Hipster adventures in mini muffins or loaf pan baking for Kids

From yesterday, a good summary of more recent research on the impact parents can have by taking kids’ gut microbiome seriously: Toddler Temperament and the Gut, Do bacteria in the gut influence behavior in kids?.

Got me thinking as I prepare for my oldest of two daughters to start kindergarten after Labor day.

One of the biggest challenges of trying to find the balance of feeding your kids what you think is optimal vs. convenient and socially the norm is that bread is such an easy and ubiquitous starch source. I don’t think we have good research on how all grains stack up but it seems like mass produced wheat is in contention for worst gut / autoimmune offender so why not avoid it? I know I’m speaking to quite fad at the moment and I generally don’t find myself following health trends.. but I think at this point it’s less trendy than making fun of people that are gluten free so I’m okay with it. Plus it can be more about what foods they should be eating than which they shouldn’t.

That said now that my kids are both over two, while I worry less about this, I still enjoy putting in extra effort to keep them enjoying other starches / sources of daytime carbs. But often convenience needs to rule and for years I’ve worked up to being able to make muffins to the point where I can’t even remember what recipe I started with and I don’t need to do much measuring. I think it was the mini muffin tin tray though that made this something fun to make and experience over and over. Knowing processed flours* in general aren’t ideal I try to mix in as many ingredients I think they don’t get enough of as I can and still keep these tasty. I tried something new today after scoring some nice little zucchinis and carrots. In the past I’ve alternating through squash, bananas (and chocolate), pumpkin (and cranberries), etc. before, which probably have similar amounts of prebiotic fibre, but this twist adds a main ingredient that is quite a bit less sweet per weight or volume so it makes a better lunch companion vs. desert/snack.

Here’s what I made today, and I just think this is a great recipe people could use so I’m sharing:

Dry ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut flour (a nice lower carb, high fibre**)
2/3 cup sweet rice flour (look it up, it’s hard as hell to find but main labels like bob’s red mill actually have this and it is really good for gluten free baking)
3/4 cup mix of potato starch, tapioca starch, sorghum flour (I use whatever I have on hand- buckwheat, more rice flour would be fine***)
1/4-1/2 cup collagen protein (heavy in glycine which is amino acid good for the gut often lacking in kids’ diets)
splash of dextrose powder (adjust to your taste, I probably used 4 tbsp, this minimizes the fructose in the recipe since they also get plenty of that)
1 big tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:
splash of raw honey (adjust to your taste, I probably used 4 tbsp)
2 eggs, 4 egg yolks (even kids should be averaging 1-2 egg yolks a day IMO, read this post on how to separate them and the health benefits)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 small green zucchini, grated
1 small yellow zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
splash of vanilla
splash of half and half cream (or milk, or a little water, you just need to gauge the batter a little bit)

Simple instructions
1. Preheat over to 370.
2. Grease (mini ideally) muffin pan.
3. Mix well, wet into dry ingredients with a spatula.
4. Dispense into tins and bake for 10-15 mins depending on the size of your pan. I don’t worry about a timer, just wait until you see a tiny bit of browning and then you usually have a few more mins.



These freeze really well! The smaller ones they even like to eat right out of the freezer.

What’s funny, but not really funny, is that at a Montessori school earlier this year I made a similar recipe into a sweet potato bread in a loaf pan and received the feedback from a teacher she would prefer I didn’t send slices of that because it didn’t look like familiar bread. “We don’t send sweets, can you consider sandwiches, pitas, etc.” I get the point on a couple levels from what they typically see and this is from a perfectly wonderful teacher, but it gets awkward when you both mean well (the contents of the food pyramid will die a slow death it seems..). It would be nice to meet more local parents with similar food interests but I don’t think the gluten free hipster trend transcends the inconveniences of parenthood.

* Also keep in mind processed flours have water content removed so you want to make sure kids get plenty (of water) to drink.
** High fibre is not necessarily a good thing. We want prebiotic, non-toxic fiber and not the bran from most grains.
*** Unlike a lot of “gluten free muffins” recipes that use almond flower, I’m not really a big fan of that and prefer me some sweet rice flour or other alternatives. Baking with ground up almonds that have plenty of unsaturated fats to begin just doesn’t seem smart.

Here’s the go-to banana variation I use more than anything else, had to retype the ingredients for a friend:

Dry ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup mix of potato and/or tapioca starch
1 1/4 cup sweet rice flour (or any substitute flour)
1/4 cup dextrose powder (if you don’t have this just skip it and add extra sweetener to wet ingredients)
Optional: 1/4 cup collagen protein (or any protein powder)
1 big tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:
4 large really ripe bananas
1/3 cup sweetener (any of honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, brown sugar)
4 eggs, + 2 extra egg yolks
1/4 cup melted butter
splash of half and half cream (or milk, or a little water, you just need to gauge the batter a little bit)
splash of vanilla
Optional: chunks of PC 70% dark chocolate

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