Cooking up Change for the Holidays

December 09, 2011 | Written By:

Today we’re sharing HSC Media and Outreach Specialist Brittany Wright’s adaptation of student-designed sweet potato muffins from Cooking up Change! The healthy treat was created by the student team from Jacksonville as part of their healthy school lunch, which won first place in the national healthy cooking contest. Thanks to the Jacksonville team for sharing their recipe!

By no means am I a skilled chef; I aspire to be a decent amateur home cook. So when I tried this amazing recipe, I had to share my excitement! It was not only a pleasure to taste these student-created muffins at the national competition earlier this year, but I was also honored to meet the young culinary talents behind the recipe.This fall, the students of the Cooking up Change Jacksonville team met First Lady Michelle Obama, who commended their efforts to promote healthy eating!

CUC_sweet potatoesAs Thanksgiving approached, I endeavored to take on my grandmother’s recipes while literally bringing something new to the table. I consciously chose to provide a healthy treat since several of my family members have health issues. 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest called sweet potatoes “a nutritional All-Star,” because they are filled with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. Unsweetened applesauce would provide the needed moisture and add a naturally sweet taste.

I was quite impressed by the result. I followed the recipe to the letter and had no major issues outside of a hand cramp from mashing the sweet potatoes!

Our oven is not calibrated correctly, so my muffins didn’t rise properly. Trust me when I say, no one cared!

My favorite part of baking the muffins was the smell of the brown sugar, nutmeg, and sweet potato mixture.

I added a light maple syrup on some, but most of my family was fine eating the muffins plain! I'd also recommend fat-free whipped cream as a topping.

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I hope that this recipe can become a holiday menu staple in the years to come. I recommend you give the pie crust a break and give these muffins a try!

I can’t wait for the Cooking up Change competition next year to get healthy, great-tasting ideas from talented youth. It is inspiring to see young teens like Denver, Alexus, and Leoniqua from the Jacksonville team contributing wonderful creations.

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To learn more about Cooking up Change, please visit You can stay up to date on the latest contest news on our blog. 

Be sure to check out some of the other healthy recipes and snacks featured on our blog.

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