In Guatemala, January means the kids go back to school, so moms have to start thinking about what to pack for lunch which means many of us have been looking for lunchbox ideas. I have to pack Kristen a menu for snack time and another one for lunch at school. I don’t send actual lunch foods, like meat or rice. She eats those things when she gets home, and then has a very light dinner before going to bed.
I like to use silicone muffin cups to divide snacks inside her containers, so for snack time I send her things like one slice of whole wheat bread with Nutella, and make a little sandwich out of it, a few pretzels or saltine crackers, sweet cookies like chocolate chips or Oreos, and a cheese stick. For her lunch time snacks, I pack things like mini baguettes with cream cheese and ham, carrot sticks with cream cheese dip, any type of fruit I know she likes, and I always include something salty, like saltines or bread sticks, and a cookie for something sweet.
To vary her menus, I keep a list of lunchbox foods she likes on my bulletin board, and I also keep homemade baked goods in the freezer. I can’t be inventive at 6AM, I need to know what I am going to pack, so I check the list the night before and leave out the items I want to pack for the next day. No sandwiches with little smiley faces made out of blueberries here! Really, who has time?
One of the items I pack for her are these mini banana muffins. I wanted them to be healthy, so I made some substitutions like using honey instead of sugar. You’ll notice I also used yogurt instead of butter. I’ve found that you can substitute Greek or plain yogurt instead of using oil or butter when baking. I’ve done it with pancakes with excellent results. I kept the oil in this recipe, since I didn’t want to risk the consistency of my muffins, but I think I’ll try using only yogurt the next time and I’ll let you know how it goes. If you don’t want to make mini muffins, you can use a regular muffin tin. This recipe yields 12 regular-sized muffins. The results for my adapted recipe were fluffy, moist banana muffins that are ideal for your little kids to take to school.
Whole Wheat Mini Banana-Date Muffins
Recipe adapted from Everyday Reading
Yields: 48 mini muffins or 12 regular size muffins
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup honey
6-8 pitted dates, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, egg, yogurt, oil, milk, honey, dates and vanilla.
- In another mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda. Incorporate this dry mixture into the banana mixture whisking everything together, just until smooth.
- Divide the batter between the mini muffin cups (you can fill them all the way up to the rim) and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are a deep golden-brown and they spring back when you gently press the tops.
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