It’s been quite a while since I packed my children’s lunches for school. Now they pack their own lunches and eat them at work. But they still ask me to make some of their old favourites that used to show up in their lunch boxes or waiting for them on the kitchen table when they came home from school. Little did they know that their treat was packed full of fruit or veggies.
Baking can be a great weekend activity that’s fun for parents and children to do together. It also gets kids involved in preparing and planning for what goes in their lunch boxes.
In keeping with my commitment to give my kids the tastiest and healthiest meals I came up with this tried and true muffin recipe.
Fruity Whole Grain Muffins
- 1 cup Flour (whole wheat or spelt)
- 1 cup whole grains (oatmeal, oat bran, wheat germ, or mix 1/4 c ground flax with 3/4 cup whole grains)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (you can also try some fresh, grated ginger)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (preferable organic cane, sucanat, coconut sugar, or honey)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 packed cup grated apple ( or 1/2 cup packed grated carrot and 1/2 cup packed grated apple or pear)
- 1/2 – 1 cup of dried fruit
- optional – 2 tablespoons of brown granulated sugar to sprinkle on the top (you can blend sugar with 1/2 teaspoon more cinnamon)
Preheat the oven to 375 F- Grease a 12 muffin tin, or a pan of mini muffin cups (make sure you grease around the top too)
Combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add honey (if you’re using honey instead of sugar), egg, applesauce and oil. Blend all the wet ingredients with the dry. Stir in the dried fruit. Fill the cups in the muffin tin up to about 3/4 full and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes. Check them after 15 minutes – see if they’re a bit golden around the rims, put a toothpick in the center and see if it comes out clean. If the sides aren’t golden or the toothpick comes out moist, bake for another 3 – 5 minutes and then check again. Let them cool a bit before taking them out of the pan so they don’t pull away from the bottom!
If gluten is a problem you can substitute gluten-free flour, but you’ll need to add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum. The texture won’t be quite the same but it will still taste great.
Make sure they are completely cooled before packing them away in a closed container.
It’s more fun if the kids decide what kind of fruit goes into the muffins, and they will likely be more excited to have them in their lunch box!
Feel free to share any of your zero waste, nutrition dense, tried and true recipes for school lunch boxes!