“Ooh, kale for breakfast!” said pretty much no kid, ever. A green smoothie might sound like a treat to you, but for little ones, it’s all about the muffins, mom. Fortunately, you can use kids’ love of this handheld breakfast staple to get some plant-based power into their little bodies.
Super sneaky mom and psychologist, Zelana Montminy, bakes up muffin-tin treats with hidden veggies. It can take 12 or more tries before a child learns to appreciate a new flavor—so smuggling healthy ingredients into a familiar favorite is a good way to help develop their palates and boost their daily nutrition in one fell swoop.
We hate to underestimate any kiddo’s intelligence, but this trick is genius. Not only because kids get a tasty, nutritious treat without really noticing they’re eating kale, spinach, or hempseed, but also, it’s easy and low-maintenance for parents.
Check out these three insanely yummy recipes that all use muffin tins to turn wholesome foods into a grab-and-go meal kids will go nuts for.
Cheesy kale-pepper egg muffins
Who said muffins have to be carb bombs? Experiment with a super savory, protein-rich version. Basically, it’s a mini-quiche—but you might want avoid calling it that in front of the kids!
Yield: 12 muffins
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
¼ cup organic milk or almond milk
¼ cup bell peppers, chopped
¼ cup fresh kale, chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper
¼ cup mozzarella, shredded (optional)
Mix all ingredients, including cheese, if using, in a medium bowl. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top. (Optional: melt a little cheese on top.)
Store in the freezer and reheat in the oven.
Spinach cake muffins
OK, it sounds a little out there, but these cake-like muffins with hidden greens taste unreal. Protein- and fiber-packed quinoa even makes an appearance for even more nutritional power. (Inspired by Weelicious.com)
Yield: 12 standard muffins or 24 mini muffins
Active Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
⅓ cup maple sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quinoa flour
¼ cup oat bran
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Process applesauce, maple sugar, oil, vanilla, egg, and spinach in food processor.
Combine remaining dry ingredients in separate bowl. Pour spinach purée into large mixing bowl, and slowly mix in dry ingredients until combined.
Fill each muffin cup about ⅔ of the way. Bake 12 minutes.
Baked oatmeal cups
Baking oatmeal into portable, individual servings is a new way to enjoy an old breakfast favorite. These come out so decadent, yet gets a nutritional boost from healthy powerhouses like omega-rich chia and hemp seeds and plenty of fresh fruit. (Inspired by Pamela Saltzman.)
Yield: 9 cups
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup walnuts, almonds, or pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups almond milk
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg (or substitute ½ cup mashed banana or ½ cup unsweetened applesauce)
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh strawberries, sliced
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Combine oats, nuts, baking powder, and salt in large bowl, and set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, almond milk, butter or coconut oil, vanilla, and egg. Add chia seeds, hemp seeds, berries, and chocolate chips and stir. Then pour into dry mixture and stir to combine.
Fill each muffin cup about 3/ 4 of the way. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until set.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and warmed in a toaster oven at 350 degrees until heated through.
Producer and Director: Liza Glucoft
Director of Photography: Naeem Munaf
Editor: Mark Parq