Healthy Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins

Every parent needs a few kid friendly muffin recipes up their sleeve. They’re great for picky eaters, good for baby-led weaning and are useful when you’re on the go.

These are sugar free (apart from the natural sugar in the orange and banana), dairy free, soy free, really easy to make and are delicious too. I remember being shocked to learn as a student that the average coffee shop lemon and poppy seed muffin has as many calories as a slice of cake. These taste a lot like the coffee shop muffins you love, but with a fraction of the sugar.

Dairy free soy free poppy seed muffins for toddler kids picky eaters and baby-led weaning

Poppy seeds are such a good source of calcium that poppy seed muffins seem like a no-brainer for dairy free kids. However, it has taken me some time to be able to start experimenting with this recipe. Food and olfactory memories are strong and the smell of lemon and poppy seed muffins takes me back to being in hospital with Little Goat.

It was the second time he had been admitted to the children’s ward due to the degree and severity of his vomiting and choking episodes. The first time he was monitored for 24 hours but we left with a diagnosis of “likely gastroenteritis” and a promise that they’d be in touch with the results of the various tests they’d done (having blood tests, x-rays, heart scans and the multiple other tests he had to endure on a baby that is a few weeks old is not something I’d wish upon anyone).

We were called back to A&E within a few days for more tests, but we were allowed to go home, this time with a diagnosis of GORD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) and a prescription for a range of medications. We were also assigned a speech a language therapist who came to observe Little Goat at home. After her second visit she had severe concerns about his choking episodes and we once again received a call from the A&E paediatrician telling us to return to A&E immediately. Little Goat had to go through a range of tests again and was readmitted to the children’s ward.

Two years on and I still find it too difficult to recount the two days we spent in hospital - I’ll have to tackle that in a future post. However, what I will focus on is the muffins! We didn’t yet have a diagnosis of CMPA, but based on the reading I’d done I suspected it might be part of the problem and had cut dairy out of my diet. This meant the hospital canteen couldn’t cater for me (although I was impressed that they cater for breastfeeding mothers on the children’s ward) - so Stew had to go on the hunt for food to keep me going. He focused so much on getting something that I could eat that he forgot completely about himself. By the time he got back with a selection of things for me everything around the hospital was closed - the only place open was the hospital’s Muffin Break - and they were having a “buy 2 get 2 free” special. Needless to say he came back with four huge muffins - most of them lemon and poppy seed. The little hospital room we were in smelled strongly of those muffins for the duration of our stay and that smell still takes me straight back there where we lived through two of the hardest days of our lives.

I’ve had to adapt these slightly so they are orange and poppy seed rather than lemon - the smell of orange changes them enough for me. Little Goat will eat as many of these as are on offer so doesn’t seem to have any of the same strong memories, for which I am incredibly grateful.

Orange and poppy seed muffins healthy and easy recipe for dairy free toddler and dairy free kids snacks


Healthy Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins

Makes: 12 small muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 2 small bananas (~180g)

  • Juice of 2 medium oranges (~85ml)

  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds (10g)

  • ¼ cup oil (rapeseed works well)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 ⅓ cup light spelt flour (you can use plain or brown flour if you prefer)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

  • Mash the bananas

  • Add the orange juice and oil to the bananas

  • Whisk the eggs, then add the banana, orange mixture and beat well

  • Add the poppy seeds, flour and baking powder and mix until just combined

  • Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes

Convenience Tip

  • These freeze reasonably well (although nothing beats fresh from the oven) - so you can put them in a freezer bag to take out as needed.