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Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Healthy Muffins for Picky Eaters

Written by Robyn Eidinger

If you have a picky eater, you know how hard it can be to get something nutritious into them. Our writer shares her mom-hack for sneaking some veggies into one of her kids’ favourite foods — muffins.

Muffins!! Who doesn’t love muffins? In our house muffins are a favourite whether it is for breakfast, snack or even dessert. Since they are such a popular request, I am constantly looking for new recipes and ways to make them less dessert like and more substantial, healthy and of course yummy.

Some people will say that baking isn’t their forte but I don’t think you need to be a good baker to make good muffins. If you follow a recipe, there isn’t much room for error. Personally, I like to play around with a recipe, reduce sugars and substitute ingredients here and there. If you are one of those people that need to follow a recipe to a T, then try your luck with one of these. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

Sweet Potato Muffins

One of my favourite things about muffins is that it is so easy to hide healthy and nutritious ingredients inside them without those picky eaters knowing. It adds a lot of nutrients that they might not get. If your children are like mine, for some reason sweet potatoes are just one of those foods they refuse to eat. However, they are one of my favourite foods, especially in the fall season because they are sweet and versatile. It is important to note that they also provide us with many nutritional benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, and a high source of potassium and vitamin C, just to name a few. With that being said, of course I want my kids to reap the benefits of sweet potatoes but I won’t lie, I was a little skeptical about making these muffins. I couldn’t wrap my head around how they would work in terms of texture and taste. It took me a long while to finally build up the courage to give them a go, but I was impressed. The only downfall to this recipe is that there are a few more steps then usual since you have to boil the potatoes prior but it is certainly worth the while. Not to mention, the kiddos had no idea! The original recipe was found on I made a few changes and so below is the recipe that worked for me.

  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 stick of butter (or oil if you prefer)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Preheat to 350 degrees
  • Cube and boil potatoes until soft and then mash
  • Mix potatoes, butter, eggs until combined, slowly add in the remaining ingredients
  • Fill muffin cups ¾ full (they don’t rise much)
  • Bake approximately 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Zucchini Carrot Apple Oatmeal Muffins

If you’ve got picky eaters then these muffins might do the trick. Full of fruit, veggies and grains, these muffins are practically a full meal. Getting my son to eat his veggies can often be a challenge. He likes what he likes and doesn’t like to try new things, so this mommy is constantly trying to find ways to not only be sneaky but creative as well. Thankfully this muffin recipe is simple and made with ingredients that we often have on hand, so whipping them up takes no time at all and I don’t have plan ahead. If you are looking for a quick, on the go breakfast option, then these muffins are the way to go. With the nutritional benefits of fiber, Vitamin A and C and antioxidants, you really can’t go wrong. The original recipe was found on The Baby Bump Diaries.

  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar (recipe suggests cane)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ shredded carrots
  • ½ cup shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup shredded apple
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a food processor shred your carrots, zucchini and apple. Pulse with egg, oil, vanilla, honey and milk.
  • In a bowl, mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
  • Line each tin and spray with non-stick spray then fill each muffin cup (big or small) ¾ full
  • Bake for approximately 20 mins

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins are an all time favourite of mine and a great dessert option. Understandably so, they are the least healthy of the bunch since they have a much higher sugar content, not to mention chocolate. On the plus side, they still do offer some nutritional benefits that you wouldn’t find in plain muffins all thanks to the added zucchini. As previously mentioned, zucchinis are rich in vitamin A and also have other benefits as well. You could choose to make changes to this recipe to try and make them healthier if you wish such as whole wheat, less sugar and so on. Personally, I think having a healthy-ish, yummy muffin is a nice treat sometimes and the kids love it. Be prepared, people are often skeptical when they hear that you have added zucchini but these muffins are surely a huge crowd pleaser.  You can find this recipe at

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup milk (as always, I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ½ chocolate chips (I used minis)
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Grate zucchini and combine all wet ingredients. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes

If you find yourself struggling at finding new ways to get fruit and vegetables into your child’s diet then muffins might just be the perfect option for you and your family. As mentioned, the recipes above offer great nutritional benefits and can be enjoyed for breakfast, snack and even dessert. I like to make extras so that I can freeze some. Although they are easy enough to whip up on a whim, I do sometimes find myself in a pinch and being able to just pull one out of the freezer has saved me many times. Lately I find myself opting for mini muffins, the kids don’t always finish them and mini muffins definitely reduce the waste. Please note that the baking time will change when making mini muffins, I typically cut it in half and go from there.

Now, it’s time to get baking, I hope your kids enjoy them as much as mine!!!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.