Sugar-Free, Guilt-Free Cinnamon Blueberry Oat Muffins (GF, Vegan)

Ahhhhh, the challenges of eating healthy.

m1

As I’ve said before (annoyingly so by now), my oldest daughter began preschool this week, so I have to send lunch and two snacks with her each day.

This has proven to be a bit unusual to the staff there, as they routinely supply the snacks, and has garnered me a few frowns of displeasure and annoyance.

As the other children dine on the school’s treats, I am loath to have her eat the food that they would serve, some of which includes high sugar fig bars and white flour crackers. I can only imagine how she would come home….itchy, red, moody, and hyperactive.

m2

Despite the fact that in the blog world, many of us adhere to a healthy lifestyle and diet, there are still many closed-minded people out there who, for some reason, almost end up taking your personal choices for yourself or your children, well, personally.

For someone like me, who is already shy and sensitive, this can be a bit distressing. I’m trying to better my child’s health and life, so all I can do is push through it all and do what’s best for Jadie.

m3

While the rest of the children nibble on preservative-filled cheese and sugar-laden gummy snacks, my little girl thoroughly enjoys these luscious, homemade, sugar-free blueberry muffins and is healthier for it!

Sugar-Free Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins (GF, Vegan)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 7 muffins
Ingredients
  • 8 large dates (I used Medjool)
  • ⅓ c. applesauce
  • 2 t. oil (I used olive)
  • ½ c. dairy-free milk
  • ½ t. lemon juice
  • ¾ c. rolled oats
  • ¼ c. brown rice flour
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • ⅛ t. powdered stevia extract
  • ½ c. blueberries (if you use frozen, thaw them prior to adding)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the milk with the lemon juice and set aside for a few minutes.
  3. Process the dates until broken down and they form a ball of paste.
  4. Add in the applesauce and process until mixture is smooth.
  5. Add in the milk mix and process until smooth.
  6. In another bowl, mix the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and stevia.
  7. Add the dry mix into the processor and pulse just until combined.
  8. STIR in the blueberries, don’t process them unless you want blue batter.
  9. Divide the batter among 7-8 muffin cups (be sure they are lined or oiled).
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden.
  11. Cool and enjoy!
Notes
Nutrition facts are based on using olive oil and unsweetened almond milk. Weight Watchers points (new system): 3
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/7 of recipe Calories: 106 Fat: 2.3 g Saturated fat: 0 g Unsaturated fat: 2.3 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 20.6 g Sugar: 8.4 g Sodium: 125 mg Fiber: 2.5 g Protein: 2 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

Adapted from this recipe

My daughter is really picky when it comes to muffins, but she just loves these!

m4

The use of dates creates a soft, sweet, and rich density, while the applesauce holds them together without the use of eggs.

Though the amount of oil is minute, I would suggest adding it. I tried this recipe without it, and I noticed a difference that wasn’t positive. If you’re determined to make them fat-free, perhaps yogurt would work!

Have you ever felt like you’ve been treated differently because of a health or food choice?

Having been extremely allergenic the last 10 years, I’ve had to deal with insensitive people quite a bit, whether it be altering orders at restaurants or explaining to professors that I can’t attend a class due to the smell of someone’s perfume. To be fair, there are those who are sympathetic, and they are the ones that make living for someone like me a lot easier.

 

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Comments: 26

  1. Heather Holmes January 17, 2014 at 7:44 am Reply

    These are going to be great! WE LOVE THE SKINNY BANANA BREAD!! We make it two loaves at a time! I personally think its awesome you care so much about your preschooler its to bad more people dont care as much as you do! Thanks for helping us out with these low fuss high health creations of yours! I feel a cookbook in your near future..we’d buy it!

    • Lauren January 17, 2014 at 8:43 am Reply

      Hah, thanks so much Heather! You made my morning!…and I’m so happy you enjoy the banana bread. :-)

  2. Shannon @ moveeatcreate.com January 17, 2014 at 8:31 am Reply

    I think it’s so great that you do this for your child, though I’m quite sorry you feel the pushback from others. I don’t have kids, but I can tell you that I often get pushback from people about my dietary choices (gluten free, plant based, generally free of super processed foods) and it’s never easy for me. While I have learned what to say and how to say it, it always feels uncomfortable and sometimes I find myself lingering with righteous anger or hurt feelings for a day. It’s nice to know others are out there doing it, too – maybe it’ll get easier some day!
    Shannon @ moveeatcreate.com recently posted..2013: A Look Back At Some of My HighlightsMy Profile

    • Lauren January 17, 2014 at 8:46 am Reply

      Thanks Shannon! I’m hoping as more people change their diets for health reasons or weight loss, true healthy eating will become even more mainstream. Though I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, it’s nice to see that you understand what I mean!

