I created this recipe to solve a breakfast dilemma. You may be familiar with this scenario: Your child(ren) got you out of bed before you were ready, and you are groggy. You would like to sit and sip a cup of coffee before you start the day, but she is frantically making the “food” sign at you, and you have to respect her efforts at communicating her needs to you without whining. You need something fast and preferably healthy to appease the hungry toddler.
As a nutritionist with an increasingly picky eater for a child (I have been assured that this is totally normal), I also worry that my child is not getting enough iron or fiber, both nutrients that are often lacking in toddler diets. I like to start the day with something that provides a nice portion of BabyC’s requirement for both of these nutrients, so that if all she eats is cheese for the rest of the day, I know we made an honest effort. Fortified oatmeal is a nice way to iron (and a little fiber), but BabyC will not be fed with a spoon and is only just starting to make some efforts at feeding herself with a spoon. Enter… the baked oatmeal muffin.
I started with a recipe for baked oatmeal and tweaked it over the course of several trials to make it more toddler-friendly and nutritious. BabyC loves the result. She’s had one of these for breakfast every day for the last month. I can make a batch and freeze them in baggies of three or four, then pull them out to thaw in the fridge as we need more. A quick 20-30 seconds in the microwave makes them warm and soft and ready to eat. And even though I created this recipe with a toddler in mind, I think these muffins are yummy, too. If you are a fan of oatmeal but want something to grab and go in the morning, these fit the bill. There are lots of ways to modify this recipe to fit your preferences, and I’ve made a few notes with suggestions in the recipe.
BabyC’s Baked Oatmeal Muffins
- 2 cups oatmeal (If you aren’t trying to add more iron, I recommend using regular rolled oats. For BabyC’s iron-fortified muffins, I use 3/4 cup rolled oats, 3/4 cup fortified baby oatmeal, and 1/2 cup fortified instant oats (the kind in the packets). The rolled oats give the muffins a nice chewy texture, and the iron comes from the baby oatmeal and instant oats.)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbs melted butter
- 2 eggs (Many pediatricians recommend avoiding egg whites until the first birthday. You can omit them here – just use the yolks, and the muffins will be just fine.)
- 1 mashed banana
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 Tbs blackstrap molasses (I chose blackstrap molasses because it is a good source of iron. It is also high in calcium, which probably decreases the absorption of the iron, so I’m not entirely sure how effective this is. You can also leave out the molasses or substitute honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar.)
Fold in last:
- 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (Blueberries are our favorite, but I have also chopped up frozen strawberries or apples. If you use frozen fruit, don’t thaw before adding.)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Prepare muffin tins – either grease tins or add paper cups to each one (makes about 12 regular-sized muffins).
- Melt butter and set aside so that it cools a bit.
- Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
- Combine wet ingredients, including the butter.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Gently fold in the fresh or frozen fruit.
- Distribute batter to muffin tin. These won’t rise much, so you can fill the tins to the top edge, but no more.
- Bake approximately 25-30 minutes.
I calculated that this recipe provides about 5 mg of iron per muffin (assuming you make 12 muffins and use the fortified cereals as suggested above), giving a 6-12 month-old-baby about 45% of her iron requirement and a toddler about 70% of her iron requirement (toddlers actually need less iron than babies). Each muffin has about 2.5 g of fiber, providing 13% of the fiber requirement of a toddler. I think I’d better do a post on toddlers and fiber one of these days…
(Nutrient values come from the USDA Nutrient Database)
Enjoy the muffins! What is your go-to kid-friendly breakfast?