One of my favorite toddler snacks is homemade mini muffins. Small enough to fit into tiny hands, “toddler muffins” make great finger foods for little ones. They’re portable- toss a couple in a baggie and you’ve got a snack for the road. They’re freezable, so you can make a batch and use them for weeks to come. Best of all, healthy toddler muffins are a great way to sneak fruits, veggies, whole grains, and more into your growing munchkin’s diet.
Bonus! Toddler muffins are easy to make! I lack any sort of culinary skill, but I find muffins to be practically foolproof. No need to heave out the KitchenAid! Put the ingredients in a bowl, stir them around, spoon them into the muffin tins (doesn’t have to look pretty), and you end up with delicious creations! Their simple preparation means that even my 2-year-old can help. Baking has become a special mother/daughter event in our house.
My favorite and the most popular with my kids are Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins from Cooking Light First Foods: Baby Steps to a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. I love that they’re healthy with whole grains, yet as tasty as any bakery muffin!
1 2/3 cups quick-cooking oats
3 oz all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
2.33 oz whole wheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup pack light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt (I use less and the recipe still works out OK)
1 1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2 cups frozen blueberries (I use an entire small package of fresh blueberries)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (omit if using fresh blueberries)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I recommend using Sugar In the Raw turbinado sugar. I used it on my most recent batch and loved the taste. I’ve also omitted this ingredient and still had good results. It all depends on how much sweetness you’d like your muffins to have)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Place oats in a food processor and pulse 5 to 6 times until oats resemble coarse meal. Place in a large bowl. (No food processor should be no problem. The texture will be more coarse. Oats can also be crushed by hand.) 3. Weight or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flours and the next 5 ingredients to oats in bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in the center of mixture. 4. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. (I’ve had better luck using a medium bowl, especially when my kids help) Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. 5. Toss blueberries with 2 tablespoons flour (omit if using fresh blueberries); gently fold into batter (my 2-year-old fires these into the batter, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the final outcome) 6. Spoon batter into muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle sugar evenly over batter. (A great task for your little helper[s]! I end up using less than 2 tablespoons and still cover the tops of the muffins.) 7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (Depending on your oven. Mine are usually done in less than 20 minutes.) or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack. (I’ve burned myself doing this, so I let the muffins hang out for several minutes before removing them.)
Yield: Cooking Light says the recipe yields 16 regular-size muffins. I’ve made about 36 mini muffins depending on how high my kids fill the muffin tins and how much they spill. My most recent batch yielded 24 mini muffins and 6 regular-size muffins.
Note: I’ve added 1/2-1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed to this recipe and it did not change the results. I add the flaxseed to the dry ingredients.
I hope you and your family enjoy these treats as much as my girls and I do! I’d love to hear your favorite healthy muffin recipes!