Dementia can often lead to difficulties with co-ordination, motor skills and attention span. This means it can be a struggle for some to use cutlery or concentrate on finishing meals, providing finger foods can be a good solution. Finger foods are those that are prepared in a way that makes them easy to pick up and eat with the hands.
Finger foods help to maintain independence and self-esteem at mealtimes as the person may not have to rely on assistance from staff. They are also in complete control of what they eat and the time it takes to eat. Finger foods are easy to eat either at or away from a table, which can be helpful for those residents who wander or tend to leave the table in the middle of mealtimes.
When providing finger foods to residents, it is essential that a wide variety of foods are offered from each food group to ensure dietary adequacy is maintained.
Finger Food Ideas
Breads and cereals
Keep sandwiches small to make them easier to manage.
- Toast or bread fingers with spread
- Small bread rolls with spread
- Sandwiches or sandwich fingers (include a protein filling)
- Wraps (with filling) cut in half or quarters
- Crumpets or English muffins with spread
- Crackers with spread or soft cheese
- Scones, fruit bread/toast or hot cross buns
- Small pastries (i.e. mini croissants)
- Soft cereal bars
- Small pita bread (can be sliced)
Meat, fish and vegetarian alternatives
Meat that is dry may be difficult to eat, so try to keep it soft and moist.
- Chicken breast, cut into pieces
- Chicken nuggets
- Meatballs, chipolatas, small beef patties/rissoles, slices of deli meats/roast
- Sausage rolls, party pies
- Pieces of fish fillet, fish fingers, small fishcakes
- Vegetable burgers or vegetarian sausages
- Lamb kofta balls, small lamb cutlets
- Slices of quiche or mini quiches/frittata
- Tofu cubes
- Hard-boiled eggs (quartered)
- Cheese cubes
- Slices of cheese on toast fingers
- Slices of apple or pear
- Melon wedges
- Pineapple chunks or rings
- Orange segments
- Slices of kiwi fruit
- Strawberries or raspberries
- Apricots (stone removed), cut into halves
- Nectarines or peaches (stone removed), cut into slices or chunks
- Seedless grapes
- Bananas, whole or sliced
- Dried fruit – ready-to-eat apricots, pears, apples or stoned prunes.
Vegetables can be steamed, boiled or served raw.
- Broccoli florets
- Cauliflower florets
- Carrot cut into sticks or cubes
- Green beans
- Cucumber or Zucchini slices or sticks
- Cherry tomatoes or salad tomatoes, sliced or cut into wedges
- Sliced capsicum
- Potato wedges or chunky chips, oven baked (you could also use sweet potatoes)
- Small roast potatoes
- Boiled potatoes, whole or halved