Whole-Grain Power Muffins

“A muffin strong enough to fill the bellies of even the hungriest child or adult. A delightful start to the day or snack loaded with whole grains, flax and hemp seeds, shredded carrot and fresh orange zest.”

“I need a healthy snack that tastes good,” said no toddler ever. If toddlers had their way, I’m sure they would eat only noodles and cookies. Because I am in charge, I am faced with the challenge of trying to find just that: a healthy snack that tastes good.

A few months ago, a trip to the grocery store left me feeling pretty discouraged. Of course, there were plenty of toddler “snack” foods, but either they had zero nutritional value or were astronomically priced. “Fine, I thought, I will just make my own.” From that point on, I’ve literally made dozens of different snacks for my little one. Some are well-received and some are spit out immediately. One winner is this muffin. It’s got a touch of sweetness, but has plenty of nutrition in the way of whole grains, seeds and even carrots. It’s a satisfying snack and it’s simple to make.

These whole-grain power muffins are made with a mix of whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour. Why two different kinds of flour? Whole-wheat flour is heavy and whole-wheat pastry flour is light. Blending the two yields a muffin that feels like a muffin, and not a hockey puck. Keeping this muffin moist is also a challenge with those whole-grain flours, but with the addition of applesauce, a little vegetable oil and finely ground carrot, it doesn’t seem dry at all. To boost the nutrition and satisfaction level, there’s also flax and hemp seeds which are packed with healthy, unsaturated fat and fiber. And once baked, they can’t even be detected, which is a bonus for picky eaters.

Next time your household is in need of a healthy, satisfying snack, give this whole-grain power muffin recipe a try. Get the kids involved, too! They can measure the ingredients, stir the batter and even fill the muffin cups. These muffins are the perfect snack for any toddler, but also a huge hit with the older members of the household.

Food Safety Tip: If these muffins don’t disappear instantly, it’s a good idea to wrap them up and store them in the refrigerator. They can be refrigerated up to one week and frozen up to two months. Also, remember to keep a clean, safe work space when working with raw eggs. Wipe up any egg that doesn’t make it into the bowl and clean the surface (and your hands!) with hot, soapy water.

Whole-Grain Power Muffins

Recipe by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN


  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • 2 rounded tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 medium orange)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, breaking up any large clumps.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and orange juice, then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until ingredients are combined, being careful to not over-mix.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the carrots, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds and orange zest and gently fold into the muffin batter.
  5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full with batter. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of muffins comes out clean.


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Sara Haas
Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and co-author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook. Read her blog, The Cooking RD, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.