As our babies move further along in their solid food introduction, we likely begin to think about offering healthy “treat” types of foods: muffins, pancakes, cookies for example. Now, let’s be honest, even though we may enjoy consistently eat only healthy nourishing foods, a treat here and there is indeed a welcomed friend. The thing is, treat foods don’t have to be laden with sugar or come from a box and many can actually provide some nourishment.
Making healthy and wholesome pancakes, muffins or cookies from scratch, is another way to teach our kids to love new types of flavors and textures. Learning to enjoy real “treat” foods goes a long way in helping to prevent a love affair with overly-processed foods. Muffins make great finger foods for babies over 8 months old; they can pull apart easily, offer a new texture and are fun to smash up (smashing food is another important part of food exploration for kiddos)
These tiny pumpkin muffins look rather plain and boring but they are bursting with flavor; sift all the dry ingredients together and you will have a light and fluffy texture. This texture is perfect for little self-feeders to pick apart!
1 cup of fresh or canned pumpkin puree – plain, not the pie mix (I prefer fresh when baking as I find it gives a lighter texture)
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
1/2 cup mik (whole milk, or vanilla soy or rice milk)
2 eggs ** (substitutions below)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each – ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 cup maple sugar or maple syrup (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Sift the flour, spices (more as you see fit) and baking powder (and maple sugar if using) together over a large mixing bowl
Add the oil, milk, vanilla, pumpkin puree (and maple syrup if using) and stir gently to just combine
Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the batter – or add the egg substitute
Fold eggs into the batter then mix batter until it begins to appear “airy” – like cornbread tends to do (I hope you know what I mean here!)
Bake for approximately 10 minutes in mini-muffin tins and up to 15 minutes if using regular muffin pans.
Makes 24 mini muffins and a bit – With the extra batter I had, I baked a little cake in a small casserole dish.
* Contains dairy, wheat and eggs – consult your pediatrician
** You may substitute the following for the egg: 1/2 cup applesauce / 1 small mashed banana / 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds simmered in 6 tbsp of water – flax will add some extra nutrition, Omega 3s!