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Muffin Recipes for Healthful Alternatives to Cupcakes in School Parties

Baking S.O.S. says: I have been working with the administration, staff, and fellow parents in my children’s school district for many months to make changes to the Health & Wellness policy for the entire school district.

One of the topics that concerns many parents is the excessive amount of candy, sugary cupcakes and desserts served during classroom celebrations–from birthdays to holiday parties.

I am offering the following muffin recipes as a suggested alternative to cupcakes in the classroom. I will admit that the recipes are not exactly “healthy;” however, each recipe does contain a fruit and/or vegetable to boost the nutritional value, and they are at least a step in the right direction by eliminating “empty calories” found in high-fat, high-sugar frostings.  It is my effort to compromise between those that desire to provide a tasty treat for class parties and those that want to eliminate desserts all together from the classroom.

Feel free to use these recipes in YOUR child’s next class party. I have tested all of the recipes many times with my own kids and their classmates, and each recipe–made from scratch with REAL ingredients (not tons of preservatives and additives from store-bought desserts)–gets a big “thumbs up” from kids and adults alike. Enjoy!

Apple Oatmeal Muffins 


1 C. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. sugar
tsp. baking powder
tsp. salt
1 ½
tsp. cinnamon
C. oats (uncooked oatmeal)
C. milk
C. canola oil
large eggs
C. apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (approx. 2 C.)

1. Sift dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) together into a large mixing bowl.
2. Stir oatmeal in by hand.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, and eggs, then stir into dry ingredients just until mixed.  Fold in apples by hand.
4. Pour batter into paper-lined muffins tins. Bake at 375 degree F for 18-20 minutes until tops spring back and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

2 ¾ C. all-purpose flour
¼ C. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼  tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 C. sugar
1 C. canola oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. grated zucchini
1 C. chocolate chips

1. Sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a separate large mixing bowl (or electric mixer).
3. Add in zucchini, then add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
5. Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray with cooking spray.  Fill pans ? full with batter.
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 ½ dozen muffins

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Nut Muffins

2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. salt
2 C. sugar
1 C. canola oil
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 C. chopped pecans (optional)
1 C. raisins (optional)

Streusel Topping
¾ C. all-purpose flour
½ C. sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
¼ C. unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with muffin papers and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour through salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric stand mixer), beat together the sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix just until blended.  Fold in pecans and raisins (if using).
5. For streusel topping: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a fork until crumbly.
6. Fill muffin tins ¾ full with batter, then sprinkle streusel topping on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until top springs back when touched and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yield: 1 ½ – 2 dozen muffins

2 comments to Muffin Recipes for Healthful Alternatives to Cupcakes in School Parties

  • sangita Jain

    can u please give me a recepe of a muffin without eggs.A choclate muffin which is eggless and fat free and sugar free.thanx in advance

  • Hi Sangita, I’m afraid I don’t have any such recipes for muffins that are completely fat-free AND sugar-free. You could certainly use an egg substitute such as “Egg Replacer” (made by Ener-G), but most baked goods, including muffins, need to have SOME fat and sugar to make them taste palatable.

    In my opinion, I believe that good health and nutrition should follow the rule of “everything in moderation.” So rather than trying to make baked goods completely healthy, I prefer to limit the amount of desserts or other unhealthy snacks I eat (and offer to my children, as well). So I do not have any recipes for muffins that are completely free of fat and sugar–I don’t think they would taste good enough to be worth eating. But I encourage you to search the Internet for recipes that do meet your criteria. Surely, there is something out there for you. I would suggest you start by searching for vegan recipes because those will be certain to have no eggs in them. Just keep in mind that vegan desserts are not any healthier than traditional desserts; they simply substitute various ingredients from non-animal sources. (Vegan recipes still contain fats and sugars or other sweeteners.)

    Good luck!

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