 6 months to 6 years took part.
Half of the parents offered their children to take pieces of solid food from a plate, the rest were fed with a spoon. The results of the study showed that the children who joined the common table through finger food, less likely to suffer from overweight in middle and senior school age.
Domestic doctors do not quite agree with the conclusion of foreign specialists: if the child is not persuaded and not blackmailed (“spoon for mother, spoon for father”, “eat – I will give candy!”), He, even eating with cutlery, will determine for himself optimal amount of food absorbed. The main thing is that on the children’s plate there should always be high-quality and healthy products!
From what age can you offer crumbs of food in pieces? As soon as the baby starts to sit confidently without help.
Well, if at 4.5 months under sensitive parental guidance, he will gum a dry steering wheel or a piece of apple in a nibbler. Do not forget that the consistency of the main meals of complementary foods (porridge, mashed potatoes, etc.) should gradually become thicker, so that the child has a need to work with jaws, lips, tongue.
Then you can reduce the degree of grinding: use a meat grinder, grater, fork. All this will gradually teach the kid full chewing food.
Usually from 7 to 12 months this skill is successfully formed, and at the age of one year, if the child received pediatric supplements according to age, he may well be fed with his hands on his own.
Food with hands is always present in our diet, because bread, pies, chicken wings, khinkali, desserts like “eastern sweets”, and much more we eat without cutlery. Therefore, finger food in the child’s diet will always be there, and it is not necessary to observe artificially its volume. But to teach the child to cutlery must necessarily: in eight months, he should eat with a spoon with his mother, and in 1.5 years – use the cutlery on their own.
It is both civilized and more hygienic.
Be patient: it is not easy to encourage baby food with your hands, because at first more of it will fall on the floor instead of the mouth. Cover the table with oilcloth and use a plate with a suction cup – it will be harder for her baby to knock over.
Also for finger food, special containers like lunch boxes with internal dividers are good: spread the edible pieces into different sections, and let the crumb examine their contents.
* Do not feed the baby in your arms: the risk of choking is much lower if the baby is sitting opposite you in a highchair.
* Do not offer crumbs of food when he is upset, over-excited, crawls, or watching television: small pieces of food are potentially dangerous – they can be easily stuck in your nose or ear and also try to breathe. Do not leave the child during the meal unattended!
* For the same reason, do not give him a small dense rounded products: grapes, nuts and raisins, green peas, olives. Cut vegetables and fruits of dense texture (apples, cucumbers, carrots, celery) in small cubes.
* Discard the fish: small, thin and elastic bones are very difficult to remove from it.
* Forget about sausages and sausages: they are very difficult to chew and swallow.
* If you use a nibler, monitor the integrity and purity of the nets. And, of course, be sure to wash your hands before eating – both children and their own.
A good food for eating with your hands will be one that can be divided into small, easily chewed or even pieces that dissolve in your mouth. The main thing is to make sure that the crumb not only can easily hold them in their hands, but does not choke either.
Vegetables. They need to be cooked so that they are soft, peel and peel the seeds. Diced boiled potatoes are great food for eating with your hands.
Small soft cubes of boiled carrots, broccoli, pumpkins are also perfect for a child up to a year. A treat for older kids: slices of cucumber or sweet pepper – these vegetable sticks are conveniently dipped in various sauces.
Fruits. Small cubes of watermelon, melon, ripe banana, pear will do.
Cut them into small plates or sticks to make it easier for the baby to bite off.
All the rest. Also, the baby will be useful and perfectly suitable for eating with hands soft pasta (tubes, horns, shells, bows), egg yolks from quail eggs and small pieces of soft cheese (tofu, goat or mozzarella), meatballs for a couple, pieces of chicken or turkey.
Slice the pancakes into thin strips – you can directly dip them into yogurt, sour cream or fruit puree.
The fact that from a very early age it is useful for the crumbs to feel different things with their hands, today almost all parents know. The fingertips are equipped with a multitude of nerve endings, and their stimulation not only transmits a lot of information to the brain, but also relieves nervous tension.
It is safe to say: food with hands soothes. Any tactile sensations have a beneficial effect not only on the nervous system, but also, according to some, increase immunity.
When a crumb eats with his hands, he is not so much saturated as he explores unfamiliar objects with the help of his mouth (in the tactile plane his mouth provides him with more efficient information than hands). Some children up to two years old retain the need to study subjects in exactly this form: “Everything drags into her mouth,” complain mothers. Nevertheless, in two years a child should be as accustomed as possible to civilized food intake – to be able to use a spoon and fork.
If the baby continues to eat with his hands, it comes either from a lack of upbringing, or from a lack of attention and a lack of tactile sensations, which at that age should be replenished by other appropriate means (using the hugs of the mother, on the carpet with your favorite toys).
Annabel Carmel “Top100 Finger Food”
Mrs. Annabelle Carmel, the best selling author of books on baby food in the UK, presented caring mothers with a real magic wand, an edition that contains hundreds of seductive finger food flavors that are delicious in their simplicity. They will not only acquaint the crumb with different textures and tastes of food, but also make him a happy and contented researcher and discoverer.
The book is in English.