toddler with face covered in berries and oatmeal

Oatmeal and berries make for a tasty — but incredibly messy — combination. (Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/flickr)When it comes to babies and toddlers, any meal is a messy meal. They are still learning how to use their little fingers and mouths and they just love exploring the way food tastes and smells (and feels, and bounces, etc.) We get that. But as parents, we also know that there are some foods that are way messier than others. Those foods that linger in spaces and places that we never expected to find them — long after mealtime. These are the foods that made our list. The foods that make us cringe even as we serve them up to our hungry herd. Here are the top 10 messiest foods to give your children:

9. Yogurt

messy toddler eating yogurt

Photo: Liza/flickr

Yogurt is power-packed with healthy good stuff. It's smooth, so the choking hazard for little ones is low. And it comes in those convenient packages that make it easy to hand off to hungry toddlers. Unfortunately, the gloppy nature of yogurt makes it a giant mess to eat. But hey, yogurt is nourishing for the skin, right? 

8. Chocolate

toddler covered in chocolate

Photo: Jessica Merz/flickr

Mmm. Chocolate. It most definitely melts in a toddler's mouth. And in his hands and his hair and anywhere else he can think to stick it. But really, it's chocolate so all is forgiven.

7. Popsicles

toddler eating popsicle

Photo: m. uptegrove/Shutterstock

Popsicles are such a refreshing treat for little mouths. They keep things cool when the temperature gets high, and provide sweet relief from the teething pain that often affects babies and toddlers. But all of that gumming and gnawing turns even the coldest popsicle into a gooey mess. Best served outside. To babies in bathing suits. Or better yet, in their birthday suits.

6. Birthday Cake

baby eating birthday cake

Photo:  .alicia.kowalski./flickr
 

Speaking of birthdays, we know that the photo of a toddler diving into their first birthday cake is a quintessential moment in any child's life. But that doesn't make it any less of a mess. This young lady seems to have been given a particularly disastrous specimen to destroy!

5. Oatmeal

baby eating oatmeal

Photo: Elena Stepaova/Shutterstock

Oatmeal is so tasty and nutritious. And sticky! And good luck getting it off of clothes or floors or walls once it has dried. It goes from soft and gooey to rock solid in what seems like seconds flat.

4. Avocado

baby eating avocado

Photo: Mark Evans/flickr

Avocados are another nutritional wonderfood. So we could almost forgive them for turning our sweet little babies into Hulk-faced monsters if it weren't for the fact that they leave giant brown stains in their wake. Yuck!

3. Berries

baby eating strawberry

Photo: tlorna/Shutterstock

Speaking of foods that stain, berries, we are looking at you. From blueberries and raspberries to blackberries and strawberries, when you give a kid these sweet little healthy treats, you can expect them to smush and gush with delight. And you can also expect to be scrubbing those stains out of their clothes, high chairs and fingernails for the rest of the day. It's the colorful price of a fun-to-eat nutritious food treat!

2. Spaghetti

baby eating spaghetti

Photo: Juhan Sonin/flickr

Spaghetti is such an awesome food for little kids. Spaghetti sauce? Not so much. With all of those wiggly, squiggly noodles, you can see why spaghetti is such a fun food for kids to eat and explore. Just be prepared to be wiping spaghetti sauce off of walls and out of nostrils for the foreseeable future.

And the No. 1 messiest food to feed your kids...

toddler eating peanut butter

Photo: Donnie Ray Jones

1. Peanut Butter

baby covered in peanut butterPeanut butter is hard enough for an adult to eat. In the hands of a toddler, this sticky substance is straight up dangerous. Thankfully — due to potential allergy concerns — most pediatricians recommend that babies not be exposed to peanut butter until they are at least one year old. But after age one, peanut butter is fair game and the result for most toddlers is pure madness! 

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Peanut butter photo: Morning Joy Farm