HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Healthy muffin recipe for kids

I'm looking for a secretly healthy but tasty muffin recipe to feed my teen as she dashes off to school in the AM. She has been skipping breakfast, complaining that she doesn't have enough time to eat.

Any suggestions for a kid-friendly but body health recipe? I'm thinking something w/ applesauce and oats, but am very open.

Thanks for your thoughts!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'd start by using a standard recipe and start substituting whole wheat pastry flour for part of the ap flour. Add 1/3 c non-instant powdered milk (protein for the young brain)and a touch of rolled oats ground up in your seed mill. If well accepted, add more whole grains and use less refined flours and foods. Adding wheat germ is easy. Just remember to store these whole grain products in the fridge or freezer; as they still contain the oil-bearing germ of the grain, they are perishable. Buy them in a store with a high turnover for these products.

    Use honey for the sweetener, and top with sesame or pumpkin seeds before they go into the oven. Add fruit sometimes like smashed bananas, peaches, berries. You get the idea.

    I had a great little Rodale cookbook in the 70's called Smart Muffins. The author's situation was identical to yours. See if you can get one. She also wrote the popular "Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook."


    1. Have you tried Morning Glory muffins? Carrots, apples, coconut, walnuts, and you can make them with whole wheat flour if you like.


      6 Replies
      1. re: MobyRichard

        Morning Glory Hallelujah! I love these muffins!!! Ever since I finished grad school, and started a more "normal" schedule, I've been struggling to eat breakfast consistently during the week (in the battle between sleep and breakfast, sleep always seems to win). Now, when I'm in a rush (which is 90% of the time) I just grab one of these out of the freezer on the way out the door, and by the time I get to work, it is thawed. I make the recipe from the King Arthur Baking cookbook, which makes 12 large muffins, with 5 g of protein per muffin. They taste great and are really sustaining. I know that even if I don't get to lunch until late in the afternoon, I won't be all hangry. Let me know if you want the KA recipe.

        1. re: grubn

          I found one recipe on the KA flour website, perhaps it is the same? They sound great, I'll definitely mix up a batch for all the busy kids and grownups in the house!

          1. re: sljones

            I looked at the recipe on the website, and weirdly, it isn't the same! Almost, but not quite. The recipe in the book doesn't call for orange juice and I think uses less sugar. I'll post the recipe when I get home tonight. FYI, if you want it to taste "less healthy," use wheat germ instead of the sunflower seeds -- then it basically tastes like a carrot cake muffin.

            1. re: grubn

              Here's the recipe, paraphrased:

              Makes 12 large or 15 medium muffins

              1/2 c raisins
              2 c flour (8.5 oz)
              1 c sugar (7 oz)
              2 tsp baking soda
              2 tsp cinnamon
              1/2 tsp ground ginger
              1/2 tsp salt
              2 c peeled, grated carrot (7 oz)
              1 large tart apple, grated (6-7 oz)
              1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut (1.5 oz) NOT the moist kind
              1/2 c sliced almonds or chopped walnuts (2 oz)
              1/3 c sunflower seeds or wheat germ (1.5 oz)
              3 large eggs
              2/3 c veg oil (4.75 oz)
              2 tsp vanilla extract

              Preheat oven - 375F.
              Grease muffin tin (or line with papers if freezing for later).
              Cover raisins with hot H2O and set aside.
              Mix egss, oil, vanilla and set aside.
              Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, salt.
              Add carrots through sunflower seeds or wheat germ. Mix well.
              Add egg-oil mixure and stir until combined.
              Add drained raisins and mix.
              Pour batter into muffin tin.
              Bake for 20-25 minutes.


              1. re: grubn

                Thanks, looks great! I don't have wheat germ at home, do you think I could substitute oat bran? I have all the other ingredients, so it would be great to avoid a trip to the store!

                Many thanks!

                1. re: sljones

                  Actually, you could just leave out the wheat germ (I think it's optional in the recipe anyway). But if you wanted, I'm sure you could add a little oat bran instead. Let me know how that tastes if you do that, and I might try it next time! I just finished eating one of these as I type!

      2. Pumpkin muffins with lots of walnuts (the healthy fat will help tide her over until lunch), made with some whole wheat flour.
        Also, I like to use apple butter when applesauce is called for.

        1. Great, I love the ideas! I'll look for that cookbook.

          Julesrules, how does the applebutter enhance the muffins? Is it a more concentrated apple tatse?

          Many thanks!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sljones

            Not necessarily more apple flavour. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison but I think since apple butter is thicker, it results in a less gummy muffin. Thinking more of recipes where the apple sauce is a substitute for some of the fat. Also I just happen to keep apple butter around more often than sauce.

          2. I've got a great moist muffin recipe for Prune and Oatmeal muffins. No one cared that they were prunes, just warmed them up and gobbled them up.

            1. Hi- I've developed a healthy version of a bskery style muffin for my sweet tooth husband:

              1 cup yellow cake mix
              1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
              1/2 cup Splenda (or sugar)
              2 t baking powder
              1 t cinammon
              3/4 cup reduced fat milk
              1/2 cup applesauce
              1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
              1/4 cup oil
              2 cups fresh blueberries

              1. Whisk together dry ingredients (first 5)
              2. In a separate bowl whisk together remaining ingredients (except blueberries)
              3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir only until blended. Stir in blueberries
              4. Fill lined muffin cups (12) Cups will be full.
              5. Place muffins in a preheated 400 deg. oven.
              6. Close oven door and reduce heat to 350 deg. Bake 18 to 20 min.

              You can add fruits, nuts, or spices of your choice. You can also ad 1 cup of quick oats. Just reduce flour by 1/4 cup.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cookdebbie

                Thanks for this, it looks like something a sweet thoothed kid would enjoy as well! Do you think its possible to substitute something for the yellow cake mix? I don't keep that around the house, so it would be nice to have an all flour recipe. Let me know if you hae any thoughts on that, otherwise it looks great!

              2. A package of devil's food cake mix.

                A 15 ounce can of pumpkin pack (NOT THE PIE MIX)

                Don't add oil, eggs, or anything else, just the boxed cake mix and the pumpkin

                Dump in bowl. Mix together. Pour into lined muffin tins. Bake according to time on box, minus about 5 minutes or so.

                It's a quick, easy, and good thing.

                1. i have to add that, in general, making a muffin "healthy" is one of the easiest things to do. compared, say, to bread, cookies, etc. this is in part due to the fact that muffins are more times than not filled with so many ingredients that the quality or type of flours, sugars, etc doesnt really shine through in the end EITHER WAY. i mean that you can usually always just switch all or def most of the AP flour with whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour, the refined sugar with some kind of not-so-refined sugar like turbinado, muscavado, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc.
                  my point is really that when thinking, "hey, i want a healthy muffin!" you need NOT search out some special recipe labelled 'healthy' or 'morning glory' or whatever, you can always just look at any of the 'normal' or traditional recipes you already have and just start replacing. in any event, muffins are pretty much, in my experience, always tasty at the end of the day. good luck.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ben61820

                    Totally agree, you can also generally reduce the sugar by a third or so with no ill effect. This is great for me because then I can make a muffin that is tasty but doesn't trigger my sweet-tooth binge thing.

                    1. re: julesrules

                      yes, youre totally right. i forgot to mention that when using arecipe ive found somewhere i generally begin by reducing their sugar amounts by about a third, sometimes even half. then you can always add back a bit if it doesnt taste right to you. good pointer, tho.

                    2. re: ben61820

                      All good points. I'll definitely start reducing sugar. I made a batch of apple muffins last night w/ some of the ingredients I had at home. I replaced half of the AP flour w/ ww pastry and oat bran. I had to avoid nuts and dried fruits, as picky teen automatically turns her nose up at them. She prefers muffins that taste more like cupcakes. But she didn't notice the WW flour and oat bran, and she liked the apple chunks, so I think I've found a basic recipe to play with!

                      One quick question: Any rules of thumb for reducing fat? Can I sub part or all of the oil w/ apple sauce?

                      Thanks for helping feed one picky teen!

                      1. re: sljones

                        reducing fat is tough, too. i would say you could stay with the same amount of fat in any given recipe. by reducing/altering the sugar and adding more fruits, and really by getting rid of ALLA the white flour, etc. you are pretty much doing the healthiest job you can. the superfear that we, in this country, seem to have of all things containing 'fats' is silly. remember, consuming 'fats' from foods does not mean that you yourself then get fat FROM THAT FAT. no way! it is consuming the overly processed calories. dont worry bout the fat. also, i mean beyond all this healthtalk, the fat makes it taste good! your body wants it!

                    3. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/340258

                      I think this one probably covered the same ground but might have some extra recipes to try...