My favorite fall muffins + protein for school lunches and snacks

Yesterday morning, just before the sun came up, we had a mini storm. It was just a little rain. Just a little thunder and lightening. Just enough to make everything smell fresh for just a little while. I knew it wouldn't last and I knew that it would still be 90+ degrees later on, but I was still tempted to put on a fuzzy sweater.

For now, the forecast remains steady at 90-something degrees for days. As always, though, I am a little sad to see summer go. Not the heat so much as the feeling of freedom and the way that the open agenda urges us to spend more time playing instead of have-to-ing. Fall, though, is cozy and spiced, roasted and stewed, served in a bowl. I am ready to indulge in that (and wear my new, perfectly navy blue, wrappy sweater) too!

This was my first grader's third week of school and packing his lunch has been a little bit of a challenge, though not in the way that I expected. I know there are tons of resources out there to show me how to create virtual habitats with animals made from veggies or little love notes that can be slipped in between containers. My issue is simpler than that. My son has 15 minutes or less to eat his entire lunch before his class is sent out to play. He is more likely to dawdle and daydream than to focus and eat quickly.

Muffins are one of my favorite vehicles for all kinds of nutritious things. I make them low in sugar and add protein to make them extra filling (and to get more calories into a small package for my kids). I also add fruits or even veggies and use whole grain flours in the mix. Here are my favorite muffins for fall with some notes on adding protein to help make them a good choice for lunch boxes and snacks!

1. Kid-tested pumpkin muffins (click through for recipe) 

pumpkin muffins.jpg

2. Cranberry tangerine muffins (click through for recipe)

cranberry tangerine muffins.jpg

3. Pumpkin cranberry "scuffins" (click through for recipe)

pumpkin cranberry scuffin.jpg

4. Spiced maple muffins (click through for recipe)

spiced maple muffins.jpg

Notes on protein: Two of these recipes call for protein powder. You can replace 1/4 cup of flour in the other recipes with protein powder, if you wish. I like Sun Warrior "natural" flavor but you can use your powder of choice. If you prefer not to use protein powders, you can increase the protein content of these muffins by placing the wet ingredients in a blender and adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw almonds and blending until smooth before adding to the dry ingredients. If you choose not to use protein powder in the recipes that call for it, replace the powder with flour in the same amount.

Check out the Get Natured recipes page for more muffins!


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