Family Fresh Cooking: Little Bites for Little Ones!

I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day, but I have a special treat for you today, wrapped up in a pretty pink ribbon. I’m happy to welcome my friend, Marla Meridith to RE! Her blog is fabulous and she has healthy recipes, creative ideas, and wonderful advice. Watch out, Family Fresh Cooking just might become your new favorite blog :)

Today I asked Marla to share about entertaining with kids, because even though mine are teens now (love the teen years, by the way!), there’s still so much to glean and learn from others.

So … here’s Marla!

Breakfast cookies in white bowl with pink ribbon.

Thank you Sandy for inviting me to your place for a virtual tea party! It is wonderful to be a guest here at The Reluctant Entertainer. Like a lot of you out there I get a bit nervous when I know other folks are coming over for a visit. I get the meal planning when it comes to cooking for my family, but guests are a whole other phenomena.

It is like we are on stage and sometimes the biggest critics are little kids.

Kids are not scared to share their true opinions and feelings, especially when you least expect it.

I know it is fun to overindulge our guests with big sugary treats, but the reality is we can offer up delicious foods and goodies that don’t have refined sugars and overly processed ingredients. I am gonna share with you some quickies you can prepare on the fly for when little ones and their bigger counterparts are popping over for a visit.

The goal at my blog Family Fresh Cooking is to invite people into the world of healthy eating. Making whole foods pretty, accessible and delicious are what I am all about and what I love to share with you.

No “Kid” Food Here

In our house our kids eat what we eat. Even if it is something I know they probably won’t really want I encourage them to try it. I always have back ups of healthy sprouted grain bread, cream cheese, organic cheese slices, natural nut butters and fruit sweetened jams for on the fly back ups. PB & J sandwiches and grilled cheese are acceptable over here as long as they are made out of quality ingredents. Meal time should not be about arguments, it should be fun and relaxing. If you are having little kids over offer them the meal you have prepared, but perhaps you have these back ups available too.

Here are a few sandwiches and some special pancakes that can be served any time of day.

Small Portions Are Cool

Overindulging is fun but not very satisfying when all is said and done. In our house it works best to have a salad plate filled with lots of little things. It is fun to taste a lot of flavors and the smaller plate size keeps portions in check. If a child or adult does not like something they can easily push it to the side or even have it taken off the plate without wasting too much food. Filling a large dinner plate encourages overeating or adds too much stuff to the trash.

Here are a few little bites that become larger if you add some protein such as grilled chicken breast, tofu, ground meat, etc.

Nice Nibbles to have on Hand

My take on treats: even when I have guests I like to stick to a healthy eating plan. It is fun to show people that whole food ingredients can be just as pretty and tasty as their higher calorie counterparts. Ice pops can be made days ahead. Cookies and bars can be made ahead of time too. I always keep heavy whipping cream and light whipped cream cheese in the fridge for decorative frosting on the fly. A little stevia, maple syrup or honey are quick sweeteners that add more flavor than sugar.

Here are a few sweet treats that can be made ahead of time. They are healthy foods that only seem like big indulgences.

Creator Family Fresh Cooking - welcome page on recipe blog.

Feel free to contact me if you would like product suggestions, comments or to say “hi.” I can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and at the local coffee shop.

Find more of my recipes and healthy lifestyle tips on my blog Family Fresh Cooking.

All photography in this post is by me.

Thanks, Marla!

I know in recent posts, while sharing about whole foods and healthy living, many readers have viewed their opinions and concerns of the “cost” involved in eating healthy.

Do you watch the sugar intake in your family’s diet?

What does “healthy” eating mean to you, or do you worry about the cost?

27 comments on “Family Fresh Cooking: Little Bites for Little Ones!”


  2. Pingback: Gluten free Matcha Green Tea Pistachio Muffins Recipe | St. Patricks Day — Family Fresh Cooking

  3. What a great post, you always have such good ideas for making healthy and fun meals. I like those 3 cheese spaghetti nests, such a neat presentation. I always look at health first when I’m doing my shopping, I try to make the majority of my meals healthy ones but always save some room for a few sweets because I like to indulge my sweet tooth.

  4. Beautiful post with beautiful photos and food, Marla! I am always known to have some fresh baked sweets around, but they are usually shared with friends, neighbors, and co-workers, so we don’t eat it all ourselves! And I’m very conscious about serving my family well balanced meals. We eat lots of fruits and veggies.

