Healthy, Kid-friendly Recipes (+ Cupcakes)

Baking is one of our favorite activities to do as a family. Since we can’t be eating cupcakes everyday, here are some recipes for healthy, sugar-free, high-protein treats, great for on-the-go fuel and group playdates. Most are free of common allergens. We’ve included notes on our favorite variations/substitutions (Enjoy Life dairy/soy-free chocolate chips are a great addition for special occasions and reluctant eaters). Try your own – whatever the result, you’ll have a fun, creative (and always messy) family experience developing math, science, cooking and tasting skills.

Gummy/Jello Treats

gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, high-protein, fruit & veggies
This easy homemade version of Jello Jigglers is a fun, healthy, dairy/nut/gluten-free treat for Valentine’s Day (or any day). Get the benefits of magic ingredient gelatin (high protein, aids digestion, makes skin, nails, & hair strong and gorgeous) without the sugar and junk in the box mixes, plus all the vitamins and antioxidants in the juice.

For my daughter’s preschool’s Valentine’s celebration we made red hearts and a few gummy fish at her request. Get creative with cookie cutters or free form cutting – or even get a gummy bears mold.


2 cups unsweetened juice*
4 tablespoons unflavored, grass-fed gelatin (we like Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin)**


-Pour 1 cup of juice into a bowl and sprinkle all the gelatin over it.
-Pour the remaining juice in a saucepan and put over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat if it starts of boil.
-Whisk the hot juice into the bowl of juice/gelatin until dissolved.
-Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into a 9×13 pan or molds.
-Put the pan in the fridge and wait about 2 hours until set.
-Cut out shapes and carefully remove with a spatula. Will stay firmer if refrigerated.

* We’ve tried pomegranate, grape, pineapple and cherry juice, pureed raspberries (remember to strain out the seeds) and combinations. Experiment for different colors and flavors, just make sure the juice has no added sugar in the ingredients. Sometimes I add some green juice in for extra nutrition. Or honey if I’m facing a tough crowd. Usually the kids love the fun texture and shapes so much they mind some sourness. The gelatin doesn’t change the flavor much, so adjust the juice to taste.

** Use less gelatin for a squishier jello you can eat with a spoon, more gelatin for gummy candy.

Georgie Porgie Pudding

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, fruits & veggies
We discovered this delicious, surprisingly good-for-you dessert at a ‘Minds Your Manners’ tea hosted by Mrs. Wigglesworth, spokeswoman for Georgie Porgie, an adorable vintage-themed line of children’s tableware that encourages manners and nutrition. A fabulous treat for grown-up parties too.

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (use Enjoy Life to keep dairy/soy free)
1/3 cup coconut milk (try to find 100% coconut milk, or almond milk works)
4 very ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into quarters
1/2 cup maple syrup, honey, agave nectar or a combination
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh fruit for garnish if desired (we like raspberries and blueberries)

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl at 50% power in 60-second increments, stirring in between, for about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place remaining ingredients, beginning with the coconut milk, in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed. If pudding seems too thick, thin with additional milk (it will thicken up considerably while chilling). Spoon or pipe using a pastry bag into serving bowls or glasses. Chill for at least 3 hours and up to overnight – best served cold. Add fruit garnish just before serving.

Whole-Wheat Carrot Applesauce Muffins

nut-free, whole grain, fruits & veggies
Get some fruits, veggies and healthy spices in these tasty, portable treats.

Find the full recipe on 100 Days Of Real Food, a blog about a family cutting out processed food that has kid-friendly recipes and great packed lunch ideas.

We’ve substituted maple syrup for honey, coconut oil for the butter to make it dairy-free, and sprinkled chia seeds and flaxseeds on top for some extra omega-3s. Also made it into mini-muffins, halving the cooking time.

Cashew Waffles/Pancakes

gluten-free, dairy-free, high-protein
This nut-based, super easy to make batter can be used for waffles (or pancakes with a little extra almond milk) for quick nutrition-packed breakfasts or easy-to-transport lunches.

Find the full recipe at Against All Grain, a Paleo/grain-free recipe site with tons of yummy inspiration.

We’ve used all cashews and a mix of cashews and pecans, maple syrup instead of honey, and cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice. We usually skip the apple topping and mix in blueberries, goji berries or whatever other fruit we have around. Make pancakes into letters, shapes or Mickey Mouse ears (just three pancakes joined together) for extra appeal (the Tovolo Pancake Pen makes artistic pancakes much easier). Top with greek yogurt or applesauce or make a sandwich with two. Freezes well, just toast to reheat.

Almond Butter Pumpkin Brownies or Blondies

gluten-free, dairy-free, high-protein, fruit & veggies
These treats taste decadent but are free of refined sugar and flour and subtly sneak in the abundant antioxidants and vitamins of winter squash. We’ve also made them into muffins.

1 cup almond butter (or peanut or sunflower seed butter)
1 cup mashed pumpkin or other squash, canned or steamed
1 egg
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar (optional)
For brownies, add 1/4 cup cocoa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Spread into a greased 8 x 8 in pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Best Cupcakes Ever

not good for you but so yummy Sometimes you need the nostalgic magic of sugar, white flour and butter, so here’s a cupcake recipe from Butter Lane bakery for special occasions worth every decadent calorie.