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Eat: Healthy Fruit Muffins

Eat: Healthy Fruit Muffins


By Hillary Graves

Cooking with children is great for building their maths skills, nutritional knowledge and confidence—plus it can get them to venture beyond pizza and spag bol. West Londoner Hillary Graves, founder of the healthy children’s food range Little Dish, has written a family cookbook to encourage parents to bring kids into the kitchen. Here she shares her top five tips for cooking as a family, plus one of her favourite recipes to make with little ones.

Tips for Cooking with Kids

  1. A little preparation can help things go smoothly. Talk about the recipe and then divide up the jobs so everyone has something important, fun and age-appropriate to do.
  1. Simple jobs are often the most fun for little ones. Put them in charge of finding ingredients or cooking utensils, rinsing vegetables, mashing potatoes, squeezing lemons and sprinkling herbs and spices.
  1. Taste along the way. Trying new flavours and ingredients will keep enthusiasm and energy levels high, and encourage children to eat the finished product.
  1. Celebrate when children learn a new skill. You can download a free copy of the Little Dish little chef’s skills chart HERE
  1. Relax and have fun. It may get a bit messy but give little ones plenty of freedom to be creative—it’s the best way to make sure they enjoy cooking and want to help out again and again.

Now try this kid-friendly recipe:

FruitMuffins - Little Dish

Healthy Fruit Muffins

These muffins are best eaten the day they are made, especially when they are warm from the oven. Children can help add fruit to the batter, stir the ingredients, and scoop into the muffin tin. Leftovers freeze well and can be defrosted for an after-school snack. Makes 12 muffins.


Butter or cooking spray for greasing

125g white spelt flour

60g wholemeal spelt flour

60g rolled oats

40g brown sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 eating apple, chopped (skin left on)

200g fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all work well)

2 medium free-range eggs

175ml full-fat or semi-skim milk

40g butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/gas mark 5. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then stir in the fruit.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then stir in the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together, being careful not to over-mix. Using an ice cream scoop, evenly distribute the mixture into the greased tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked in the middle and a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Tip: To freeze, transfer the cooled muffins to an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.

Originally from New York, Hillary Graves lives in Notting Hill with her husband and two sons, ages 6 and 8. She set up Little Dish when she was expecting her first child and noticed that no one was making proper, healthy and convenient meals for children. Two cookbooks followed, most recently The Little Dish Family Cookbook.

Photo credit: Rosie Hallam

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