  5. Great post, Marla! You have some wonderful healthy snack ideas here for kids and adults. We try to eat healthfully (thought treats certainly do sneak their way in). We work in plenty of whole grains, veggies and fruit in every meal and during snack times. Since our kids grew up eating this way, they are happy to snack on the healthy stuff.

    • Dara, if I lived in your house I know I would be well fed. Your recipes always knock my socks off. You are such a talented cook & your meals are so healthy, well thought out and balanced. Treats are fun too!

  6. Becky, I agree kids LOVE fruit. At the St. Patty’s party today at school the kids were downing grapes like they had never seen them before. We cannot forget about how special sweet fruits can be. Happy you like my pics :)

  7. I love this post too, can’t wait to go check out her blog! And yes, we limit sugar and I only use raw or evaporated cane juice for sugar in my cooking and baking. We eat very healthy, and find that we actually spend less on food. We only buy what is in season, and that’s always cheaper. We make most things from scratch-no already prepared snacks or foods, that makes it cheaper too because we’re not buying fancy fad food with pretty packages. We only eat meat once or twice a month, that’s way cheaper and allows us to buy locally grown and processed meats while still saving money. I think eating a mostly plant based diet is key to keeping grocery costs down, bulk beans and rice are pretty cheap! Yes, it takes more planning and more time but it’s worth it!

    • Gina, I agree – a little bit of advanced planning can save a bundle of money down the road. You say it perfectly here: “fancy fad food with pretty packages” That is exactly what people are paying for when they purchase packaged foods. I try to use as few packages as possible & also try to buy seasonal local produce.

  8. Loved this post. Our kids have learned to eat what we eat. But I do try to make things palatable for them as well as us. So far so good. LOL! Some of your recipes look divine and I’m going to head on over and steal a few.
    Thanks so much!

  9. Great post Marla and Sandy. My computer’s being weird so I couldn’t click on the links or see the pics so can’t wait to be able to do so! Entertaining kiddo’s can be tricky if they’re picky, but I often ask the guests if there are things they do not like. If they’re overly picky, I don’t worry about it…they’re parents can take care of that issue (C: Usually my meals are ones that most people will eat…nothing too odd (C;

  10. As of last June, I am watching the intake for myself and my daughter (who’s 11 now). It is expensive on a limited budget to go organic, but eating whole wheat and honey helps. Switching to whole grains and eating more vegetables seems to help as well (especially the green veggies).

    • Heather, we have been on a journey and it is tough on a limited budget but I do what I can and pick and choose. I make changes each time I shop, hunting for the best deals. I add veggies to smoothies, do lots of soups and make pretty simple meals. A few months ago I made homemade frozen burritos. Yummy!!!

    • I like the idea of those homemade frozen burritos to have on hand for grab & go meals.

    • I always have my eyes on prices. If something is way inflated I ignore it. Always a lot of options when it comes to well priced fruits & veggies. Bulk containers are good for nuts, organic whole grains, etc.

  11. Fresh, whole foods do taste infinitely better than the processed versions! Way to go, Marla, in making them accessible and beautiful :)

  12. Beautiful AND healthy? Marla is a miracle worker!! What a lovely and inspiring post… makes me want to bake more healthy food!

    Great job Marla!

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  14. Pingback: Matcha Green Tea Pistachio Muffins Recipe – Gluten Free St. Patrick’s — Family Fresh Cooking

  15. Hello Ladies,

    This was a beautiful post. I enjoy hosting young children here. It is always refreshing to see how they gravitate to any fruit I put out. Grapes are gone in a heartbeat, strawberries…you name it.

    Your photos are lovely. I will keep these ideas in mind the next time we have a houseful of young ones over. I love things made small and presented in a pretty way.

  16. Sandy, thank you bunches for having me over to your beautiful virtual home!! If anyone has any questions at all feel free to contact me. Cooking healthy foods from scratch can actually be less expensive than tearing into packages of processed & prepared foods. More benefits than health can be had :)

    • Great Post. We are on a continual journey of healthier, more whole, less processed eating. All our meals are from scratch unless for some reason we go out to eat. I feel like I’m always doing dishes (C: I’ve done a few posts on it. I think our issue with the cost is that our general grocery budget isn’t alot in the first place so I have to pick and choose certain items, but always striving for the items with the best ingredients.

      I love teaching my girls to be healthy. We do occasionally indulge in dishes that would not be considered “healthy” but they are few and far between.

    • Kirstin, moderation in life is key. We should never deprive ourselves as food is one of life’s greatest pleasures! Occasional treats & higher calorie indulgences are fun. I know the dishes are always a coming around here. So is the laundry ;)

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