Keeping fresh and healthy snacks on hand can be challenging no matter where you live, but particularly so in the land of croissants, cheese, pastries and chocolate!  There seem to be bakeries every 10 feet in Geneva, tempting all passers-by with their delicious smells and window displays.

Muffins were a go-to snack when I was living in the US, but when my husband and I moved to Switzerland I quickly discovered that the muffins in the bakeries here were too sweet – even more cloying than a cupcake!  With the arrival of a baby, now toddler, the call for quick and healthy snacks became louder.  What to do?  In short: Get some healthy ingredients, some oven mitts, and head to the kitchen.

Earlier this week, at the For the Love of Baking meeting (one of the AIWC’s brand-new activities), I was able to share some ideas on healthy muffins and baking with a wonderful group of Club members.  They were attentive listeners as I demonstrated making a batch of Banana Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins with Flax and Chia Seed (recipe posted below).

These muffins are moist, flavorful, and a great source of healthy fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 oils, protein and lignans.  What a great pairing with tea or coffee:


Handouts for the presentation, which can be found on the AIWC bulletin boards and inside our activity binder:


As the muffins were baking in the Club’s oven, our group examined a table heaping with healthy ingredients like chia seed, flax seed/meal, dried cane sugar, wheat germ, nuts, berries, seeds and quinoa and oat flakes.  All of these ingredients can be found in Geneva or neighboring France, at stores like Urban Bio, Coop, Migros (for the flax seed) and La Vie Saine (in Annemasse).


The finished result!  Delicious, convenient, and best of all, healthy!


The baked goodies from For the Love of Baking can always be enjoyed at the next morning’s Welcome Coffee, always the second Wednesday of the month from 10:00 – 12:00.

Banana, Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins with Flax and Chia Seed

These muffins are extremely wholesome, lightly sweetened by banana and natural sugar. This recipe is adapted from Sophiegirl517’s submission to http://www.allrecipes.com.

Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes (start checking at 20 or 22 minutes), Servings: 18


1 cup rolled oats (flacons d’avoine)

1 cup whole wheat flour (farine complete)

1 tbs. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ cup sucanat or (sucre canne complete)

2 eggs (or egg whites)

1tsp vanilla extract

3 tbs butter (softened to room temperature) or vegetable oil

½ cup milk

½ cup plain or Greek yogurt

3 tbs. flax seed meal

4 tbs. chia seed

2 ripe bananas

1 grated zucchini

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (205 degrees C.), line muffin tin with paper liners or lightly coat with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

  1. In a bowl, soak oats in milk, yogurt, cinnamon and sucanat.
  2. Add two bananas (mashed), grated zucchini, vanilla and eggs.
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, flax seed meal and chia seed.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix until just blended.  Fill cups 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy.

*possible add-ins:  seed mixtures, ground or chopped almonds/nuts, wheat germ, nut butters.  Be creative! Muffin recipes are very forgiving!

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.