We’ve all been there – that treading on thin ice moment between having the time of their life and total meltdown. Am I talking about you or your little one, that’s the question. In all too many cases, what we’re seeing could be plain old tiredness, a change in stimulation level (post screen time!), dehydration, or maybe it’s a blood sugar crash.
I have written at length on this site and teach in-depth in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and the abridged version, Everyday Culinary Nutrition, how critical it is, no matter your diet of choice, to manage and stabilize blood sugar. It’s important to also recognize as a caregiver of a little one, that anything we experience in our body, children experience in 10x magnification.
Children, and many adults, are unable to recognize what they’re feeling inside and express it, let alone identify the root cause. With children, this is amplified as they also don’t yet have full emotional modulation. It’s all laid out in the open, often mirroring exactly how we’re feeling.
What does all of this have to do with the best gluten-free zucchini muffin ever? Having a low glycemic, protein- and fat-rich, nutrient-dense snack at the ready, for the times of day you know your little one (or partner, colleague, or you!) are prone to the crashes that can result in reaction-driven behaviour, can prevent a meltdown.
Of course, emotional expression in little ones is totally normally and at times essential. We want them to feel safe and free to fully express themselves how they need to in the moment (while also staying safe of course). However, these explosive emotional expressions could also simply be due to a sugar crash. If you can ensure the blood sugar is balanced, you’ll have a better idea of the true source of what the child is feeling and the magnitude of it in their life.
What’s really interesting is that when we can naturally keep things calmer through diet, lifestyle and mindful habits taught and practiced in young children, it impacts how their brains are physically wired. They can strengthen the synapses that support calmer responses.
Again, all of this applies 100% to fully grown humans. If we can manage our blood sugar and also practice our own mindful habits, our brains can rewire in such a way that we become less reactive and can think more clearly.
It’s incredible how our brains and bodies optimize functionality, cognition, perception and calm response over aggressive reaction when we have the optimal fuel going in, at the right intervals. What are these intervals? Well that depends on you. We’re all different, and have our unique needs. Tuning in with a clear mind is the first key step in determining what works best.
In the meantime, let’s start with this muffin that loads in the good stuff!
Note On Recipe Substitutions and Modifications
I have not tested this recipe in any other way than how it is written. I do not know how it will work if you substitute other flours or make it vegan. If you attempt a variation, it is your experiment. Please be sure to share your results in the comments and we can update the post accordingly.Print
Best Toddler (and Parent!) Approved Gluten-Free Paleo Zucchini Muffins
- Total Time: 32 mins
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
Paleo-friendly, gluten-free zucchini muffin.
- 1 3/4 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
- 2 tsp psyllium powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup raw cacao or Elixir (optional)
- 3/4 cup grated zucchini
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup blueberries and/or dairy-free chocolate chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with unbleached muffin liners.
- In a bowl, combine almond flour, arrowroot starch, psyllium, salt and baking soda and cacao/Elixir if using. Use a fork to ensure dry ingredients are well-combined. Set aside.
- Place zucchini in a sieve or nut milk bag and gently squeeze out about 75% of the moisture. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and eggs. Ensure the mixture is well-combined.
- Pour liquid mixture along with zucchini and chocolate chunks and/or blueberries into the flour mix and with a spoon or spatula combine gently until evenly mixed.
- Transfer mixture by spoon into muffin tin and place in oven.
- Bake for 20–24 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 22 mins
- Category: Snacks
9 responses to “Best Toddler (and Parent!) Approved Gluten-Free Paleo Zucchini Muffins”
The zucchini muffins taste great but way too many calories!!
Hi Susan! In my view, calories have little importance when it comes to eating. I’ve written about this in more detail in this post: https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/how-to-read-nutrition-labels/
My kids, husband and I all love these. Making a triple batch and freezing them worked well. My kids spotted the zucchini when I was making them, but ate them anyway…..they were that good!
Fantastic! Happy that these were a win with everyone in your family.
Thank you for the recipe! I assume the zucchini is not dripped then squeezed of moisture in this one? I do that for my other zucchini baking, but these turnout out dry so I’m thinking I did that wrong…oops. Thank you for confirming. :)
Hi Erin! No, I didn’t squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini in this recipe.
These are delicious and so easy to make. I made one batch with blueberries and another with chocolate chips. Both are excellent! Meghan’s recipes never disappoint.
Hi Meghan, Love these muffins! Can you please share any recommendations on how to make these sugar-free i.e. either using either zero-calorie sweeteners (stevia/monk fruit) or natural sweeteners like dates/bananas/other fruits?
Hi Geeta! There is very little sugar in here, so sometimes we’ll even leave it out of the recipe and it’s still good. I haven’t played around with other sweeteners in this recipe, so my first suggestion would be to leave it out. For fruits, you could try subbing in the maple syrup for fruit puree (banana, applesauce, etc.).