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Babies, Nutrition, Snacks

6 Meal Ideas for Wholesome Stage 3 Baby Food

Once your baby has reached about 10 months of age, he or she will likely be ready to move past smooth baby purees and into the exciting world of self-feeding. Although meals can get more creative with thicker solids in the mix, the transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3 baby food can also be a real challenge.

To ease your baby through this big milestone, below you’ll find a list of recommended first finger foods, followed by ideas for mixing and matching them into well-balanced, wholesome baby food meals.

12 Nutrient-Packed, Single-Ingredient Baby Finger Foods

For the healthy growth and development of your baby, Stage 3 foods need to provide more calories from a wider variety of sources. At this stage, your baby has already begun to eat solids and is now ready to practice the “pincer grasp” with larger, thicker, chunkier and squishier foods.

Try starting out with these easy-to-grab, easy-to-mush finger foods for babies:

  1. English peas
  2. Soft beans
  3. Boiled potatoes or yams
  4. Cooked carrots
  5. Green beans
  6. Zucchini
  7. Corn
  8. Scrambled eggs
  9. Firm tofu
  10. Lean meats
  11. Salmon
  12. Bite-sized pasta

Wondering why these are some of the best first finger foods for your baby? They’re appropriately sized for little fingers, soft enough to mush without molars and small enough not to present a choking hazard. Plus, they’re brightly colored and packed with critical nutrients, vitamins and minerals to power the rapid growth and development taking place at this age.

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Single-ingredient finger foods are also a great stepping stone toward more complex Stage 3 foods, as they let your baby become familiar with the many sensory and motor changes that are happening—like differences in food texture and appearance, the use of fingers or utensils to eat and the potential frustration of self-feeding (especially if your baby is teething).

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Mix and Match: 6 Healthful Ingredient Combos for Wholesome Baby Food

The real fun begins when you mix and match your baby’s Stage 3 foods! Here are six of our favorite ways to create complete and wholesome baby food meals from our favorite first finger foods.

1. Braised Chicken, Garnet Yam & Carrot

Steamed carrots and roasted yam provide a smooth texture and essential dietary fiber, while antibiotic-free chicken breast has plenty of lean protein to supply your baby’s increasingly active body and curious mind.

2. Chicken Meatballs & Pasta

Tiny pasta like ditalini is one of the most quintessential finger foods for babies, especially when cooked to a soft state for easier mushing. This dish adds bite-sized chicken meatballs to the mix for a hearty serving of protein.

3. Carrot, English Pea & Garnet Yam

Peas are one of the most satisfying finger foods for your baby because they’re easy to grab, smoothly textured and naturally sweet. Layered with vibrant chunks of carrot and garnet yam, this dish is both brightly colored and rich with fiber.

4. Tofu, Sweet Soy Glazed Carrot & Zucchini

This finger-friendly meal mixes tender organic carrots and melt-in-your-mouth zucchini with firmer chunks of tofu—a nutritious, plant-based protein—to let your little one experience a wide range of textures.

5. Beef Meatloaf, Steamed Potato & Corn

Perfectly sized for grasping and handling, sweet corn is another ideal stage 3 baby food. In this dish, steamed sweet corn and potato are served with antibiotic-free beef meatloaf for a filling, protein-rich meal.

6. Ratatouille Pasta

Freshly roasted vegetables and soft ditalini pasta come together for a simple dish that’s vibrant, varied and full of vitamins. A dash of thyme also introduces your baby to the culinary delights of seasoning!

These six meals have been designed by Nurture Life’s team of child nutrition experts, including our culinary team and pediatric dietitians, to provide the recommended vitamins, minerals and nutrients as your baby transitions to finger foods. Of course, they aren’t the only wholesome baby food combinations you can make. Feel free to play around and mix and match different ingredients—or even parts of Nurture Life’s well-rounded meals—to find the perfect Stage 3 baby food for your little one’s taste.

RJ Bio

Rachael Janas

Rachael joined the Nurture Life team as the Marketing Production & QA Manager. From menu design to nutrient analysis, she covers all things food. Rachael is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a strong foundation in clinical nutrition and a keen interest in nutritious food with phenomenal flavor. Her passion for incorporating whole foods and creative cuisine while focusing on age-specific nutrient needs of children is essential to Nurture Life’s menu design. Rachael has been practicing dietetics since 2011, with the bulk of her experience in clinical nutrition at Loyola Medical Center, specializing in patients with cystic fibrosis as well as critical care nutrition related to lung disease and lung transplant. She also has experience in cardiac health and nutrition during pregnancy. Rachael received her B.S. from Saint Louis University in Missouri and completed a dietetic internship with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Rachael’s interests include creative cooking at home, using a variety of ingredients, spices and herbs for a unique meal each night. She truly believes nutrition and food should be enjoyable and that all food can be enjoyed in moderation.