73 Finger Foods for Kids That Make Dinner (or Lunch) a Breeze
Ever since your 4-year-old—a budding food critic, apparently—decided PB&J is “gross” and spaghetti and meatballs are “ew,” you’ve been at a loss for what to feed her. Want to know an age-old secret? If you turn something into finger food, there’s an 83 percent chance your kid will gobble it up.
OK, that’s not a real stat, but we’re not totally making it up. After all, while experts agree that it might take 15 tries before a child will even taste a new food, most moms know that you can trick your kids into healthy eating with a little creative presentation. Indeed, according to pediatricians, focusing on form over flavor is one way to introduce essential fruits and veggies. Sure, Suzy doesn’t like roasted zucchini slices but she might like zucchini “fries” or magical green “energy cookies.”
Enter finger foods, which introduce texture, dexterity and sensory learning. Plus, according to a University of Nottingham study, when kids are empowered to feed themselves, they’re less likely to be finicky eaters overall. Bring on the “ants on a log” crudités.
Lucky for you, we’ve got 73 finger foods for kids that are as easy to make as they are delicious.
1. Silly Apple Bites
With strawberries, sunflower butter and sunflower seeds (allergen-friendly!), they’re too cute to resist. Fruit snacks who?
2. Baked Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
They’re crispy, moist and ready in 30 minutes, plus they don’t taste even remotely healthy (that part is crucial).
3. Vegetarian Sushi Cups
No one is immune to the appeal of sticky rice. Even a toddler.
4. Savory Chicken Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins
Packed with protein *and* shaped like a muffin—nothing better.
5. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches
Customize these guys with their favorite lunch meat and cheese combo (or, you know, whatever is in the fridge).
6. Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets
If a salad and a chicken nugget had a delicious baby, this would be it.
7. Carrot Pigs in a Blanket
Shhh. Just say they’re a new kind of hot dog.
8. Blueberry, Melon and Feta Fruit Salad Stacks
Go wild with the star-shaped cookie cutters.
9. Mini Quesadillas
Golden and crispy on the outside, creamy and cheesy on the inside. Also known as an instant classic.
10. Chicken Parmesan Bites
Is it a coincidence that these are just as appealing to adults as they are to the pre-K set? We think not.
11. Veggie Sushi
Start them on California rolls early and they’ll be eating the real thing in no time.
15. Spicy Pineapple Prosciutto Tarts
Oh hi, fancy Hawaiian pizza. As long as you ease up on the crushed red-pepper flakes, these will be a guaranteed hit.
16. Crispy Baked Cauliflower-Corn Nuggets
What can we say? We love a sneaky vegetable. These are baked in the oven, which is healthier and easier than deep-frying.
17. Cherry Tomato Tulips
Picked fresh from the garden, aka your fridge.
18. Lunch Kebabs with Mortadella, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Mortadella is basically adult bologna, so feel free to make that swap (along with any others you see fit).
19. Mini Chicken Shawarma
Shawarma: Fun to say and even more fun to eat, especially when bite-size.
20. Mini Chicken and Waffles
This has brinner written all over it. Pass the maple syrup.
21. Homemade Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
They’re as easy to make as it is to order takeout (thanks, frozen pizza dough), and they happen to pair just as deliciously with ranch dressing.
22. Easy Crispy Salmon Fish Sticks
They’ll be asking for salmon again next week.
23. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
If the sauce is too spicy, choose something on the mild side or trade it for barbecue.
24. Breakfast Fruit Pizzas
Toaster pastries have nothing on you.
25. Sweet-and-Sour Pork Skewers with Pineapple
Wow, your kids are so classy.
26. Italian Pinwheels
Cured meat plus cheese plus carbs is a match made in lunchtime heaven.
27. Mini Lasagnas
Face it: Your kid doesn’t want to eat a casserole for dinner and you don’t want to make one. This is the solution.
28. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers
The more it looks like a box of crayons, the more likely they are to eat it.
29. Brie-Stuffed Pretzel Bites
Who will gobble up more, you or your toddler?
30. 15-Minute Buffalo Chicken Sliders
These sammies are ready in less time than it takes to get everyone to the table.
31. Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce
They’re glorified chicken tenders with a creamy dip on the side. What’s not to love?
33. Spicy Glazed Popcorn Chicken
If your kid can’t handle too much heat, just hold back on the sriracha to make the glaze more sweet than spicy.
34. Bacon-Wrapped Cheese Straws
If you ask us, this is a way better snack than animal crackers or cheese puffs.
35. Mozzarella Bites
We might be biased, but who wouldn’t happily eat tiny pieces of melty, breaded cheese?
36. Delicata Squash Rings with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
Creamy and sweet squash rings are a fairly easy sell. But if you’re sharing the table with a picky eater, just save the dipping sauce for yourself.
