Over the last month or so, I have been reviewing foods that are great for babies and toddlers to eat, but are NOT found in the babyfood aisle of the supermarket. It’s easy to get sucked into the slick marketing of all the pretty packaging with the ages written on them... but I’m here to help you find other options (because, let’s face it, those little puff things are expensive and not that filling!). Make sure you check out the other Monday Bites reviews to see some of the other alternatives to baby puffs!
Today I’ve picked Grissini sticks to review. These are Italian breadsticks and probably the healthier of the breadsticks out there as they aren’t heavy on salt and flavourings. But don’t let their boring facade put you off! They are a gem of a finger food for babies.
Recommended age: not provided
Age you could probably offer this: 9+ mo
Shape: stick shaped
Size: really long!
Texture: crunch then melt-in-the-mouth
Breadsticks have a bit of a daggy reputation. I mean, bless it’s cotton socks but just look at the packaging. We associate them with a bygone era, with lovable but naff Italian restaurants, and dinner parties that our folks had when we were kids.
But they actually make a really great finger food for babies, especially those who are at the stage of learning to bite and chew.
Not all breadsticks are the same texture. Some are actually really crunchy, and do not melt-in-the-mouth or dissolve with saliva. Avoid those ones for your bub (they're fine for toddlers but generally too tricky for babies). What you want to look for are the old-school Italian Grissini (like the ones pictured) because they have an initial hard crunch, and then they dissolve into a much softer consistency that can be swallowed with only rough chewing.
This means that they are great for kids learning to bite, because they require some jaw pressure to break through. And then once they’ve bitten through, they are great for learning to chew, because melt-in-the-mouth textures are quite easy for early chewing skills. And they are stick shaped! Which every Feeding Therapist loves, because this also helps with biting and chewing development.
They are easiest to eat if your little one has a couple of teeth, but even before teeth age, they can be used a bit like a teething rusk (just keep an eye on bub because they do break off in pieces more than a rusk would).
So next mealtime, put down a red and white check tablecloth, put a cup of Grissini onto the dinner table and all share together! Buon appetito!
And remember, always supervise your baby when they are eating, no matter how easy you think the food might be to eat.