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Take a deep breath. You almost have a one year old. Eek! It’s exciting and sad all at the same time! As I write this my son Ellis is 11 months old and WOW, so many new things all the time. Practicing walking (not quite there yet), saying “dada”, and learning to feed himself. Lots of exciting milestones and creating a new toddler schedule. Just take them all in because time really does fly! Today we are going to prep an entire month of healthy baby finger food recipes in one afternoon! It’s an easy plan that will leave you prepared, with stress free nutritious meals to feed your baby.
This meal prep plan is for stage 3 of baby food or baby finger foods, 10-12 months old. It can also be slightly modified for one year olds! I feed my 2 and 1/2 year old some of the recipes so it can definitely keep growing with your child.
If you have a younger baby make sure you check out stage 1 (6-8 months) and stage 2 (8-10) baby food plans. A little recap on the best reasons to make your own baby food. Saves money, no unknown additives and prepping the whole month in a day saves time! What more do you need?
In stage 2 baby foods, we started to get them used to chunkier consistencies and a variety of flavors with spices. These last two months of the first year are all about finger foods! You might have done some finger food snacks, but now you’ll integrate them into meals. Your baby is starting to develop their pincer grasp to pick small things up- like food and put it in their mouth. After their first birthday, they mostly eat table food and start working on using silverware. Even if your baby is loovvving those purees, it’s an important milestone for them to learn how to chew and how to put food in their mouths.
*Make sure you scroll to the end to subscribe and get a complete resource guide for making homemade baby food! Complete with 50+ recipe ideas for this meal plan, a shopping list and more!
What does stage 3 mean?
It means you almost have a toddler! And the last phase of making baby food, but these foods are also perfect for one year olds. The amount of purees you give these last two months will depend on your child. My first son Miles loved his purees and wasn’t as interested in feeding himself- but we still added some finger foods. My second son Ellis tries to dip his fingers in the puree and feed himself by licking it off his hand. Sooo, yes he is all about feeding himself and is kind of over baby food! I made a minimal amount of purees this month.
- 3 meals and 2 snacks (in addition to breast milk or formula)
- Use purees as a backup plan if your baby does not want the bite size food.
- Optional: This is debated whether you should start cow’s milk before first birthday. If you do, in the last month start giving about ¼ cup of whole milk (or water) in sippy cup. Gets them used to using a cup versus bottle and drinking cold instead of warm like formula and breast milk.
- Balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains and protein.
- Choking is a huge worry for parents starting finger foods. We’ll talk about no-no foods and the size to cut things up. Don’t leave them unattended when trying these new foods, but also don’t worry too much because they are age appropriate!
- No juice or honey until after first birthday.
A couple of disclaimers before we start!
Just like cooking for your family, planning is key and following this strategy is exactly that. Meal planning 2.0- the baby version! If you decide to make your own healthy baby finger food recipes, you still don’t want it to be another chore or run out of certain foods mid week. Does this happen sometimes? Of course! We are human. But I always feel best after I prep for the whole month in one afternoon. You can too!
Make sure you are in the right age group! Follow the initial plan of introducing baby food if your baby has not started to eat solids (6-8 Months) or stage 2 baby food if they are between 8-10 months.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the amount of sugar that is in all of our food and it’s out of control! None of the recipes include added sugar and very minimal salt if at all. For the same reasons it’s not recommended to give your babies juice before their first birthday, they do not need the added sugar. We may think it tastes bad without sugar but it’s an acquired taste! See if they like it, you may be surprised.
As someone with an older picky toddler, I made the mistake of giving Miles what I knew he liked a lot instead of focusing on exposing him to new foods and textures. They may grow to love them. That is the only way they learn to eat new foods.
Remember that babies still get the majority of their nutrition from breast milk or formula until 1 year of age (24-32 ounces daily). A newer recommendation from the AAP is to introduce eggs, nuts and fish before a baby’s first birthday to prevent the development of allergies.
Since we are focusing on finger foods, make sure you watch out for these top 8 choking hazards:
- Hot dogs
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grapes
- Hard candy
- Big chunks of meat or cheese
- Peanut Butter (can be fed in a very thin spread)
- Raw vegetables
Okay, back to cooking!
