Banana Flax Chocolate Chip Muffins (Healthy, Gluten-Free Snacks for Kids)


You know something?  Getting a whole family of five to cut down on gluten is not an easy feat.  None of us have gluten tolerance issues, but it’s been my mission for a while now to have everyone cut down on it.  For me, it’s fairly easy as I have to eat a certain way for my health.  But the kids and my husband have always been reliant on gluten-filled foods to fuel them through their day.  And I find myself at a loss sometimes of what to make for them that doesn’t contain gluten.  School lunches are often sandwiches because let’s face it, that’s the easiest thing to make.  At breakfast, they clamour for toast or cereal.  Snacks?   I offer fruit, they want crackers.  I do my best to moderate these things, and overall I think I do a pretty good job.  But there are definitely times when I rely on breads and crackers and cereal to feed my kids.  They are whole grain version, naturally, but I still would like to see them all eating less of those gluten-y items.

A large part of the problem in getting my family to cut down on gluten is that the kids’ schools are all nut free.  For my own dietary restrictions, I rely heavily on nut flours, and the kids are often more than happy to eat many of my creations.  But I can’t send these things into school with them.  So when I decided I wanted to make them some healthy but delicious gluten free muffins for school snacks, I knew I had to rethink my approach.  Yes, I know I could have gone and bought some gluten free flour blend, but that really isn’t my MO.  I like to experiment and create these things on my own.  I fail miserably sometimes, but that makes every success that much sweeter.

I wanted these to be really nutritious, and I decided that the base would be flax seed meal.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I was low on this ingredient and had only about 1 cup left in the house.  I needed another nut-free flour to fill in the gaps, but what to use?  I considered coconut flour, but that always uses so many eggs and I didn’t have enough.  Soy flour is something I am trying to avoid, what with all the bad press about soy products.  Then I remembered the oat flour I’d purchased a while ago.  I haven’t yet used it in any of my low carb recipes, since it is not particularly low carb.  But since these muffins were purely for my kids, and were going to have bananas and chocolate chips in them anyway, they weren’t meant to be low carb.  So I decided to give the oat flour a chance.

The Results:  It’s always a bit of a gamble when working with a new gluten free ingredient.  I can never be sure how it will behave and how many eggs or wet ingredients to add. But I nailed it on the first try this time and the kids loved them.  Loved them so much, in fact, that one of my kid requested them for dessert that very same day.  I kept the sugar to a minimum because I knew that the banana and the chocolate chips would add a fair amount of sweetness.  Next time, I might forego the sugar altogether and just sweeten with stevia.  Regardless, these were a wonderful, healthy treat and completely nut free so I could send them in school lunches.  I will be making these again soon!

Banana Flax Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup flax meal
1 cup oat flour (GF)
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup sugar or equivalent sweetener of choice
1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw or equivalent sweetener of choice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 milk
1 cup sugar-free chocolate chips, such as Lily’s 

Preheat oven to 325F and line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flax meal, oat flour, protein powder, sweeteners, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum.

Add bananas, eggs, melted butter and milk and stir vigorously until well-combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.  Bake 20 to 24 minutes, or until tops are set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan.

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  1. says

    You have to be commended for all of your efforts. My mom has a horrible nut allergy and I understand the restrictions but it certainly cause additional problems for others. The muffins look delicious.

  2. says

    They look lovely, and I like the mix of colors in them! I'd definitely request one for my own dessert too :-)
    And great job trying to reduce that gluten!

  3. says

    Love these, Carolyn! Hey when I click through to your posts from my Reader it takes me to a mobile version of your posts…and on mobile layouts you can only comment through Blogger. When I had comments disappear a few montgs ago I emailed cs at Intense Debate. They were very helpful and suggested I turn off the mobile version so that dorsn't happen again. According to them they have tried to work with Google on fixing the problem but Google didn't want to. :( Just fyi. Anyway love the muffins! And so pretty!

  4. says

    Nut-free schools? Carolyn, I don't know how you do it, coping with all of it but as ever you come up trumps. These muffins look wonderful. Haven't popped in for so long to admire your work but still loving it! You're an amazing lady!

  5. says

    Sounds really great!! I will definitely have to try them. To have a totally nut-free school would be so hard. I teach, and wouldn't be able to survive through the day without my trail mix snack!

  6. says

    The nut-free restriction sounds like a very challenging aspect to getting the kids lunches and snacks for school! I don't know what I'd eat if I had to go by that, actually:-) These muffins sound delicious and don't look like you would miss any gluten!

  7. says

    I can only imagine it is hard to get everyone to eat gluten free…..BUT with your treats, I would think everyone would be running to the kitchen:-) I have been on a mission to find healthy treats to travel with, I get tired of the same old, same old. These look delicious:-) Hugs, Terra

  8. says

    These better be for adults too 😉 I am curious though, as to your low gluten / gluten free desires. I would love to hear your thoughts on it some time if you wanted to do a post on the topic. I know some people who are like you and aren't gluten intolerant but want to avoid it; I have never followed their reasoning and will confess to liking gluten containing products too much!

  9. Katrina112 says

    Yummy! I feel sudden hunger after I saw the photos. Banana flax is oh so yummy, hope I know how to bake so that I can taste it.VZ 58

  10. says

    These sound great! I think they're perfect for adults too :) I love being able to eat a healthy muffin in the morning, I've been trying to cut back on my gluten consumption too and these look awesome for my morning. I need to buy some more flax, love them in your muffins!

  11. Ditamac says

    Did you figure out the carb counts on these muffins. They look terrific an HEALTHY. I would appreciate knowing the counts if possible. Thanks for all your great recipes.

  12. food_dreamer says

    Hi Kari…there's just a lot of research out there these days that suggests that wheat products, particularly modern wheat that has been so genetically modified, is bad for ALL of us, not just celiacs and diabetics. I don't want to eliminate it entirely for my family, but cut down on it.


    Blog: All Day I Dream About Food

  13. Bev says

    Thanks for a great recipe. Was wondering if could substitute coconut oil for butter and almond milk for milk (to make it lactose-free)? Would love to see nutritional info too, would be a great help…

  14. Baleny says

    Hi- These look wonderful. My fiance and I are super carb conscious and LOVE your site. Any idea how many carbs/fiber in this recipe?

  15. Deborah says

    I don’t have oat flour – if I subbed in almond flour, would that work? Have 2 ripe bananas waiting to be mashed and would love to make something healthy for my son to eat for breakfast. He’s been eating your zucchini muffins over the past week, so I think I’m on a winning streak… thanks!

  16. Deborah says

    Wanted to let you know that I did sub in the almond flour for the oat flour and the muffins came out great! I also subbed almond milk for regular milk and used 1/2 cup erythritol and 1/8 tsp of stevia. I don’t know how many carbs you can eat, but I worked out that the bananas only add 4g of carbs per muffin, so if you make this with almond flour and low-carb chocolate chips, you could easily eat these yourself and not just make them for the kids!

    • Carolyn says

      Great info, Deborah! Thank you. I don’t make these with almond flour mostly because I cant’ send ANY nuts to school with my kids. If I want these to go to school, it’s got to be another flour. Frustrating at times.

    • Carolyn says

      I’d cut back on the coconut flour…maybe 1/3 cup. Then add more eggs at the end when you see the consistency. But that sounds about right, two more eggs.

  17. Cathy says

    These are great! I substituted coconut oil for the butter and almond milk for the milk, and they turned out fine.

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