  3. Amanda January 17, 2014 at 8:55 am Reply

    That’s terrible that you’re getting not-so-supportive feedback from the preschool staff. Stay strong! You know your daughter best, and allergies or not, serving kids processed junk food is a shame. My mom is actually a preschool teacher and she’s often horrified at the food parents send with their kids. She even has children with clear food intolerances whose parents refuse to make dietary changes. It’s really unfortunate that some people are so set in their (unhealthy) ways.
    Amanda recently posted..Go-To Meal: Savory OatsMy Profile

    • Lauren January 17, 2014 at 9:21 am Reply

      I was just noticing yesterday the crap that some kids were eating! It’s awesome that your mom is so aware though. Too bad she’s not in Tucson! :-)

  4. marquis @realrawkitchen January 17, 2014 at 9:23 am Reply

    These looks absolutely delicious. And I love that they are actually healthy. A lot of times I feel like muffin recipes are “healthy” options but still loaded with so much. These look dense and delicious. I am traveling this weekend so they may be a perfect travel snack!

    And I really admire you being committed to your child’s health. I’m really shy and have thin skin as well so it gets so uncomfortable when I receive a lot of questions, snarky comments, and overall insensitivity to me decisions.. I can only imagine what it’s like with a child! I feel like when it comes to children everyone feels like they are experts and therefore feel like it’s their duty to say something. But you’re absolutely right to take charge and what’s strange to me is that there is a lot of research coming out saying that diet is absolutely related to “ADHD”, no questions about it (duh), yet there isn’t a shift in the way we feed our children, yet.

    haha anyway.. this is a topic that really gets me going so I’m very happy to read this post :)
    marquis @realrawkitchen recently posted..RECIPE: strawberry shortcake parfaitMy Profile

    • Lauren January 17, 2014 at 9:45 am Reply

      Thanks so much Marquis! I too often find ‘muffin’ recipes that qualify more as cupcakes, haha.

      It does seem as though everyone is an expert when it comes to how you’re raising your child or what you’re writing on your own blog, so I can relate to you that it can be frustrating and hard not to tell those people off. Thanks for your sweet comment! :-)

  5. Matt @ Runner Savvy January 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm Reply

    Looks delicious!

  6. […] See on Scoop.it – My Vegan recipesSee on http://www.oatmealwithafork.com […]

  7. Mary @ Fit and Fed January 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm Reply

    Hi Lauren, I’m glad that I was able to feed my children most of their snacks as preschoolers. I think it helped their food preferences stay toward healthy food– just one step of many along that path, from breastfeeding to serving healthy food at home (but with no pressure) to modeling trying new foods myself. My children are all grown now. If yours will be in regular school I’m sure this is just the first step of many you will go through with the food. Sadly, in many classrooms parents aren’t even allowed to bring homemade snacks for treats for the children (due to fears about allergy ingredients I suppose).
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Cooking for my Mom, Gluten, Dairy, and Soy FreeMy Profile

    • Lauren January 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm Reply

      That’s great that you were able to help your children in that way Mary. You sound as conscientious as myself. Yikes, about the schools! I sure hope that’s not the case here! It’s scary the amount of control we seem to be losing in our lives each day.

  8. Angie@Angie's Recipes January 18, 2014 at 9:27 pm Reply

    I am not kidding that I had to bring my own food to the family X’mas dinner..well, I just can’t eat things loaded with sugar and unhealthy fat. Your family lucky having you preparing healthy and delicious meals for them.
    These blueberry muffins look wholesome, Lauren. Love your blog and I will definitely visit often.
    Happy Sunday!
    Angie
    Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Avocado Milk Chocolate Mousse TartletsMy Profile

  9. Angie@Angie's Recipes January 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm Reply

    Is the Stevia powder you used here a pure extract or a mixture? I have pure stevia extract (300 times sweeter than sugar), stevia liquid (250 times sweeter) and a mixture which is just 10 times sweeter…which one I should use if I am going to make a batch of these delicious muffins?
    Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Avocado Milk Chocolate Mousse TartletsMy Profile

    • Lauren January 19, 2014 at 9:16 am Reply

      Hi Angie! Thank you for your sweet comments! I use a pure stevia extract, no fillers or other additives. :-) Hope that helps!!