37. Crispy Baked Cauliflower ‘Wings’
When they ask why the chicken nuggets look funny, just smile and nod.
38. Mini Skillet Pizzas with Mushrooms and Roasted Tomatoes
Mushroom hater in the vicinity? No problem. Just let them choose a different topping. (There’s nothing wrong with plain old cheese.)
39. Almond Butter Stuffed Soft Pretzel Bites
Just like the peanut butter pretzels you buy in bulk-size tubs, but so much better.
40. Crispy Parmesan Brussels Sprout Bites
The secret to getting your kid to eat any green vegetable on the planet? Coat it in Parmesan and bread crumbs. We know because it works for adults too.
41. Portobello and Avocado Quesadillas with Magic Green Sauce
If your kids want to help (bless), have them mash the avocado and beans or tear the mushrooms with their hands. Since they’ll end up hidden inside, they don’t need to look cute.
42. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
Serve the accompanying blue cheese crema on the side and win over the grown-ups in the room too.
43. Spiralized Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Muffins
They’re basically doughnuts, right?
44. Pancake Tacos with Cheese and Bacon
Come for the eat-with-your-hands tacos, stay for the breakfast-for-dinner vibes.
45. Sausage-and-Egg Breakfast Dumplings
Everything is better in dumpling form. These guys take 35 minutes from start to finish.
46. Buffalo Cauliflower Nuggets
We’ll take “nuggets” for 400, Alex.
47. Loaded Baked Potato ‘Chips’
File these under “how to win the afternoon snack game.”
48. Turkey Stromboli
If you don’t have turkey, you can use chicken or even pepperoni instead. Store-bought pizza dough makes it foolproof.
50. Cauliflower ‘Tater’ Tots
Crispy, satisfying and so much tastier than the ones from the freezer aisle. Plus, no one will know they’re secretly healthy.
51. Pizza Muffins
Would you believe us if we told you they’re made with just five ingredients? (Six if you want to add pepperoni.)
52. Cuban Sliders for a Crowd
Just assemble, warm them in the oven until the cheese is melted and serve. (Fine, leave out the pickles if you absolutely must.)
53. Crispy Cauliflower Tacos
Taco seasoning is the magic ingredient that makes this cauliflower shine. Drizzle everything with queso and they’ll love you even more.
55. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
You know what these would go great with, other than ketchup? Chicken nuggets.
56. The Crispiest Potato Latkes of All Time
We’ve yet to meet a person who’s able to turn down a latke. These are extra-crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside and practically begging to be dunked in applesauce (or sour cream).
57. French Toast Sticks
They’re just the right size for small fingers to hold and dip. Just don’t be surprised when you start sneaking a few.
58. Mini Nachos
We’re sure no one would complain if you let them choose the toppings and get involved in the assembly process. Besides, they’ll be ready to eat in 30 minutes.
59. Breakfast Sliders
Raise your hand if you love a breakfast sandwich. We’re about 99 percent sure your kid will too.
60. Zucchini ‘Fries’
It turns out you can turn almost anything into a french fry if you try hard enough. Lucky for you, it’s not hard at all. You don’t even need to fry them.
61. Beef Empanadas
FYI, these flaky little turnovers can be made ahead and frozen for up to three months. We recommend making a double batch so you have some ready at a moment’s notice.
62. Pork Dumplings
Store-bought is more than fine when it comes to the wonton wrappers (and Ina Garten would totally agree). The filling requires little more than tossing everything in a bowl, and they cook up in 15 minutes flat.
63. Baked Fish and Chips
Your mom served you fish sticks from a box. No offense, Mom, but this version (made with any firm white fish) is a major upgrade.
65. Chicken and Carrot Cups
Vegetables? Check. Protein? Check. Muffin-shaped? Yep, they’re going to be a hit for both you and your 4-year-old.
66. Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Enchilada Meatloaf Muffins
Meatloaf? No way. Meatloaf that’s been topped with cheese and baked in a cute little muffin tin? That’s more like it.
67. Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas
The mini pepperoni is almost too cute. The five-ingredient shopping list and ten-minute cooking time are even better.
68. Baked Sweet Potato Parmesan Tater Tots
We’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like Parmesan cheese, which happens to be the second ingredient in these sweet and salty bites.
69. Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups
For whatever reason, grilled cheese transformed into a portable roll is so much more appealing to a child than a sandwich is. It’s only three ingredients; we’ll take it.
70. Easy Falafel Balls
Unlike the restaurant version, these are pan-fried to save time and avoid a giant mess. But they’re as flavorful and dippable if you happen to have hummus on hand.
71. Kid Kebobs
They’re basically caprese skewers, if caprese were made with string cheese.
72. Very Hungry Caterpillars
They’re almost too cute to eat. Almost.
73. Healthy Sweet Potato Skins
Who knew spinach could taste so delicious? (You did.)