26 Alternatives to Dangerous Finger Foods (for Kids)

26 Alternatives to Dangerous Finger Foods (for Kids)

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Child Eating Finger Foods
Child Eating Finger Foods

Finger foods are a type of food that you can serve in a manner that you and other people can eat them conveniently using only your fingers. Hence, people call them finger foods.

Most people eat food using spoon, fork, knife, or other cutlery. However, there are still several places, such as Bangladesh, where people almost always use their hands to eat.

So don’t worry, you won’t be judged for eating finger foods directly using your hands.

There are a lot of finger foods that you could try to prepare and eat with the whole family. Yes, finger foods are also for kiddos. But here’s the catch… there are some which are dangerous. Sad to say, not all finger foods are safe for kids.

That’s why, as a parent, you must always be careful in which finger foods to let your child eat. Let this article enlighten you about which finger foods to avoid and which ones are safe alternatives to dangerous finger foods for kids.

Alternatives to Dangerous Finger Foods for Kids

Actually, when younger kids begin to see and eat new foods, they somewhat like to begin holding them. And then that’s when they start to learn how to get some pieces of food to their mouth.

What to do? Well, for starters, prepare yourself for the mess. However, kids will take pretty much a long time playing with food while they chew on them. Keep in mind that the more you let them practice, the better they will get.

But more importantly, as a parent, especially if you’re a first timer, you want to make sure that you are only feeding your child safe finger foods. Just because kids enjoy eating a certain finger food doesn’t mean it’s safe for them.

Yes, there are a lot of dangerous finger foods for kids. Without you knowing it, your kids might already be consuming a lot of those in school or even at home. To make sure that your child only eats safe finger foods, we have listed down 25 alternatives to dangerous finger foods for kids.

However, keep in mind that it is ideal for these foods to be firm enough for children to hold them; but not too hard so that they won’t be choked.

  1. Baked or cooked beans
  2. Any soft cheese sticks
  3. Grated cheese
  4. Boiled eggs
  5. Fish or meat patties (Before cooking fish or meat patties, make sure that they are finely ground. You can also mix them with mashed potatoes and shape them into either patties or balls.)
  6. Cubes of bean curd or tofu
  7. Canned salmon or tuna that you can mix with mashed potatoes
  8. Small pieces of soft cooked meats
  9. Strips of tender chicken, lamb, or lean beef
  10. Softly cooked vegetable cubes (broccoli, carrots, pieces if cauliflower, potato, pumpkin, or zucchini)
  11. Fresh strawberries
  12. Stone fruits, such as cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums (Do not forget to remove the skin and stone.)
  13. Grapes (Remove the seeds and skin, and cut them into quarters.)
  14. Soft boiled apples and pears
  15. Canned fruits (slices of apricots, peach, pineapples, or other mixed fruits)
  16. Segments of langsat or lanzones, mandarins, oranges, and pomelo (Make sure to remove the peel and all the seeds.)
  17. Avocados
  18. Chunks or rings of soft bananas
  19. Sticks of cantaloupe or watermelon (Remove all the seeds to avoid choking.)
  20. Rice crackers or any kinds of savory biscuits (You may either let your child eat them plain or serve them with spreads.)
  21. Rusks or any dry biscuit
  22. Pikelets (These are similar top pancakes, but their batter is thicker than that of pancakes. Also, they are smaller than pancakes, but they are denser and heavier. Pikelets are eaten in countries, like Britain, New Zealand, and Scotland.)
  23. Cooked pasta that comes in different shapes (They provide easy grip for children’s little hands.)
  24. Sandwiches (with vegemite, ricotta cheese, or avocadoes) cut into smaller pieces for easy grip and bite
  25. Strips of soft bread
  26. Toasted breads 

Tips for Safe Eating

  • You must never force your children to eat. Doing that may just cause them to choke.
  • Make sure that your child is not allergic to any finger food that you give him to eat.
  • While your kids are eating, make sure that are not jumping or running around.
  • Do not leave your kids whenever they are eating. As much as possible, watch over them while they do.

