blueberry-muffin.jpgWith the new school year right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about quick and easy snack ideas for those seemingly endless brown bag lunches. But rather than simply tossing in a granola bar and an apple, why not think out of the box and add a delicious, homemade muffin to your kid’s lunch bag? Here are five reasons why muffins are the perfect food for back to school.

  1. Muffins are EASY If you can read a recipe and use measuring cups, you can make a muffin. Unless your power is out, which happened to me today, and then you’re hooped. Anyway, making muffins is easy peasy! Flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, milk and eggs, and then really any other ingredient you want to add, like berries, or nuts, or bananas, or oats, or chocolate, or … the list goes on an on! Plus they only take about 15 minutes to prepare and about 20 minutes to bake, so whipping up some muffins can easily fit into the schedules of even the busiest of people. While I don’t have kids, I do work like a mad woman, and I still find time every other Sunday to make my mom’s ridiculously good banana muffin recipe, which I have been told I am not allowed to post here, so sorry folks. I make 12, pop them in the freezer, and they last me two weeks. 

  1. Muffins are VERSATILEYour homemade muffins don’t just have to be snacks. You can bake larger muffins full of all sorts of nutritional goodness for a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add some flax, maybe some zucchini, or heck, blend in some avocados for a protein packed meal. I found this recipe online a while back and they are absolutely delicious! Photo and recipe from allrecipes.com.

    Fruit-Veg-Muffins.jpgAvocado, banana & walnut muffins
    Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mashed avocado
  • ½ cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • 2 cups all- purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
 

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin tin wells or line with paper cups. In a large bowl, mix avocado, bananas, eggs and milk. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in avocado mixture; do not over-mix. Stir in walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops start to brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

  1. Muffins are FREEZABLE

In my humble opinion, the best thing about muffins is that you can bake them, pop them into a Tupperware or Ziploc and toss them into the freezer for later. That way you can make a big batch without worrying about whether or not they will be eaten before they go stale. To defrost them, all they need is about 45 seconds in the microwave; or just put a frozen one in your kid’s lunch bag and they’ll be thawed and ready to eat by lunch. 

  1. Muffins are PORTABLE

When you’re rushing out the door in the morning on the way to school, or rushing from school to violin practice, or gymnastics, or karate, or swimming, or ballet, you don’t need to stress about getting some nutrition into the kids–or yourself–when you can grab a muffin and chow down in the car en route. There’s no spilling, no sticky fingers (well, maybe slightly sticky fingers), and crumbs can easily be vacuumed up! Or, if you are super car proud and the idea of any crumbs at all makes you cringe, you can make mini, bite-sized muffins to reduce crumb catastrophes. 

  1. Muffins are LOVED

Let’s be honest here folks, kids love muffins. I can hand my nieces and nephews a flax, hemp seed, avocado, and chocolate chip muffin and they think they are breaking all of mom’s food rules, when really, they are doing no such thing! You can make muffins as healthy (or as unhealthy) as you want, and it seems that kids will devour whatever kind of muffin concoction you come up with.

Here’s a veggie packed muffin recipe that is sure to please even the pickiest of kids. Photo and recipe from SuperHealthyKids.com.

Power Packed Fruit & Veggie MuffinsFruit-Veggie-Muffins-010-682x1024.png

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all- purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 ½ medium carrot
  • ½ apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1/8 cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
 

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and set aside. Soften butter. In another bowl, mix the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla, and beat well. In a food processor, combine steamed broccoli, zucchini, apple, banana, apple juice and applesauce. Pulse until thoroughly mixed. Shred carrots. Combine the fruit and veggie puree, carrots and yogurt into the wet ingredient mixture and beat until mixed. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined and wet. In a muffin tin, place muffin papers or spray with cooking spray. Scoop the mixture into a prepared muffin pan filling each spot about ¾ the way full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops start to brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Easy, versatile, convenient, freezable, delicious, and a crowd pleaser! With muffins, you really can’t go wrong! So this back-to-school season, hit up Google and Pinterest to find all sorts of easy and delicious muffin recipes that will take your kid’s lunches from ho-hum to “thanks mom!”

Main image courtesy of: http://roseanne-deaton.blogspot.ca/ 

muffin pan.jpg
Cuisinart Muffin Pan
whisk.jpg
Cuisinart Whisk

mixer.jpg
Cuisinart Mixer

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