I love making healthy muffins. They are one of my favorite things to bake.
A single-serving muffin, the size of one you would make at home in a standard 12-cup muffin pan, can fit into a healthy eating plan, especially if it's packed with nutritious ingredients like whole-wheat flour, flax, fruit, nuts and eggs.
You can't say the same for those giant muffins being served up in bakeries and coffee shops. It was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
All through college I ate tons of Dunkin' Donuts Bran Muffins. When I started working full time I would buy the big packs of gigantic muffins at Costco, individually wrap them and store them in the freezer for a quick breakfast on the run. I had no idea how fattening they were.
It was only a few years later I discovered the terrible truth. Ttired of yo-yo dieting, I headed off to Weight Watchers and began to understand how the foods I was eating, like gigantic muffins and bagels, were contributing to my weight battles.
That's when I began exploring ways to eat better and cook healthier. And my passion for making healthy muffins was born.
In the beginning, during the low fat craze, I was overzealous. I would often remove all the fat from muffin recipes. Substituting egg whites for eggs and applesauce for fat. But I ended up with muffins that were dry and tasteless with a rubbery texture. As I've gotten older I've decided that life is too short to eat foods that don't taste good!
So, I've learned to take the path of moderation when making healthy muffins. Lightening them without sacrificing flavor.
Here Are My Favorite Tips for Making Heathy Muffins
- Decrease the fat, but not completely. Usually just ¼ cup of butter or oil per batch is enough to keep your muffins moist and tender.
- Use whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour. They are much lighter than regular whole-wheat flour while retaining the healthy antioxidant-rich bran and germ.
- Use healthy omega-3 rich nuts such as walnuts or almonds in reasonable amounts.
- Substitute ½ cup unsweetened applesauce or some other fruit or vegetable puree for ½ cup of oil. This will increase the nutrition, moisture, tenderness and natural sweetness of your healthier muffins.
- Look for recipes that include ground flax, another great source of omega-3 fats.
- Low fat buttermilk and yogurt are great ingredients when making healthy muffins. They add tenderness and moisture to baked goods.
- Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups. It's much faster and neater.
Do you have a favorite tip for making healthy muffins?
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