Welcome to the first installment of Kids in the Kitchen on the Healthy Aperture Blog.I'm Robin and I blog at Robinsbite. I'm beyond thrilled to introduce you to a concept that is very near and dear to my heart—getting-and keeping-kids in the kitchen. Many thanks to Regan and the team at HA for allowing me to share my passion with this opportunity.
As a culinary nutritionist, I often lament over the fact we are doing our kids a disservice by not teaching them the basic life skill of how to cook and feed themselves. Take that one step further and the realization is that many kids today don't know how to simply nourish themselves with good food. As a mom, I see and know the very real challenges that we face every single day when it comes to finding the balance. When it comes to feeding my family or friends, my mantra is realistic, healthy, great taste…oh, and realistic. (did I say that already?)
You'll see that no food is evil and nothing is off limits at my house. And that's why we're starting with these dark chocolaty chip zucchini mini muffins. See below for 5 things to remember about cooking with and for kids:
- Kids have little stomachs. Like the size of your fist little. Remember that when portioning out food for them-it’s fist size-not head size.
- Mini versions work often. (see #1). Mini-fy whenever possible-this means making mini muffins or cutting regular muffins into halves or quarters. Use tooth picks instead of skewers. Try kid sized plates, cups and bowls.
- Getting your kids in the kitchen is easy-ask for help and be specific-as in “Ben, I need your help ‘smushing the avocado’, ‘shucking the corn’, ‘grating the zucchini’ or ‘spreading the peanut butter’.
- It’s amazing how just 2 T of unsweetened cocoa can turn something chocolaty. It’s a must have in the pantry.
- Just because they made it doesn’t mean they have to eat it. It would be nice, sure, but if they don’t eat it, don’t freak out if they aren’t interested.
Keeping all of the above in mind, I created a pretty healthy version of a chocolate zucchini muffin.
Dark Chocolaty Chip Zucchini Mini Muffins
Ingredients (28 mini muffins)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa
- 1 ¼ t baking soda
- 1 t cinnamon
- ¼ t salt
- ¾ c sugar
- 3 T vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce OR ½ cup unsweetened applesauce and 1 small (3.17 oz) apple/banana fruit sauce crusher pouch (available at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 ½ cup shredded zucchini
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- Peanut butter or Greek yogurt, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini muffin tins with liners or coat with nonstick cooking spray
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs. Blend well to combine. Add the applesauce and blend. Add the flour mixture and blend to combine. Add zucchini and chocolate chips. Blend to mix thoroughly.
Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Top with peanut butter or Greek yogurt as “icing” if desired. Makes 28 mini muffins.