This meal plan is very different than the first two plans because we are cooking more recipes and putting together nutritious and yummy bites that can be frozen and then grabbed on the go. Don’t be alarmed! It’s still very easy. If it seems long, it’s because I wanted to make sure the directions are super detailed and clear in addition to pointing out modifications you can do. Will take 3-4 hours to complete (that’s how long it took me, but I was stopping a lot to take pictures for you guys).
My goal is to always find recipes that blend in green vegetables because my sons usually eat around them if served individually. I’m not giving up completely for them to learn eating greenies alone, which is why cut up green beans is part of the plan!
What’s on the menu?
(*Original recipe links are in the steps below if you want instructions separated. Check out my other meal prep for planning an easy Breakfast month!)
- *Broccoli Bell Pepper Egg Muffins
- Sweet Potato Fries
- *Baby Food Oatmeal Bites
- *Chicken Zucchini Carrot Meatballs
- Chopped and pureed green beans, apples, carrots and sweet potatoes
- Chopped blueberries and strawberries
Other super easy finger foods to have on hand:
- Plain Yogurt
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!
You will need:
*Read a more extensive list of everything you need to make baby food.
- Regular Muffin Pan
- Mini Muffin Pan (I can’t believe I don’t have one, ordered after I finished this day of cooking. Perfect size for toddlers. You can use a regular muffin tin and cut them in half.
- 1 cookie sheet (2 if you don’t have mini muffin tin)
- Parchment paper and aluminum foil
- Cutting board, knife, grater and peeler
- 2-4 bowls for mixing
- Steamer or Rice Cooker with steamer
- 1 medium sized pot
- Food processor or hand blender , regular blender, or baby bullet (or all 4!)
- Ice cube trays– 2
- Plastic wrap and freezer ziploc bags
- Elacra 6 ounce baby food containers (or other freezer friendly brand)
- Optional- Scooper
This list is everything you need to make the four recipes and the fruit/vegetable finger foods listed above.
- 1 pound of ground chicken (I grinded chicken breasts myself because I got 2 pounds for the whole family)
- 13 Eggs (you can get away with 12, just use 11 for egg muffins)
- 2 and ½ cups of Oats- I used 1 minute Quaker Oats
- 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions- chopped
- 3 Sweet Potatoes- 2 for sweet potato fries and 1 for puree or finger foods.
- 1 Avocado
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 floret of broccoli
- 1 Zucchini- grated
- A pound of green beans
- 1/2 cup Carrots grated (About 2 regular)
- The rest of the carrots are steamed and cut up. Since you most likely bought a bag of regular or mini carrots.
- 6 Apples- Need 1 and ½ cups of pureed apples for recipes and the rest is used for finger foods.
- 1 Banana
- Pint of blueberries and strawberries (not for recipes, just cut up for finger foods)
Options and Modifications
- ½ cup of breadcrumbs- for chicken meatballs- I omitted them because mine had added sugar which I don’t want baby to eat.
- Zucchini is for chicken meatballs- can be subbed for chopped up Spinach. Perfect place for a green veggie! My toddler didn’t even know. I may have said “gotcha!” when he finished eating them. Lol.
- Baby Food Oatmeal Bites- had 1 cup of pumpkin with ½ cup of applesauce in original recipe. I omitted pumpkin and did 1 and ½ cups of applesauce. I thought butternut squash may also be good.
- Broccoli and red bell pepper are for egg muffins- there are many variations out there for these- again perfect place for green veggies.
- Finger foods- can be subbed for what you want but may affect steaming times.
- Cooking spray
- Olive oil
- Baking Powder
- Garlic Powder
Use this resource guide for all 6 months of baby food! Includes shopping lists and recipes for all 3 stages, a first foods log and a meal planning tracker. Subscribe (free!) to my newsletter with 23K+ moms and get tips for mom life, projects, and meal preps PLUS get instant access to my resource library with ALL of my other free files and printables (including this baby food resource guide)! Once subscribed, I will send you a newsletter with all the details.
Download Your Free Baby Food Resource Guide!
Use this resource guide for all 6 months of baby food! Includes shopping lists and recipes for all 3 stages, a first foods log and a meal planning tracker.
