Guest Post by: Kacie Barnes, UTSW Dietetic Intern and Graduate Student
Banana oat mini muffins are always a hit in our house, for baby mouths and grown-up mouths alike!
As my son transitioned from purees to table foods over the past several months, I found myself in new territory. Cooking for myself was a breeze, cooking for my husband took some getting used to, (carnivore alert) but was doable. Cooking for my tiny human? Now this was a challenge. How am I supposed to know what he will like? Something he gobbles up happily one day, like a veggie frittata, gets shoved off the tray the next day.
So I am always trying new things to find those no-fail recipes. Now that my son is a little over a year old – and I’ve gone through a LOT of trial and error – I’ve found some foods I can always rely on him eating. Avocado, fruit of any kind, and homemade meatballs, to name a few!
But at snack time, I like to grab something quick and easy for him, like a fruit/veggie pouch. While those can be a good option, especially on the go, I wanted another option that was more budget friendly.
And let’s be honest, I also wanted something that would indulge my need to be lazy for a few minutes. You guys, toddlers are no joke. Do they make Fitbits for babies? I swear he covers at least 5 miles a day running back and forth down the hallways. So I spend my day chasing him around, and sometimes, I just need a break. When I have these muffins on hand I just grab a few and plop them on his tray. No prep required!
That’s why I LOVE making these banana oat mini muffins. They are a breeze to make, and a batch will last at least a week or two. That’s as long as my husband doesn’t steal them first. I typically keep a few in the fridge and put the rest into the freezer to keep fresh longer. Less than a minute defrost in the microwave has them just as delicious as freshly baked. The very best part is that my son can feed them to himself! I’ll sit down and enjoy some hot tea while he eats his muffins. Or, more likely, I’ll frantically dash around unloading the dishwasher and folding laundry while he’s stuck in one spot for a few minutes.
And I forgot to mention, they’re pretty healthy, too! They aren’t too sweet, and I even reduce the maple syrup a little more if I am just making them for my son. He doesn’t notice. I added some chia, flax, and hemp seeds to pump up the nutrition a bit. If you don’t have these on hand, feel free to just leave them out. I like to give myself a high five when I know my son is getting a dose of omega-3’s!
This recipe is also easily adapted to special diets. They are gluten-free as long as you use certified gluten free oats. If you need a dairy-free option, sub dairy-free yogurt or even some canned coconut milk.
I hope you try these banana oat mini muffins, they are SO good, and toddler-approved!
We take snack time pretty seriously over here. :)
Banana Oat Mini Muffins
(makes 22-24 mini muffins)
2 ½ cups oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
½ tablespoon ground flax seeds
2 extra ripe bananas, broken into chunks
1 large egg
¼ - 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
¾ cup plain yogurt (about 7 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Tiny pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (or 375 convection). Lightly grease a mini muffin tin or use muffin liners. I usually just spray the pan and the muffins come out cleanly.
Using a food processor, grind oats until fine. It should become flour-like. Add chia, hemp, and flax seeds and pulse a few times.
Add remaining ingredients and process until the batter is smooth. Make sure there are no chunks of banana remaining.
Distribute batter in the muffin tin. I like to pour the batter into a large zip-top bag and snip a hole in the corner to quickly and easily squeeze the batter into the tin.
Bake 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center of a muffin clean. In my oven, I rotate the pan after about 6 minutes to make sure everything bakes evenly. Tops will become very lightly browned when done.
Kacie Barnes is a Clinical Nutrition graduate student at UT Southwestern and is a certified personal trainer. She is excited to switch career paths and become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Before attending UT Southwestern, Kacie worked as a public policy analyst. She studied Economics at New York University and earned a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University.