The holidays are a time for family, celebrations, and snacking on treats. How can we offset holiday sweets with good nutrition? Begin with healthy, easy-to-make, homemade muffins. Store-bought muffins are loaded with saturated fat, sugar, artificial colors, and flavors. Homemade muffins are easy to make and perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen.
Begin the day strong with muffins made with whole ingredients such as whole wheat flour, flaxseed, or wheat bran for extra flavor and fiber. Increase the nutrition ratio by fortifying with protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Update your favorite recipes by substituting or adding the following to your original recipe:
White flour: Substitute all or half of the white flour for whole wheat flour to increase fiber and trace minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
More fiber: Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or nuts for extra fiber, flavor, and healthy fatty acid boost.
Fortifying batter: Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite protein powder.
Make simple substitutions to traditional family recipes to deliver a nutritional boost without sacrificing flavor. Adding ingredients such as dried fruit (e.g. prunes or apricots) or freshly grated apple will provide a natural sweetness. Create more festive flavors by adding orange zest, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or nutmeg to the batter.
Bite-size muffins might be more appealing to little ones. Use a mini-muffin pan and colored cupcake papers to create a more celebratory look. Below is an example of a healthy recipe with a holiday edge using whole ingredients and seasonal spices!
Good Morning, Glory Muffins
2 cups grated carrot
1 large apple peeled and grated
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax meal
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place grated carrot and apple together in a bowl and toss. Set aside. Mix together flours, flax, sugar, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. Tossing the nuts and raisins in with the dry ingredients stops them from sinking to the bottom. Whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Blend wet and dry ingredients and stir in the grated carrot and apple. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Makes a dozen medium sized muffins.
Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, MS, RD
Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company
Image and Recipe Contributed by Sweet Potato Chronicles