When treating toddlers with chewing difficulties, I always struggle with “easy to chew” snack ideas. There are only so many cruskits and sweet biscuits you can have and the reality is that most families will have a combination of fruits, cheeses, yoghurts with the occasional muffin as snack options. So my goal was to make a healthy and tasty muffin that you as a mum could make for the kids (in preschool/school) but also be able to give your toddler who is still learning to chew.
Before you read on – here is my disclaimer – I'm not a Dietitian or Nutritionist. I'm a Feeding Speech Pathologist and an avid baker. So while this recipe is healthy (and can be adapted as dairy free muffins), it does contain a small amount of sugar and chocolate (which you can omit if you want to).
Spiced carrot and sweet potato muffins (with a little bit of dark chocolate)
1/2 cup wholemeal SR flour
1/2 cup white SR flour
1/4 rolled oats (the quick oats will be easier to chew if you are concerned about how your toddler will manage chewing oat bits)
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed sweet potato and carrot (I steamed 1/2 medium sized sweet potato and 2 carrots and then roughly mashed it)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup choc melts (or roughly chopped dark choc) – Use the 'Sweet William' Dairy Free chocolate if your children are allergic to dairy.
1. Prehead oven to 180 degrees fan forced and put muffin cases in a 12 muffin tray tin.
2. Sift the flour with the bicarb soda, add oats, sugar and spices
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, mashed vegetables, oil and vanilla.
4. Create a well in the dry ingredients bowl and add the wet mixture and chocolate melts (roughly chopped). Mix well (I'm sure the kids would love to help)
5. You need the mixture to be a bit wet so depending on how moist your mash was will determine how wet the overall batter is. Add a splash of extra olive oil if it's not wet enough. Spoon into muffin cases and smooth out with a spoon. I added a sprinkle of quick oats for decoration before putting it in the oven to bake.
6. Bake for 15-17 minutes – I touch the tops lightly and if they spring back then they are done!
If your toddler is able to chew relatively proficiently, then consider grating the carrot (rather than mashing it with the sweet potato) – my kids preferred the version with grated carrot (with a little bit of cream cheese and sifted icing sugar mix spread on top – they love icing!). And if your kids don't like “spiced” muffins, omit the nutmeg and go easy on the cinnamon. My kids loved these muffins, they were super soft and moist. The best part is that you can freeze them for up to 3 months. So why not individually wrap and freeze them then pop a muffin into your bag when heading out the door on play dates.
Hope you (and your kids!) like them. My boys had a ball baking them with me and as a feeding therapist, I loved peeling, steaming and mashing the vegetables with them – what a great opportunity to talk about and explore vegetables – smell, colour, taste and their uses (in savoury and sweet meals) with your kids.
This website and information on this blog post is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant or intended to replace Speech Pathology assessment and management nor medical or nutritional care for a child. It is recommended that you discuss any concerns or questions you might have with your Speech Pathologist and managing Doctor and develop an individualised team plan specifically for your child.
About the author of this blog post
Valerie is an Australian based Speech Pathologist with 10 years experience in Paediatric Feeding. She has recently opened a private practice called 'Let's Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology' that caters for Newcastle based babies and children with feeding difficulties and early intervention speech and language delays. Valerie is passionate about working in the area of paediatric feeding and special needs and has been involved in the teaching and training of Australian Speech Pathology University students and allied health professionals. You can find out more about Valerie Gent and 'Let's Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology' via her website www.letseatspeech.com.au and Facebook page www.facebook.com/LetsEatPaediatric SpeechPathology or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org