You’ve finally booked your family’s Hawaiian vacation and it’s an exciting time!
Until you begin to wonder exactly what you’ll do to feed your baby or toddler during your trip.
While babies have limited options as they test out new foods, toddlers can be tough customers in that they tend to be picky about foods they once loved. They can really keep you on your toes!
Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of choices while staying in the Hawaiian Islands.
Whether you’re in a top-of-the-line resort where they will bend over backwards for you or you’ve reserved an Airbnb property to call home while you’re in the Aloha State, you’ll be able to enjoy that laid-back vacation vibe you came for without tearing out your hair over feeding your kids.
Restaurants, supermarkets, and those delightful farmers markets are all places that you can find baby-friendly foods. Remember, you’re not the first family heading to Hawaii with small children.
Here are some baby-friendly finger foods that are easy to find and will please even the most skeptical of babies or toddlers:
1. Fresh Hawaiian fruits
Even if it’s your first time going to Hawaii, you’ve likely seen enough photos of the islands and the luaus to know that fruit plays a huge role in the daily diets of the locals who live here.
These tropical island fruits tend to be sweeter than back home, making them a pleasurable (yet healthful!) delight for your baby or toddlers as well as the whole family.
A great choice: apple bananas in Hawaii are smaller and sweeter. Plus, you’ll find ripe mangos, papayas, guava, melons, and watermelon, all juicy, sweet, and purely amazing. The farmers market has many more choices!
In the Hawaiian Islands, rice is everywhere and at every meal even breakfast!
So don’t be shy to ask for a bowl of white or brown rice for your baby or toddler. While we might not want to eat a whole bowl of plain rice, for babies, it’s a great choice to keep tummies full and free of upset during your stay.
Because Hawaii is such a special infusion of cultures melded together, you’ll find a huge Japanese influence.
That being said, it’s not hard to find a Japanese restaurant anywhere on the islands. Most places will serve you a starter dish of edamame, those wonderful immature soybeans.
They have such a mild taste and nice texture that little ones tend to gobble them down. But no worries if they turn their cute button noses up at the stuff. You can get rice or tofu here too.
They’re a stupendous source of protein, choline, and vitamin B12, to name a few.
While you should make sure your baby can eat solids, the old recommendations of waiting until your baby is 12 months old to eat eggs are outdated.
You can feed your baby cooked eggs after the age of 6 months. Ideally, you should try eggs out with your child at home first to make sure he or she doesn’t have any allergies before your trip.
But try not to worry! Egg allergies aren’t very common!
When your baby or toddler sets his sights on this traditional Hawaiian dessert, he will most certainly want to touch it and explore.
Made from a coconut milk base, haupia has a consistency similar to gelatin desserts and comes in blocks. For nearly 80 years, this dessert has been a staple at luaus and other celebrations.
Because it’s sweet and has such a fun texture, your little one might really enjoy it.
6. Taro bread
Taro has always been a staple of the Hawaiian diet.
You really can’t avoid it anywhere on the Hawaiian Islands, but that’s okay because it’s delicious and you’ll want to get as much of it as possible while there.
One thing you’ll find in every Hawaiian bakery or in some restaurants as sides is taro bread. These buns are a lovely texture and usually feature a purple interior, making them a delight for little ones to munch on.
7. More local produce
Avocados are plentiful in Hawaii and are also a rich source of nutrients and good fats for your baby.
Plus, they’re easy to serve by mashing with a spoon into a bowl. You’ll also find plenty of sweet potatoes or Okinawan Potato (purple Yam) here too, another one that most babies won’t refuse.
Between the naturally soft textures of these two vegetables (well, technically avocado is a fruit but we’ll avoid semantics here), your baby will have plenty of tasty eats in Hawaii.
Finally, we’ll end with one of Hawaii’s most well-known dishes: poi!
Poi is made from cooking, mashing and fermenting the potato-like portion of the taro plant. See? More taro!
It has an interesting paste-like consistency and what’s even more fascinating about this stuff is that it is eaten with your fingers. So babies will feel right at home probing it with their tiny digits. In fact, it’s usually the first food introduced to Hawaiian babies.
Now that you know a little more about what you can expect to find for finger foods for your baby or toddlers while you’re in Hawaii, you’ll be able to relax, stick your toes in the sand, and enjoy the moment.
For more on daily routines with children, click to see Nanilly’s book: