A friend of ours asked Lauren and me a while back if we could post some recipes or ideas to get her children to eat more vegetables at lunch. The catch is that their lunchboxes are not refrigerated and they aren’t able to have food microwaved. Hmmmm. As I scoured Pinterest I found a great recipe for spinach muffins from Laura’s Sweet Spot (now The Green Forks). It looked yummy to me, but I thought there was little chance I was going to get any buy-in from The Bear (my three-year old boy).
I remembered an article I read several years back about a study where children were given options for different food and objects and asked to choose their preference. Children would choose a rock with a picture of SpongeBob over a cupcake! I looked for that article online and I couldn’t find it. However, I did find a link to that references 2 studies (U of Penn, Yale) that show children perceived a cereal to taste better when it had a cartoon character on the box. It got me thinking…. could I use this to coax my little one into eating some spinach muffins?
I called them Christmas Cupcakes cause they were green like Christmas trees. I used Christmas cupcake papers and served them on a Christmas plate. Would it work?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 (6 ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup mashed banana (from about 2 bananas)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl: flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt (I omitted the salt for low-sodium purposes).
In a blender, add oil, milk, and spinach. Blend on high until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla. Blend on low just to mix.
Pour spinach mixture into dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined.
5. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full and bake 18-20 minutes. I always do the toothpick test (insert a toothpick into the center and remove from oven when it comes out clean).