This is a guest post from Jenn Stolfa from TakeThemOutside.com.
I hate to admit it, but sometimes, kids need to be bribed to go outside. Playing in the backyard or going
to the beach are exciting activities in themselves and don’t need much motivation. On the other hand, if
the suggested activity is a family hike (and your kids are like mine) you might be met with groans.
Study after study show that outdoor activity and play is vital for growing children. Nature can challenge
their muscles, refresh their energy, and strengthen their senses. Kids don’t get enough outside time
during the school week. Some reports have pegged outdoor time as low as 7 minutes per day for
American school aged kids! To counteract this, parents need to grab hold of those weekends and start
making family wilderness outings a priority. Now, how do you get your kids motivated and eager for
family hiking and outdoor adventures?
I’ve learned to come armed to hiking proposals with a fresh batch of snacks in hand. If your kids are like
mine, they won’t say no to homemade baking. Is this bad parenting? Well, I don’t think so.
Hiking is hard work. Depending on the length and terrain of the trail, you should plan to refuel at some
point during the adventure. Now, if I were offering my kids a box of cookies, then go ahead and judge
me if it makes you feel better. However, offering kids a few healthy muffins to keep them energized is exactly what they need.
I can’t help it if the muffins are so tasty that my kids can’t resist them… and get excited for the
hike where the muffins will be served.
These muffins have a distinct coconut flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness. They are low in fat
and sugar and depending on your add-ins will have varying levels of fiber and protein. This is an easy
one-bowl recipe, starting with the wet ingredients and ending with the dry ingredients. It will make
about 18 muffins depending on your add-ins and muffin tin sizes.
- 1/2 cup oil or softened butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 cups combination of chopped dried fruit/raisins/small nuts/seeds
- 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare muffin tins with paper liners or oil.
- Into a large bowl add the first grouping of ingredients (oil, applesauce, yogurt, water, eggs, sugar, salt, and baking soda). Mix well, beating the eggs and combining all the ingredients.
- Next add coconut flakes and 3 cups of your chosen trail mix and stir this around a few times.
- Lastly, add the flours and mix until just combined.
- Fill the muffin cups almost full and cook for 20-24 minutes.
A variety of dried fruits are great for these muffins, such as: pineapple, apricot, golden raisins, peaches, papaya, mango, dates, and raisins. Three cups of add-ins might seem like a lot, but given their low sugar content, all the fruit and coconut helps bring the sweetness level up. We’ve enjoyed them many times with this amount of sugar. However, if you choose to add more nuts/seeds than fruit, you may want to add up to 1/4 cup more sugar. Store them for a few days in an air-tight container or throw them in the freezer for your next family outing.
Check Jenn out on her website or on Facebook.