That’s quite a mouthful of a title, isn’t it? Let’s give them a tastier (i.e. not healthy-sounding) nickname: Happy Chocolate Muffins. Or something.
Who else has a picky eater in their house? My 15-month-old is ours. She won’t drink milk, so we’re still nursing (even at night – woo-hoo!), & though she’s consistently at around the 90th percentile for height, over the past 6 months we’ve seen her weight drop from 50th… to 30th… to 14th. One month we learned she lost a pound. Yikes! So under doctor’s orders I’ve been trying to find creative ways to incorporate the healthy fats she’s not getting from whole milk or the many foods she won’t eat into foods she will eat. I plan to post some of the tips & tricks I’ve been learning in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s my latest discovery:
Using avocado instead of butter or oil in baked goods.
Avocados are amazing. According to WebMD, “Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.”
So after one particularly scary weight check at the doctor’s office, I bought an avocado on sale & then asked my friends on Facebook for ways to sneak it into a picky toddler’s diet. I got tons of great ideas! Smoothies, mashed with bananas (that worked, like, once), & baked into stuff. One friend sent me the recipe below.
On the first try, these were tasty… if a little dense. The original recipe called for using all whole-wheat flour. The girls didn’t seem to mind, but, my husband said it tasted like a “chocolate bran muffin.” I remade them last night with half whole-wheat, half all-purpose, & they were an even bigger hit! If you’re concerned that your kids (or your husband!) will suspect & thus not eat the “healthy” muffins, start with the proportions below; then, if you want to make it healthier, gradually increase the proportion of whole-wheat. And don’t say anything about the avocado; you can’t taste it, & it’ll just give them a reason to turn up their noses at these. There’s no point if they won’t eat them, right? I also added flaxseed for more healthy fats, omega-3s, lignans, & fiber.
The original recipe was for mini-muffins, but since I don’t have a mini-muffin tin (what?!), mine are regular-sized. Mini-muffins are a perfect size to put in your little one’s lunchbox when school starts next month.
- 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal (pour into 1-cup measuring cup before adding the flour & then fill the rest with the flour)
- 1 1/3 cup (minus 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour*
- 1 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour*
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 large, ripe Hass avocado
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup chocolate chips (if making mini-muffins, use mini chocolate chips)
* The original recipe calls for all whole-wheat flour, but my family is more likely to eat them this way.
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray wells of muffin tin generously with cooking spray. (I tried using papers, but they stuck like crazy. So don’t be like me.)
- Sift together dry ingredients.
- Beat the avocado & sugar together around 3 minutes, or until smooth. Isn’t that beautiful?
- Beat in liquid ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients, stirring until incorporated.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Spoon into wells of muffin tin. Bake for 18 minutes for regular muffins, or 15 minutes for mini-muffins. Makes 2 dozen regular muffins or 4 dozen mini-muffins.