Madtown Mama's Vegetable Stealth Muffins

I credit Stephanie for the name of this recipe, courtesy of her comment on my last post. There's a story behind these muffins, a story about a little boy who has the most peculiar eating habits ever.

I'm talking about my own little Daniel. I referred to his eating issues in another post not too long ago. Almost every parent I've ever met yaks on about how his or her kid gave up mushy baby food well before the age of one year and just started grabbing whatever was on Mom or Dad's plate. These other children, whom I have labeled "normal," like to eat with their hands, might try using a spoon, and usually make a mighty big mess while they're at it. At some point or other, they try just about everything they're given. Not my Danimal. He just doesn't pick up food to eat it. I might add that as a baby he very rarely put anything in his mouth except his own fingers and the occasional plastic spoon. I knew this was unusual, and for a while it was great because he never tried eating crayons or sand or toilet paper or anything like that.

Now, though, it's a struggle to get him to eat because he'll almost always ignore whatever you put in front of him unless it's a graham cracker, a piece of bread, a chunk of banana, or a mini-muffin. Not even goldfish crackers and cheerios, people. I mean, what toddler doesn't love goldfish crackers and cheerios?!?!?! Until two weeks ago, he happily ate whatever purréed concoction of legumes and vegetables and yogurt I made for him, so I wasn't worried about his nutritional intake. Lately, though, he's gotten impatient with anything served on a spoon (except his breakfast oatmeal and the occasional helping of yogurt), and I feel like I've reached a dead end.

All the various ways I've failed him as a parent have been suggested to me. If he spent more time around other kids his age, he would want to eat like they do. He breastfed too long (he's still going, actually, but just at wake-up time in the morning). We haven't offered him enough different foods to try. I didn't try this trick or that game. But dudes, eating is instinct. Right? If he wanted our food, he'd have tried grabbing it off of our plates already. That has never happened even once and I am absolutely not exaggerating. The other day he voluntarily licked a slice of cucumber and we considered it a small miracle.

One part of me figures that like talking, he'll eat more big people food when he's good and ready. His growth and development are all fine. But the over-protective mother hen part of me worried about it enough that I emailed his doctor (yes, we can email the doctor; it's part of the clinic's website and it rocks!), who suggested we have an appointment with a nutritionist. That's today at noon. I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I discovered that mini-muffins are within Daniel's repertoire of bready foods he will eat. And guess what? You can hide all kinds of good stuff in a batch of mini-muffins, and your little carb fiend of a toddler will gobble them up. It's a win-win, and I need a little victory now and then.


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Approx. 2 cups combined grated vegetables/fruit. Carrot, zucchini, and apples work particularly well.
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
3 T. vegetable oil
1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar or honey (yeah, I know, but these have to be edible)

In a separate bowl, mix:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 T. ground flaxseed (you don't want to overdo the flaxseed, TRUST ME)
3 T. wheat germ
1/2 cup white flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together without stirring more than necessary. Add a little splash of milk if the mixture is too dry.

Spoon into muffin tin and bake until golden. For minis it takes 10-15 minutes. This makes about 2 dozen mini-muffins, maybe more, depending on how much batter you end up with.

With autumn approaching, if Daniel is still on his I-won't-eat-anything-but-carbs-but-don't-you-dare-spoon-feed-me jag, I envision making mini-muffins with the same basic ingredients, only using mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash as the vegetable base.


Becca said…
I know you're likely being sarcastic, but you have not failed as a parent. Just wanted to add some encouragement. CJ did a similar regression from protein for a while, then picked back up with fruits. He'll eat veggies at daycare, but not for me, and he refers to any kind of meat as chicken. I've learned not to correct him, since he won't eat pork if I say it's pork, but he will eat it if he thinks it's chicken.

Right now, he's going through a tear where he won't eat anything but string cheese, PB&J, and an apple or grapes for dinner. Sometimes, he'll ask for yogurt. Mostly, he wants a cookie. And I can't blame that on being breastfed for too long (unless four days was too long) or not being around other kids. we haven't gone the nutritionist route, but his pediatrician thinks as long as he's active, happy, and on the charts, that he's OK. Pediatrician also said that toddlers will advance and regress many times in their eating habits, and as a bottom line, if the kid's hungry, he'll let you know. Like adults, they may be too hot, not hungry, maybe feeling a bit queasy, or just not in the mood for what was put in front of them. I still try to give him what I've cooked, and not resort to PB&J or be a short order cook. He surprised me this week by loving beef stew.

Not trying to be a know-it-all, so I'm sorry if it sounds that way. I empathize with the worry and the feelings of suckitude, and I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and I don't think the Danimal isn't normal.
Becca said…
"Almost every parent I've ever met yaks on about how his or her kid gave up mushy baby food well before the age of one year and just started grabbing whatever was on Mom or Dad's plate."

I almost forgot: What those parents aren't telling you is that after Junior grabbed what was on Dad's plate, he squished it between his fingers for while, smeared it all over the surface of the table, asked for a napkin, dipped the napkin in his glass of milk and wrung it out over the smeared food, cried when Mommy cleaned up the mess, and still managed not to eat a single thing while sobbing and waving off the "choo-choo train" of green beans.

And now you know the REST of the story.
Suze said…
thanks for all the encouragement, becca! it IS reassuring, actually. i know that toddlers go through phases. one week they like something, the next week they won't touch it, then they eat nothing but cheese for 4 days...but daniel is sort of the opposite. he's not going through a phase, he just refuses to try anything new EVER. we're working on it, though, and even since yesterday there's been a tad bit of improvement. i'll post about it sometime this weekend, probably.

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