These healthy superhero muffins are packed with veggies and whole grains, and–even better–they taste really, really good. Even picky eaters are sure to love them!
Calling a muffin a “superhero” is a bold statement, but these muffins earn the title. They are full of nutrient-dense foods, so they are perfect for building strong muscles in the aspiring superheroes of your family. Besides, what kid can say no to a SUPERHERO muffin?
Truths of parenting: It’s all about the marketing.
Muffins are one of our family’s favorite snacks. They are a perfect make-ahead breakfast or afternoon snack. You can pack them in lunches, or toss them at a child who is running out the door to baseball practice (our current situation). Muffins are dependable that way.
Sometimes, muffins are as sweet as any dessert and I can’t really justify serving them as a “healthy” snack to my kids. These superhero muffins, on the other hand, really are good for you. They have 2 full cups of hidden veggies. They’re packed with whole grains (wheat flour and oats). And they have NO refined sugar.
And don’t worry, they’re not the tastes-like-cardboard kind of healthy. They are the you’ll-want-to-hide-them-from-your-family-so-you-can-eat-them-all-yourself kind of healthy. These muffins are moist, sweet, and oh so satisfying.
OPTIONS FOR MODIFYING THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is delicious just as it is written below, but I have a habit of tweaking recipes from time to time based on what I have on hand. In that spirit, here are a few options you have for ingredient substitutions:
Flour: The basic recipe calls for using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Whole wheat is super healthy and hearty; it’s high in fiber and other important nutrients (like B vitamins). You can use ALL wheat flour if you want. The muffins may just be a little more dense. You can also sub 1/4 cup of flour for 1/4 cup ground flax seed (I do this in most of my baked goods). Flaxseed is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Sugar: This recipe calls for using maple syrup instead of granulated white sugar. I love the depth of flavor the maple gives these muffins, and maple syrup is filled with beneficial minerals and antioxidants. Just make sure you’re using real maple syrup, not cheap maple-flavored corn syrup. You can also substitute honey. If you’re out of both of those, you can still use normal sugar.
Oil/Butter: For this recipe, I used butter. You can easily sub in coconut oil if you want. Keep in mind, however, that coconut oil is solid at a cool room temperature, so if all your liquid ingredients are refrigerator cold, the coconut oil will solidify when it hits the batter and make it lumpy. To prevent this, warm up the syrup before combining it with the melted coconut oil. Don’t microwave the eggs though! You can also put your eggs (before cracking them) in a bowl of warm water to bring them to room temperature in about 5 minutes.
Veggies: This recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded carrots and 1 cup of shredded zucchini, but the veggies are really flexible. You could steam and puree just about any vegetable and use it in the muffins. Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes…you’ve got options. Just keep the total veggie amount to 2 cups.
ANSWERS TO YOUR BURNING QUESTIONS:
(or something like that…)
What is the best way to store muffins?
Have you ever made a delicious batch of muffins and then come back to eat one the next day only to find that it had gone stale or (worse) super soggy? Soggy muffins make me sad…and I figured out how to avoid them!
You can store muffins on the counter for up to two days if you put them in a zip top bag or an air-tight container. The KEY is to place a paper towel both under the muffins and over the tops of them to absorb moisture that evaporates from the muffin but gets trapped in the container. (Note: To limit condensation, make sure you let the muffins cool completely before placing them in a container for storage.)
If you want them to last longer, see the directions below on how to freeze muffins.
Can I freeze muffins?
Yes! I often double my muffin recipes and freeze the extras. After they are completely cooled, place them in an airtight zip top bag an pop them in the freezer for up to a month (or more…you just risk freezer burn if they get lost in the back for too long).
Let’s make some superhero muffins!
- 1 cup flour, whole wheat
- 1 cup flour, all-purpose
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
- 4 tablespoon butter, unsalted (or coconut oil)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated veggies (combination of carrot, zucchini, etc.)
- 1/2 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
- 1 medium banana
- 1/4 cup yogurt, plain
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together flours, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- melt butter.
- In a mixer or another bowl, mix the syrup, butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
- Grate veggies (if you have super picky eaters you can puree the veggies so they aren't noticeable in the muffins) and add to wet ingredients. Add applesauce and yogurt and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined and wet. Fold in optional raisins or nuts if using.
- Spray muffin tin with cooking spray (or use paper liners).
- Using a large cookie scoop or a small measuring cup, spoon batter into muffin tin. Fill each cup approximately 3/4 full.
- Place muffins in over and immediately lower the temperature to 375. Bake for about 16-20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean and muffin tops spring back when you touch them gently).
Adapted from Super Healthy Kids.
Do you love muffins as much as I do? Here are some more delicious and kid-friendly muffin recipes to try: