I am in love with muffins. Muffins are so unassuming yet can sneakily provide great nutrients to your little one. They can also be full of a ton of junk, so let’s figure out what makes a great baby/toddler muffin and try out a recipe or two!
Let’s start with some of the basic foods that are essential for babies and toddlers before age 2. Fats, carbohydrates, fruits/vegetables, and protein. Let’s delve into how you can use these basic food groups to make amazing muffins for your kiddos.
Fat: Dietary fat is crucial to development, especially brain development. Fat should make up 40-50% of the baby/toddler’s diet. Different fats provide different types of nutrients, so it’s good to rotate between a few different fat sources. Some of my favorite include organic olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil, canola oil, ground flax seed, and avocado. Load your muffins up with fat!
Carbohydrates: Probably a given in a muffin recipe, but good carbs are essential for energy for your little one. I like to use whole wheat pastry flour in my muffins to add some fiber. You could also use other whole grain flours.
Fruits and Vegetables: Consuming enough fruits and vegetables in a day is key to providing your little one with the nutrients he or she needs. We aim for around 3 vegetables and 1-2 fruits a day for our toddler. (More on serving sizes here). I love to make muffins full of pureed, chopped, or shredded fruits and veggies. Some of my favorites are pumpkin, apple, carrot, spinach, banana, squash, zucchini, and blueberry.
Protein: This nutrient is key for building up the body. Protein can easily be added to muffins to add some substance and ooomph to your kiddo’s meal. Some of my favorite proteins in muffins are chia seeds and nut butters.
So now that we are on the same page about what we want IN a muffin, let’s make sure we know what we DON’T want in a muffin.
First of all, try to limit sugar. I like to take muffin recipes and adjust them to be healthy for my toddler. I always cut the sugar at least in half, if not more. I just made muffins with 1/8 c. sugar. They came out great and I didn’t even miss the sugar!
Second, watch out for recipes with nuts. While I am all about adding nut butters, nuts are a choking hazard, so don’t go feeding your baby or toddler muffins with whole/cut up nuts…stick to nut butters.
Last, try to limit the salt. I scale the salt way down. Salt’s not a huge deal, but if your toddler is eating processed foods, he or she is probably getting plenty.
My challenge to you is to take any old muffin recipe you like, and alter it to be a nutrient jackpot for your little one. Here’s an example of what you can do:
For a vegan option, replace eggs: replace each egg with a flax or chia seed egg. (Mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds with 3T water. Let sit for 5 mins in the fridge. Viola! Egg replacer that’s full of protein and essential fatty acids!)
Instead of sugar: try using 1/2 to 3/4 LESS sugar. You can also replace white sugar with coconut sugar for bonus points. Remember- no honey before age one if you go that route with the sweetener.
Remember… Load up on the fats!
Feeling good about this?
I try to make muffins every week or so and throw them in the freezer for BGs breakfast throughout the week. This week’s muffins were banana muffins!
Here’s the recipe for Toddler Banana Muffins:
Makes 12 muffins
- 3 ripe mashed bananas
- 1/8 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ½ cup organic coconut oil
- ½ cup non-dairy milk (I like flax + protein milk)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Place muffin liners in your muffin pan.
- Put all ingredients into your mixer in the order listed above. Make sure the bananas get nice and pureed. Once the flour is added, only mix until combined.
- Fill your muffin tins about ¾ of the way full and place in the oven. Bake for 21-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry.
- Let the muffins sit in the pan for a few mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once they are cool enough, enjoy!
If you try out the recipe let me know what you think!
PS…The info on this blog is informational/opinion and not medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice.