Play With Your Food- Reducing Sugar and Adding Nutrition to Breakfast Muffins

When I was pregnant with Kellen, my cravings manifested in the forms of cupcakes and steak.  I have heard that your child’s taste profile begins in the womb.  In Kellen’s case, I believe it.  The kid is equal parts sweet tooth and carnivore.

Kellen is a picky eater.  One of the things I can count on him to consume is muffins.  Unfortunately, muffins don’t always have the greatest nutritional content- white flour and processed sugar.  I wanted a recipe to give him the food he likes, but also squeeze in a bit more of the good stuff he needs.

I started with this recipe for easy blueberry muffins.  I’ve always liked this recipe because it uses ingredients I have on hand, and can be done in a single bowl.

I began to play with the flour and sugar contents by substituting oats, whole wheat flour, mashed banana, and applesauce.  A family member suggested looking for a specific healthy recipe, but I already knew this recipe by heart.  It was easy to make substitutions and still get them baked quickly.

The flour substitution is pretty easy.  Instead of using 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour, I opt for half flour, half quick oats.  I have also done them with half whole wheat flour/ half quick oats, but that can be a little dense for some tastes.

I found this article on substituting applesauce for sugar.

In the muffin recipe, the sugar serves to aerate the bread and to brown.  For those reasons, I didn’t want to get rid of it completely.  I opted to reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup, and add 1/2 cup applesauce.  I reduced the milk to 1/3 cup to account for the extra liquid in the applesauce.  To make banana muffins, I used banana instead of applesauce and eliminated the blueberries.

I’ve made two batches of these muffins in a week, so I would say the boys haven’t noticed the difference in the recipe.  Or if they have, the results are acceptable.

What are your tips for increasing the health quotient in kid-friendly foods?


  • 3/4 cup (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce or mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 (79 ml – 118 ml) reduced fat (2 %) milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (170 grams or 6 ounces) fresh blueberries

Mix dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and mix together.  Fill cups in muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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