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Tips for Making a Healthy Muffin

Posted May 15 2008 11:04am

Commercially prepared muffins can be real diet disasters. More cake than muffin, they are usually huge (3 to 4 servings) high in calories, and full of unhealthy ingredients. A single-serving muffin, the size of one you would make at home in a standard 12 cup muffin tin, can fit into a healthy eating plan, especially if it’s packed with nutritious ingredients like whole-wheat flour, flax, fruit, nuts and eggs.

But it’s important to not go overboard in your desire to create healthier baked goods, or else you can end up with muffins that are dry, tasteless or rubbery.

So, if you enjoy muffins for breakfast, use these tips and strategies to whip up a mightier muffin. Be forewarned, a standard size homemade muffin may seem skimpy if you are used to eating the jumbo version. A generous eater myself, I was shocked when I began learning about portion control. (Thank you Weight Watchers) Did you know an English muffin is considered two servings of bread? (Let’s not even talk about a serving of pasta!) These will be a bit heavier and less sweet than the typical bakery muffin too.

Tips for Making Mighty Muffins

  • Decrease the fat, but not completely. Usually just 1/4 cup of butter or oil per batch is enough to keep your muffins moist and tender.
  • Use whole wheat pastry flour. It’s much lighter than regular whole-wheat flour while retaining the healthy antioxidant-rich bran and germ. King Arthur white wheat flour is a great choice.
  • Use healthy omega-3 rich nuts such as walnuts or almonds.
  • Substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or some other fruit or vegetable puree for 1/2 cup of oil. This will increase the nutrition, moisture, tenderness and natural sweetness of your mightier muffins.
  • Look for recipes that include ground flax, another great source of omega-3 fats.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups. It’s much faster and neater.

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