Subscribe (free!) to my newsletter with 23K+ moms and get tips for mom life, projects, and meal preps PLUS get instant access to my resource library with ALL of my other free files and printables (including this baby food resource guide)! Once subscribed, I will send you a newsletter with all the details.
Pre Step 1:
Get out everything you need! Check list above. Clean off your counters and make enough space so you can cook calmly.
First up is the Broccoli Cheese Egg Muffins. I loosely followed this recipe but I didn’t pre cook veggies, used garlic powder instead of nutmeg, I used 12 entire eggs (instead of just egg whites for 4 of them) and I used 1 green onion instead of a sweet onion.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Chop up 1 floret of broccoli, ½ of a red bell pepper and 1 green onion.
Crack 12 eggs into a bowl. Mix together and add 1 and ½ cups of shredded cheese. Stir.
Mix veggies into bowl. Stir all together.
Get a regular muffin pan and coat with cooking spray or use wrappers.
Use a ½ cup measuring cup to scoop out mix and fill muffin pans. ( I thought this was the perfect size for filling the cups. You can also pour or use a spoon. Whatever works for you!)
If oven is ready… Put them in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
If oven is not ready, move on to next step until it is ready.
This step is for steaming some veggies for finger foods and purees.
Peel 3 sweet potatoes. Cut 1 into 4 even pieces.
Arrange 1 sweet potato, 1 pound of greens, and carrots into steamer tray. (All your carrots besides 2 or 6 mini ones that you will grate for other recipe)
Pour 2 cups of water on the bottom.
Set timer for 20 minutes.
There are a lot of sweet potato fry recipes out there- this one does not come out too crispy which I liked for baby purposes. I reheat them in the toaster for my toddler to get that crispy crust.
Cut the other two sweet potatoes into “fries” or sticks.
Arrange on cookie sheet. I line mine with aluminum foil for cleaning purposes. 🙂
Drizzle with olive oil, a little salt, garlic powder and parsley. (Optional- season however way you want but easy on the salt)
Are your egg muffins done?? If so, take them out to cool. Reset oven to 425.
When oven is preheated, add sweet potatoes. Set timer for 15 minutes. Flip over. Put back in for 15 more minutes.
*Every time you are waiting for oven to finish cooking or preheating, move on to next step of prep.
This step is all about apples- we will puree half of our apples for the oatmeal bites and the chicken meatballs. The rest can be turned into finger food pieces or pureed as well. We’ll talk more about that soon!
Peel and cut all apples into medium sized pieces.
When you are almost done, put 3 cups of water into the pot on high.
When water is boiling, put apples inside.
Boil for 8-10 minutes.
Next step is the Baby Food Oatmeal Bites! Original recipe called for a cup of pumpkin and ½ a cup of applesauce. I did not have pumpkin so I did a cup and a half of pureed apples. They came out great but I will try it again and either use pumpkin or another squash like butternut. I also added extra cinnamon because yum!
First take a bowl and put 1 banana and 1 avocado inside. Mash them up with a fork.
In another bowl, mix 2 and ½ cups of 1 minute Quaker Oats and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Pause. Do you need to flip your sweet potatoes? Or are your apples done?
Take a minute to do both of those tasks if they are ready.
* If your apples aren’t done, move on to the first part of step 7 (grate an entire zucchini and 2ish carrots) and come back. You need the apples to finish oatmeal bites.
Drain apples. Take half of them out and put into blender. We’ll come back to the other half. I used an individual cup of the ninja blender. If you’ve made baby food in the past, you know there are many different things you can use to puree food processor, a baby bullet, hand blender or a ninja (any kind) blender. I love my ninja for various reasons, but I am really dying for a hand blender to try other fun recipes.
Measure 1 ½ cups of pureed apples and add into your banana and avocado mix. (Or if you are following original recipe- 1 cup of pumpkin and ½ cup of pureed apples)
Pour the mix of oats, cinnamon, and baking powder into the banana, avocado, apple bowl. Mix together well.
Take a mini muffin pan and coat with cooking spray. I didn’t have one at the time so I used a cookie sheet.
If no muffin pan, get a cookie sheet and line with parchment paper. Coat with cooking spray. Make oatmeal balls with your hands and arrange on sheet.