  10. Gabby @ the veggie nook January 19, 2014 at 8:34 am Reply

    YUM! When I get my hands on some more blueberries I am totally going to try these! Stay strong and fight for what you believe in! Your commitment to your daughter’s health is amazing and it will be worth the fight!
    Gabby @ the veggie nook recently posted..cranberry peanut butter granola cookiesMy Profile

    • Lauren January 19, 2014 at 9:15 am Reply

      Thanks so much Gabby! :-)

  11. dina January 20, 2014 at 9:48 am Reply

    i love healthy treats. they look great!
    dina recently posted..North Carolina State Farmers’ Market RestaurantMy Profile

  12. Sienna January 21, 2014 at 11:02 am Reply

    Oh my! These mouthwatering muffins look so delicious!
    One question: Did you use whole, rolled (flakes) or steel cut oats?

    Thanks for this recipe :D

    • Lauren January 21, 2014 at 11:05 am Reply

      Thanks Sienna! I used whole, rolled oats, sorry if that’s unclear. I’ll amend it asap. :)

      • Sienna January 21, 2014 at 11:44 am Reply

        Okay thanks! Another question: If I want to use whole wheat flour instead of brown rice flour, how many cups shall I use? When using rice flour you need more liquid, so do I need to cut down on milk or applesauce?
        Thanks again!

        • Lauren January 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm Reply

          You could just substitute the same amount of whole wheat flour, so 1/4 cup. :)

  13. amber January 21, 2014 at 11:39 am Reply

    Lauren. I am in the SAME boat my friend. I make Ethan’s snack everyday for preschool! I am the only mother who does this. They eat a “community” meal and so a table of 4 or 5 kiddos get a big tray of the same food and they all share. This was BEYOND distressing for me when Ethan started. I couldn’t sleep the first night. Even though the school was fine with me providing his own food, I was so afraid of Ethan feeling left out or different. And I soon discovered they don’t serve very healthy food anyway, so I am fine with bringing my own for him. It’s a coop school (only 3 hours M – Th). And I love it. It’s mandatory to volunteer once a week and we have a bunch of classes to attend and weekends where we clean the school, stuff like that. It’s a small school (only 17 kids in his class – Per-K) and I just really love it. Love the kids and the parents are great. Dare I say many of them are inspired by my daily creations. Like when the snack is Oreo cookies (blah) I am up the night before making him a gluten free, dairy free, refined/cane-sugar free HEALTHY alternative, and many of the parents are intrigued by what I bring in. Oh, and his school is also tree nut/peanut free, so I have to modify some of my good-to recipes. But at first I felt like an outcast and wondered if others were judging me. One night all the parents had a meeting/get to know you gathering, and we shared our families and our “story.” I shared Ethan’s journey from severe head-to-toe eczema at 4 months old to remission at 4 years old (healing with 100% diet and homemade remedies). I also shared my health issues with Lupus and Crohns and my diet/alternative eating. Now parents come up to me and ask me about this or that, diet stuff, food stuff, health stuff. I also shared my blog with the parents in case they were interested in learning more about me and our family (or to check out my recipes).

    I now feel empowered and feel like it’s a safe place for me to just be US, you know. But the first few weeks were difficult. I am lucky too in that Ethan only knows an alternative diet – he only eats gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, soy free foods. And he is fine with what I make him and fine passing on the foods offered there (he never cries or feels left out). But I always try to provide the same food (but healthier). We don’t make a big deal about food, so I think that helps too. I will be glad though when he starts kindergarten in this fall. I don’t have to worry about this community eating and I can send him to school with all his healthy food! :-)

    Lauren, you’re not alone my sweet friend. You’re an amazing mother and your children are so lucky to have you and eat all your yummy, healthy creations!!! Keep it up and don’t let the haters bring you down (ha ha). Hold your head high and be proud of being educated in healthy foods and making the best choice for your family.

    Hugs,
    –Amber
    amber recently posted..Avocado Grapefruit Hemp Smoothie (full of protein and nutrients)My Profile

    • Lauren January 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Amber! I’ve felt the same way with not wanting Jadie to feel left out, but there’s really no alternative. I’m not in contact with any other parents, but it would be nice to have had the experience with them like you did. Why do you not live here??

      Thank you so much again for your thoughtful comment. It really helps to hear others’ experiences, and I just really appreciate your input. :)

  14. Sheila February 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm Reply

    Can I substitute almond flour for the brown rice flour?

    • Lauren February 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm Reply

      I would think it would work, though I’ve not tried it. :)

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