Get the kids to help you make these during the holidays, then add them to the regular lunchbox rotation come back-to-school time.
If you’re reading this and have children then, according to recent research, there’s a 50% chance they aren’t consuming their recommended daily serving of vegetables. Walk through your local supermarket and it’s little wonder. Shelves overflow with sugary cereals and biscuits with mysteriously long ingredient lists. Whole aisles are devoted to juices and fizzy drinks, lollies and chocolate, and if that’s not enough sugar for you, then grab some of those little pottles of yoghurt. Each one contains just shy of 3 teaspoons of sugar, which is half of what the WHO recommends children consume in a day.
All these convenient, pre-wrapped food items are cunningly positioned on the supermarket shelves at just the right height and branded to suck in the tiniest of tots whose incessant whingeing will break even the most resolute of parents.
Take back the power, I say. Yes, you might be time-poor, or have little interest in cooking, but do it for your kids. Dust off the baking trays and muffin tins and make it an activity you share together. You might not replace all the store-bought items in your child’s lunchbox today, but replacing just one is a fantastic start. The recipe below is packed with grated beetroot, studded with chunks of dark chocolate and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds – and if you didn’t know they contained vegetables, you’d be none the wiser. They are light and moist and delicious and if our four-year-old is anything to go by, they taste “Reaaaaally good!”.
BEETROOT & CHOCOLATE MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups grated beetroot
- finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 75g sugar (I used rapadura but brown or white would also be fine)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 100g white flour
- 75g wholemeal flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 50g dark chocolate (I used Green & Black’s 85%), roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease well or line a 12-hole muffin tin. Put the eggs in a bowl or large pyrex jug and gently beat. Add the beetroot, orange zest, sugar, oil and vanilla paste and mix well to combine.
Add the flours, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and the chopped chocolate and gently mix until just combined. Do not over-mix or your muffins with be tough and doughy instead of light and fluffy.
Spoon into the lined muffin tins then sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds before baking for 15-17 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the muffins comes out clean.