Mine were huge! Still very delicious. They ended up being 15, but I cut them in half to give to baby Ellis. Make yours smaller than I did for a perfect bite.
When sweet potatoes are done, take them out to cool. Change setting on oven to 350.
Cook oatmeal bites for 10-12 minutes. (Since my “bites” were sized for giants, I cooked them 20)
Up next is your Chicken + Carrot Meatballs! Of course, I changed a couple of things from the recipe. I used a zucchini instead of spinach, added garlic powder because I pretty much put garlic in everything, and I omitted the breadcrumbs because I only had Progress Italian crumbs- high fructose corn syrup are in ingredients and I wanted that nowhere near my baby food. If I had some pure whole wheat bread crumbs I would have added those, but they were delicious nonetheless!
Cut the ends of your zucchini and grate the entire thing. It ended up being more than half a cup, but since this is a way I can get my kids to eat green vegetables- the more the better!
Grate carrots until you fill half a cup.
*If your oatmeal bites finish cooking in the middle of this step, take them out and put oven temp at 450.
Cut one green onion into small pieces.Put 1 pound of ground chicken in a bowl and knead in all ingredients with your hands. Veggies, 1/4 pureed apples, 1 egg, light salt, pepper, ½ tsp of cumin and garlic powder.
*Just like oatmeal bites, this can be done in muffin pans so if you have two use the other one! If not, they are a lot easier to form into balls than the oatmeal was.
Coat pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with cooking spray.
Make chicken meatballs with your hands and arrange on sheet or in tray.
Your oatmeal bites should be done by now. Take them out and change temp on oven to 450. When preheated, put in your chicken meatballs for 12 minutes (maybe a few more minutes depending on your oven).
Go back to your apples and steamed vegetables. I chose to make most of mine cut up finger foods because that is what Ellis is loving. My first ate finger foods but still loved his purees until his first birthday. If you are following this plan for a one year old- do all finger food!
This is what I did:
Cut up all of your apples and put some in the freezer and some in the fridge. Do the same with carrots (make sure you can smush carrots with fingers- if not cook longer).
Cut up half of your green beans and puree the other half. Puree your sweet potato in blender.
Pour purees into ice cube trays.
*Bonus step- I also cut up a few strawberries and put them in a container for easy meal times! I’ve done it with cheese also. Mealtimes are a little crazy at my house so any way I can make them easier is a win.
Freeze or Refrigerate!
Egg muffins- last in the fridge up to a week. To freeze- wrap individually in plastic wrap and then put in a large ziplock bag. (I kept a few in the fridge and froze the rest). Defrost 1-2 minutes in microwave.
Oatmeal bites- same as egg muffins. Defrost 1 minute.
Meatballs- I put a few in the fridge and the rest directly in a ziploc bag. Last 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in freezer. Defrost 1 minute.
I got these absolutely fabulous containers from Amazon. They are 6 ounces, sturdier than other tupperware- dishwasher and freezer friendly! As you can see in the following picture, I split up a lot of the foods into two containers. A little bit for the refrigerator, and the rest for the freezer. When I run out I take more from the freezer stash and transfer it over- this way they defrost slowly in fridge.
If you look at the bottom container on the right- it has a complete meal already to go! An oatmeal bite, cut up carrots, green beans and strawberries. Perfect to grab if you will be out with your baby or toddler at meal time.
Show all this hard work to your husband- how much you cooked and how easy it will be for him to feed the baby (and toddler!) as well.
Drip some water on your face like you’re sweating, hold onto your lower back like it hurts and
manipulate convince him to clean up this mess for you! 🙂
As you can see in the pictures, this plate/mat is not a perfect fit on our Graco high chair but I still love it. Especially great if you have a highchair that attaches to a table. Perfect to practice eating on a plate!
Pat yourself on the back, especially if you have done a previous prep because you are rocking this baby food! You have over a month’s worth of food! More than a month if you also include other things such as yogurt and other meals. It may be under if your husband “steals” all the sweet potato fries or you are also feeding a toddler with this plan.
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Happy meal prep! Let me know if you have questions and enjoy the rest of your cook free (at least baby) month!