Today I am talking about one of my keys to getting my kid to eat. Don’t worry! It’s not as boring as it sounds (I hope). Adults will benefit from this as well. Promise.
My darling little Kieran has developed into quite a picky eater, much to my dismay. He always had a strong aversion to certain foods, but when he was younger, I was able to persuade him with persistence. He was sort of blindly taking things off the spoon without much reaction. My approach to feeding him was half purees off a spoon and half baby-led items. It was working really well for us for a while there.
Now, though, he makes it quite clear when he likes or dislikes something. I know it’s part of the age, but I am so worried that he’s going to stay a picky eater as he grows! Anything green and not sweet is a challenge for us these days. Sometimes, he’ll just SEE that the food is green and refuse to eat it before even tasting it. It hurts my soul every time he refuses because I am completely obsessed with food (duh), and preparing it for him has almost become, well, not so fun. Makes my mommy heart ache a little bit. Figuring out ways to sneak fruits and veggies (especially veggies!) into him has become my biggest parenting challenge these past few months.
Enter my mommy weapon: muffins.
Once weekly, I make a big batch of healthy muffins chock-full of stuff that he usually sticks his nose up at. Zucchini muffins. Whole-wheat blueberry muffins. And these apple cinnamon muffins. Next on my list: carrot muffins of some kind. I’ll let you know how those go. Muffins are great to have on hand for a quick breakfast, snack, or even a “yay, you ate your broccoli (even if it is smothered in cheese)!” treat.
Of the muffins, these apple ones seem to be his favorite. And I have to admit, for being a healthy, very-toddler-friendly recipe, my husband and I thoroughly enjoy them as well. What’s not to like?
There’s sweet and juicy bits of apple, the nutty warmth of ground flax and oats, and a cinnamon sugar top! I mean, it’s no wonder we all love these babies. They’re hearty, filling, and healthy but taste a lot more decadent than they really are. Fluffy, sweet little orbs of apple cinnamon goodness.
They make baby AND mommy happy. I can feel good about getting something healthy into him, and he thinks he’s getting away with something because he’s getting exactly what he wants for breakfast.
Wait, will this end up hurting me more than it’s helping?
Meh. I’ll take it for now!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
2 cups peeled and diced apples (I used Granny Smith)
½ stick softened butter
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
½ cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ stick melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners (or spray with cooking spray/grease with butter).
Whisk together the flours, oats, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, chia seeds, and flaxseed in a medium mixing bowl. Place the chopped apples in another bowl. Take a few tablespoons of the flour mixture and sprinkle over the apples. Toss to coat. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, applesauce, and sugar together until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla bean paste.
Beat in a third of the dry ingredients until just combined, and then pour in half the milk and beat that to combine. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and milk, ending with the last third of the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is just combined.
Using a spatula, fold in the flour-coated apples. Once the apples are mixed in evenly, scoop the mixture into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup almost to the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden around the edges and cooked through in the center. Allow to cool slightly before handling.
Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Dip the muffins, while still warm, into the melted butter. Then, dip them into the cinnamon sugar, turning them so that the tops are all evenly coated in the sugar. Set on wire racks to finish cooling.