Most Dangerous Foods for Kids


Most parents find a hard time feeding their kids. In fact, not only are children messy eaters – most, if not all, of them are also picky. But then again, as parents, it is your responsibility not only to make sure that you child has something to eat but also to make sure that the food that they eat is healthy and safe for them.

Most kids are fond of eating finger foods. They are easy to eat, enticing, and are tasty. However, some finger foods do more harm than good. So parents, like you, should know the risks when your child eats dangerous finger foods.

So what makes some finger foods dangerous? We have listed below several reasons that make certain finger foods dangerous for kids.

  • They are too hard to chew and break down in the mouth.
  • Some finger foods are also too gooey to swallow.
  • The texture of some finger foods is very thick and sticky.

When the food that your child eats is either hard to chew or too sticky, it may stay in the throat. And you don’t want that happening, do you? But if that’s the case, you should just cut the food into smaller and more kid-friendly portions. They must be small enough so that kids can chew and swallow them without difficulty.

If and only if ever you suspect that your child is choking, you must be able to recognize its signs, which include:

  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Gasping for air
  • Turning bluish

In addition to knowing the signs of choking in a child, you must also know and be able to carefully do the Heimlich Maneuver or abdominal thrusts. Although you must keep in mind that you must do this emergency technique on children with care to avoid more risks.

Heimlich Maneuver
Heimlich Maneuver

Plus, you must also know which finger foods to avoid, which includes:

Seeds Seeds are a hard to chew. Because of that, they are a real choking hazard. We know, seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, are healthy. But then again, it is still not advisable to give seeds to children as their finger food. Most food and child experts say that seeds are not for young kids, especially those who are four years old and below. So even if pumpkin and sunflower seeds are a popular snack on the go, you must still be extra careful about giving them to kids.
Hard candies According to a research that was conducted last 2013, hard candies account for 15 percent of all choking incidents. Concerns over this issue as well, as other highly dangerous finger foods, have caused a number of alarmed groups to ask for labeling on foods, especially finger foods, which are known to be have choking hazards to younger kids. But then again, we all know how hard it is to keep hard candies away from kids. In fact, in certain times of the year, it can even be more challenging. Both Halloween and Christmas are yearly holidays synonymous to sweets, particularly hard candies. Not only do can hard candies cause cavities and toothaches; also, because of their round shape, they can easily fit the trachea of young children. What is more bothering regarding giving kids round candies is that they are hard. And for that reason, kids cannot chew them before they swallow them. This one you may not know yet – researchers have surprisingly found that that even if most warnings with regard choking are for children ages four and below, the statistics actually point out that children ages five to seven are more at risk.
Marshmallows It is without a doubt that children love making s’mores and roasting marshmallows over campfire. But then again, when your child is younger, like a toddler, you have to look after him more often. Aside from the open flames, you also have to keep your child safe from marshmallows. Yes, you read that right. Marshmallows may look harmless because of how soft and fluffy they are. But then again, these soft and fluffy finger foods are quite dangerous, especially when it comes to choking. Marshmallows do not melt in the mouth easily. They are also very airy. That means that marshmallows easily go down the airways if your child is talking or laughing while eating them. Because they are also fluffy and small, marshmallows can effortlessly fit into the throat and may possibly be stuck there. Know what makes things even worse? Their sticky nature. And if you think smaller marshmallows are safer, think again. A safer alternative would be marshmallow cream that’s been melted into other ingredients. Also, just an FYI – playing Funny Bunny or Chubby Bunny, where players must place as many marshmallow pieces in their mouth as they can, is not safe for kids. It is a game where fun can turn into a mishap.
Peanut butter Children and peanut butter is like jelly and peanut butter. They almost always go together. But what makes peanut butter dangerous is the fact that it is super-duper sticky. Because of that, kids eating it can easily be chocked. Peanut butter does not melt inside the mouth, nor does it or easily slide down the throat. What you can do is not to let your child eat peanut butter on its own. Instead, you can spread a thin layer of it onto slices of bread or crackers. However, if your child wants to use peanut butter as a dip for slices of pears or apples, you should add a little milk to it so that it’s not very thick.  Also, by adding milk, you make the peanut butter more nutritious.
Peanuts A research that was published in August 2013 discovered that on average, 34 children per day end up in having a trip to the emergency room because of choking. And cases that require admission to the hospital are those that have something to do with eating hotdogs, nuts, and seeds. Another reason why peanuts landed on this list of dangerous finger foods for kids is the possibility of a life-threatening food allergy reaction. In addition to that, according to FARE or Food Allergy Research and Education, peanuts are one of the most common food allergens. In fact, being allergic to peanuts can cause anaphylaxis and other potentially deadly reactions. So the safest thing to do is to know if your child is allergic to peanuts. If yes, obviously, peanuts are a no-no. On the other hand, if your child is fortunately not allergic to peanuts, still, do not let him eat it until he is old enough.
Popcorn Popcorn is probably the most chokeable finger food, not only on this list but in general. In fact, it is dangerous to children under four or five years of age. What some parents do is that they let their children eat popcorns but only after removing their kernels. But the good thing is that there are already certain brands of popcorn available on the market which do not have hulls. But then again, if you opt to give your child that kind of popcorn, you still must be extra careful. Since popcorns have light and fluffy bits, kids can easily inhale them down into their throat. Another thing that you can do to prevent choking is to give your child sips of water or juice in between bites. However, there is another issue concerning popcorns. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, it is also dangerous for laborers to work at popcorn factories because they may acquire respiratory diseases from being always exposed to the chemicals used as flavorings in microwaveable popcorns. Therefore, to be extra safe, avoid giving your child microwaveable popcorns.
Hotdogs As stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, hotdogs are possibly the most dangerous finger food for kids. This is for the reason that hotdogs cause the most choking deaths compared to any other type of finger food. What do you think is the reason? Perhaps, it’s their shape. A hotdog’s tubular shape fits in the throat. The result? It will lodge and block the airways. For that reason, a number of pediatricians have called for the production of choke-free hotdogs. However, it seems that safer and choke-free hotdogs are, yet, far from being produced. What you can do for your child to still enjoy eating hotdogs the safe way is to simply slice them into smaller pieces.

