Healthy Banana Muffins

It is not every day that I get to have a deep conversation with my 2 1/2-year-old, but yesterday he piped up with something that made my now healthy heart sing. We were hanging out in the kitchen – me, washing dishes; him quietly eating lunch. After a few minutes of comfortable silence, he sat back and told me “candy is not food.”

He had my attention.

“Oh,” I casually asked, hoping to hear more of his thought process, “what is it?”

“Sugar!” he proclaimed triumphantly.

My heart picked up its pace. I wanted to dance around the room, but held it all in and proceeded cautiously.

“What is food?”

He looked down at his nearly empty plate and a delighted grin spread across his face. “Grapes!” he chirped, gleefully naming the last remaining component of his lunch.

I was over the moon that his spongey brain is taking in even a little bit of what Mr. Second Helpings and I trying to model for him. I could have taken the conversation further and explained that because we can eat them both candy and sugar are in fact foods.  But I didn’t.  To keep things simple I decided that I would allow food and candy to exist in two separate food and non-food categories for as long as possible.  He is still in the last phase of evaluating objects by whether or not they go in his mouth. Why not have multiple categories of things that go in our mouths?  He’ll figure it out. Eventually.

In the meantime today’s recipe makes a heap of adorable muffins that fall nicely into the actual food category. Using yogurt and mashed fruit reduces the amount of fat needed to hold them together but that little bit of butter gives them a touch of richness. Combining hearty wheat flour with light and airy millet flour gives them a fluffy texture but you still feel like you are eating something.

These fit right into this week’s breakfast theme but also make a terrific snack, treat, nibble, or nosh depending on your mood and vocabulary word of choice. In fact, I approve of these muffins so much that I would be happy to give him more than one in a sitting. They contain several types of sugar in the forms of fruit and pantry items but for the sake of his toddler level of comprehension, I’ll just gloss over those details.

Lighter Banana Muffins

Initially, this was published by The Shiksa in the Kitchen as a recipe for a healthy loaf of banana nut bread. The recipe is prefaced by a beautiful story about a mourning dove that is worth reading all on its own. After reading the story and skimming the recipe I knew right away I was going to make a batch myself. True to form, couldn’t help tweaking it ever so slightly to lighten it even further. The nuts have been removed, the granulated sugar has been further reduced and by portioning the batter into muffins the serving size is a little smaller and much more portable.

Adapted from Greek Yogurt Banana Nut Bread by The Shiksa in the Kitchen. The recipe makes 21 muffins – an odd number that will even out after you finish your “taste test” muffin.


  • 2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup millet flour (may substitute cake flour)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lb or approximately 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 oz. fat free greek yogurt, honey flavor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a muffin pan with baking cups or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl – Blend the room temperature butter with the sugars until they become tiny crumbs.
  3. Add the eggs, applesauce, mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl – sift or whisk together the dry ingredients.
  5. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until just combined.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 – 3/4 full.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Tops should be deeply golden and a tooth pick should go in to the center of a muffin and come out clean.

Approximate Nutrition Information per Muffin: 125 calories, 2 g. fat, 25 g. carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 3.2 g protein, PP = 3


    • Great question. This is a recipe I should take another look at. There is no added honey just the recommendation to use honey flavored yogurt. If I made these today I would omit the white sugar then use 1/2 cup of raw sugar and plain yogurt. I would taste the batter before baking to see if it needed additional sweetener.

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