If you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ve probably heard that you should cut out muffins, sweet breads and other baked-good favorites. And we hate have to tell you, but there is sound reasoning to support this advice: a muffin from your local coffee shop is typically loaded with excess calories, added sugars and sodium, with little nutritional bang for your buck — not necessarily the best way to start your morning. A typical blueberry muffin, for example, has approximately 450 calories, most of which come from sugars (38 grams) and simple carbohydrates (71 grams). Muffins marketed as “reduced fat” are not much better — they tend to be equivalent in calories, but with even more sugar and sodium than their full-fat counterparts.
So, what’s a muffin-lover to do? Easy — just bake them yourself! We’ve rounded up a list of seven delicious, better-for-you muffin recipes made from whole ingredients. They’re rich in complex carbohydrates, so pair them with a source of protein and healthy fats such as nut butters, hummus or a scrambled egg.
Coconut-Carrot Morning Glory Muffins (186 calories, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
Brighten up your day with this creative muffin made from two of our fave flavors — carrots and coconut! This recipe sneaks almost an entire serving of fruits and vegetables into each muffin in the form of shredded carrots, applesauce and raisins, providing an impressive 63 percent of your vitamin A and three grams of dietary fiber in every serving.
Lemon Cranberry Muffins (187 calories, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
If you’re a fan of fruit tarts, these lemon cranberry muffins are going to be your jam! This recipe uses white whole wheat flour to replace refined flour for a boost of added fiber, as well as nonfat plain yogurt to get that delectable moist muffin texture.
Orange-Date Pumpkin Muffins (226 calories, 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
Fall is all about pumpkin, and there’s no better way to enjoy the flavors of the season than in a freshly baked muffin. This whole-wheat recipe calls for vitamin A-rich pumpkin puree, giving the muffins an amazing richness and moisture without any added butter, not to mention the quintessential pumpkin flavor. Dates, walnuts and orange zest give this recipe an extra-special gourmet quality and a dose of heart-healthy fats and fiber.
Savory Breakfast Muffins (230 calories, 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
If sweet muffins aren’t your thing, here’s a savory option. This whole-wheat breakfast muffin is packed with protein from Canadian bacon (bacon’s healthier cousin) and stuffed with cheddar cheese. And it gets better — these muffins are rich in protein, a good source of fiber and have 15 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C and calcium!
Banana-Blueberry Muffins (232 calories, 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
Everyone loves a good blueberry muffin. Unlike its store-bought counterpart, this balanced whole-wheat blueberry muffin is a nutritious upgrade because it contains less added sugar. Instead, it’s sweetened with the good stuff: mashed bananas. You won’t taste the difference at all! And the mashed bananas and fresh blueberries make this muffin extra special, adding fiber, the antioxidant vitamin C and potassium.
Apricot-Wheat Germ Muffins (220 calories, 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
This refreshing muffin recipe is perfect for a Sunday tea date with friends or an autumn snack in the park. Whole-wheat flour is blended with all-purpose flour for an added boost of fiber and micronutrients, and orange juice and buttermilk add moisture without the added fat and calories typically used in baking. What makes this recipe extra special is that it uses wheat germ, the nutrient-rich part of wheat typically discarded when whole wheat is refined into white flour.
Apple-Cheddar Quinoa Muffins (169 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber per muffin)
This savory-sweet muffin uses grated apple for moisture and a dose of fresh fruit, contrasting beautifully with the savory/salty flavor notes of the cheddar and chives. The recipe blends plant-protein-rich quinoa flour with whole-wheat pastry flour instead of traditional pastry flour, which adds fiber, vitamins and minerals into the mix. Canola oil is used as heart-healthy replacement for butter.
If all these healthy muffins have you thinking about breakfast, try our Better Breakfast Challenge! It’s ten days of nourishing mornings that will make a difference all day long.