Here’s another fact – kids who run around with while eating finger foods are at a greater risk for asphyxiation. That is why whenever your child is eating, whether finger foods or not, you should always tell just to sit and not to run around. In addition to that, you must avoid giving your child finger foods while in the car because it would be difficult for you to look after him while you are driving.

Baby-Friendly Finger Foods

Green peas You can boil or steam green peas. You can also give them frozen. Apart from being healthy and nutritious, frozen green peas give temporary relief to children with teething gums. Also, even when green peas are frozen, they are still not a choking hazard due to their small size.
Frozen yogurt Aside from being fun to eat, frozen yogurt is also exciting to make. To make these deliciously cool and probiotic-rich finger foods for your child, you should fill a re-sealable bag with either just plain or flavored yogurt. Then freeze the yogurt until it becomes solid. Have fun eating!
Spiral pasta Planning to have pasta for dinner? Well, not only you will enjoy but also your child for sure. Spiral pasta is one of children’s favorite finger foods because they are yummy. Plus, they are easy to hold.
Broccoli For a tasty and healthy treat, before giving it to your child, make sure that you cook the broccoli well so that your child can chew it easily. Cooking it well will also lessen its bitter taste, which can be an issue for children with more sensitive taste buds. However, not all children will like the taste of vegetables, particularly this one. But the good thing is when you consistently expose your child to vegetables, he is likely to take these less-liked foods eventually.
Strips of cucumber These may be difficult to bite. But did you know that strips of cucumber can work wonders for temporarily soothing aching gums? When giving cucumber to your child, cut them into long and wide strips to prevent choking. Cutting cucumbers into strips also allows your child to bite and chew on them without biting off a piece that is too big.
Boiled eggs Eggs are a good source of choline, iron, and protein. Plus, they are also readily available (you just have to look for one in your fridge) and are very easy to prepare. Make sure, though, that it is completely free from broken pieces of egg shell.
Pieces of fruits that are easy to eat Of course, soft pieces of fruits as well as vegetables do not require cooking for your child to much on them safely. You can cut soft fruits, such as avocadoes, peaches, watermelons, and tomatoes, into small cubes so that it’s easy for your child to grab and eat them. Not only are these easy to prepare and eat, they are also packed with vitamins. You can never go wrong with fruits.
Steamed vegetables You must not give uncooked beans and carrots to your child until he can already chew and swallow hard vegetables safely. You must only give these to your child when he is already one year or older. On the other hand, you can give your child steamed vegetables. To ensure that beans and carrots are soft enough for your child to eat, press them between your fingers. If they turn to a soft mass, then they are already cooked and perfect to eat.
Steamed fish What makes steamed fish a great finger food is that it is soft, easy to chew, and very healthy. Halibut, salmon, and trout are packed with DHA, which is a fatty acid that is essential for children’s brain development. What you can do is to steam or broil fish with just a little amount of salt. And then cut it in smaller pieces.

