Every few weeks (or days, depending on the need), I tell Van a story along these lines:
Once there was a little boy who only wanted to eat snacks all day. At breakfast time, his mommy made delicious scrambled eggs! But the little boy said, No, Mommy, I just want to eat snacks. His mommy told him that if he ate snacks all day and didn’t eat his healthy meals, he would have a belly ache and would still be hungry at bed time. But the little boy said, No, I won’t! I just want snacks, snacks, snacks! So the mommy said, OK, you can try it and see how you feel. For breakfast, the little boy ate crackers and peanut butter instead of the scrambled eggs. At lunchtime, his mommy made yummy soup and sandwiches. But the little boy just ate chips. At dinnertime, the family sat down together and ate tasty tacos with all kinds of toppings. But the little boy had raisins and pretzels for dinner. When it was time for bed, the little boy said, Mommy, I don’t feel good. My belly hurts. His mama said, That’s because you didn’t eat your healthy meals today. You only ate snacks and your body is telling you it needs better food. Tomorrow you can eat your healthy food again and you will feel better. OK, mommy, said the little boy. But I’m still hungry. Can I eat some healthy food now? The mommy took her little boy to the kitchen and gave him some tacos with all the fixings. The little boy felt much better. The next day he ate all of his healthy meals along with healthy snacks.
What is it with kids and snacks?? Van says the word “snack” with stars in his eyes. And it needs to be something crunchy, but NOT an apple. Sometimes I curse the day he was introduced to crackers. Honestly, though, who can blame him? Once crackers and chips and such are in the picture, it’s difficult to satisfy the snack craving with a piece of fruit or some veggies and dip. But as a conscientious parent, I know that snacks shouldn’t be given with the sole intent of filling a hole in the tummy. Snacks need to nourish, just as as meals do. Not every meal and certainly not every snack can be homemade and nutritious. We dole out plenty of cheddar bunnies and Cheez-Its, but whenever possible, I try to make up a batch of something healthy and nourishing to have on hand as well.
Bake these banana nut muffins and you’ll be armed with wholesome snacks for the week. They’re not the fluffy, oily muffins you’d find at your local coffee shop; these are more compact, perfectly snack-sized, and not overly sweet. They also work well for breakfast – I like them best served warm, split, with a pat of golden butter on each half.
Banana Nut Muffins with Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sprouted whole wheat or regular whole wheat flour
2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar (feel free to substitute coconut sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips
1 cup mashed very ripe banana (2 medium)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon bourbon, optional
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, unrefined cane sugar, baking powder, and spices. Stir in the chopped walnuts and chocolate.
In a medium bowl, beat together the mashed banana and the egg. Beat in the milk, 1/4 cup of the oil, and the bourbon, if using.
Add the liquid banana mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir with a wooden spoon, just until everything is moistened. Lumps are fine. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with parchment liners or lightly greased with coconut oil or butter.
In one of the bowls you’ve already dirtied, combine the rolled oats, brown sugar, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Use your hands to mix together and sprinkle the topping evenly over each muffin cup.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and slightly springy when poked on top. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.