Whole Grain Sunshine Muffins – Cooking with Kids Recipe

Whole grain sunshine muffins on cooling rack

The mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked muffins filled our kitchen today. You’d never guess they are a nutritious and kid-approved snack.

Just swapping out a few ingredients of a standard recipe can transform a muffin into a nutritious snack. One of my favorite kid snack recipes is the Whole Grain Sunshine Muffins. They’re delicious, nutritious, they freeze well, and they’re super easy to make with kids. My four munchkins love helping out because there’s a step for everyone. Whether it’s mashing a banana, scooping, measuring, counting, lining the muffin pan with paper liners, or dicing strawberries, everyone can be involved.

Nutrition notes: they’re a great source of fiber, which helps keep the kiddos’ bowels happy, and omega 3’s for brain development. And the added fruit provides a bonus of potassium and vitamin C.

With all four of my kids under the age of 4, I typically make all of our muffins into mini muffins, using a mini muffin pan. These are the perfect size for toddlers or tea parties. Any extras get bagged for the freezer. If you have older kids in the house, you probably don’t want to waste your time making them into mini muffins, just go straight for the standard size muffin pan.

Kids mashing banana

Mason mashing the banana

To get started, here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

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  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or spatula
  • Fork (for mashing banana)
  • Cutting board
  • Plastic knife or kid-safe knife*
  • Muffin pan
  • Muffin paper liners
  • Colander, if using fresh fruit
Child cutting strawberries with kid safe knife

Lily chopping strawberries with kid-safe knife

Child cutting strawberries with plastic knife

Mason chopping strawberries with a plastic knife


Every child’s ability varies depending on maturity or cognitive and physical ability. Parents need to use their own discretion when assigning tasks. These are general guidelines for the Whole Grain Sunshine Bars.

18 months – 3 years old:

  • Name and count ingredients with child
  • If using fresh fruit, wash in colander
  • Dump measured ingredients into bowl (except eggs)
  • Stir dry ingredients together in bowl with large spoon/spatula
  • Line muffin pan with paper liners

Ages 3 – 5 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Chop strawberries with a plastic knife or child-safe knife
  • Mash banana with a fork
  • Count and measure ingredients, an adult may need to assist with leveling
  • Mix ingredients together

Ages 6 – 7 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Crack eggs into a bowl

Ages 8 – 9 years old

  • All of the younger tasks
  • Measure out ingredients without assistance
  • Scoop batter into muffin pan

Age 10 – 12 years old

  • Should be able to complete all tasks to this recipe with adult supervision
Child adding honey to mixing bowl

Lily adding the honey

Child adding whole grain flour to mixing bowl

Lily adding the flour


  • Wash everyone’s hands!
  • Clean all work surfaces before starting.
  • Leave tasting until the end. Your child(ren) might not know the difference between a ready-to-eat ingredient and a raw unsafe ingredient.
  • Every mess can be cleaned up at the end.
  • Keep in mind that your child is learning, so patience is key.
Child mixing ingredients together

Lily mixing all the ingredients together

Whole Grain Sunshine Muffins

Nothing beats a warm, fruit filled muffin that melts in your mouth on the first bite. These whole grain mufffins are nutritious and tasty and not only kid-tested, they're kid-approved!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 12
Calories: 123kcal
Author: Stacey Weichelt, RDN, CD


  • 1 ripe banana mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup strawberries chopped
  • 1 cup blueberries or raspberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts optional


  • Preheat oven to 350℉
  • In a large bowl, whisk together mashed banana, eggs, applesauce and honey.
  • Combine all dry ingredients. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
  • Gently fold in berries and nuts.
  • Divide batter into the muffin tins, lined with paper liners.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes (15-20 minutes for mini muffins) or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack at room temperature.
  • Allow muffins to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or freezer for a later time.


Do not over mix the batter. Over mixing can lead to a more dense or chewy muffin and cause muffins to become peaked verses that desired round top.

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