Road Trip Finger Foods for Kids

A road trip is fun and exciting. However, with kids, it can be exhausting for everybody in the car. There are many ways that you can do so that your child won’t distract you while driving. But what kids may actually really want is food.

You can keep your child from distracting you, and at the same time you can keep him behaved when you let him eat finger foods. Yes, giving them road trip finger foods will do the trick.

Below is the list of the best road trip finger foods for kids. These finger foods will make your next road trip fun and less stressful not only for you but for everyone.

  • Hummus
  • Pretzels
  • Graham crackers
  • Fruits
  • Cheese sticks
  • Vegetable sticks
  • Boiled eggs
  • Dried fruits
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Biscuits
  • Breads
  • Dry cereal
  • Yogurt tubes
  • Waffles

Finger Foods for Parties

Party Finger Foods
Party Finger Foods

From chips and an assortment of dips to one-bite snacks, one of the perfect ways to start off a party is by serving different finger foods. Eating them will not require you to use spoons, forks, or other cutlery. You can just pick them up and eat them with your hands.

However, one thing is required – it is to make sure that your hands are clean. 

Cheese truffles In this easy recipe, you can easily transform pimiento cheese into tiny little cheese truffles. These yummy bite-sized cheese balls are perfect for your next special event or get-together. Plus, these are also easy to make, and they do not require cooking.  To do this, you should roll each cheese ball into chopped and toasted crumbles bacon, parsley, or pecans. These will be truly irresistible for you and your guests of all ages.
Cheese poppers with honey These are not only a tasty appetizer. Cheese poppers with honey are also great a substitute for croutons on salads. These can also replace meat balls for vegan pasta dishes.
Strawberry bruschetta Having a summer party? Spend the hot days of summer with strawberry bruschetta. You can serve this cool concoction of basil, grape tomatoes, nectarine, and strawberries over slices of baguette. You may also add cheese.
Savory crackers Did you know that aside from buying them from grocery stores, you can also make yummy savory crackers without leaving the home? They are very easy to make. Simply top them with cheese, black peppers, salt, some herbs, and sesame oil.
Mini cupcakes Have you ever felt that these cute little cupcakes are sometimes too pretty to eat? Same here. But cupcakes, aside from making your spread more beautiful, are also great finger foods for parties, whether formal or not. They are not only easy to grab and eat but also a great way to give your taste buds a break from savory dishes at the party.
Almond milk cheese balls Almond milk cheese is full of flavor. It is slightly nutty and its texture is buttery. What is more to love about these delish finger foods is that these balls have zero grams of saturated fat.

Food for Thought

Generally, finger foods are not only pleasing to the taste buds; they are also convenient to eat. Yet, not all finger foods are safe for kids. In fact, there are some that do more harm than good. Therefore, as a parent, you ought to know the alternatives to dangerous finger foods for kids.

Related Questions:

  • Since when have hotdogs been around?

Some people claim that the first hotdog was created in 1484. So hotdogs have been around for more than 500 years already.

  • Why are hotdogs red?

Most hotdogs are red because they get it from the food coloring in their casing.

Ideas For Kids Parties is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc.

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