Who doesn't love warm cookies or muffins right out of the oven? Feel good about indulging in these occasional treats by swapping in healthier ingredients. As you can see from the before-and-after muffin recipe below, making a few small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat, calories and salt in a serving.
|Original ingredients||Healthier options||Comments|
|2 cups all-purpose flour||1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour||Substituting whole-wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour will increase the muffins' fiber content.|
|1 1/2 cups sugar||3/4 cup sugar||Cutting the sugar in half reduces calories, and there are ways to make up for the sweetness with spices.|
|2 teaspoons baking soda||No change||Don't reduce the baking soda, a leavening agent, or the muffins may be too flat or dense.|
|1 teaspoon ground cinnamon||2 teaspoons ground cinnamon||Doubling the cinnamon enhances the sweetness on your tongue, helping make up for halving the amount of sugar.|
|1/2 teaspoon salt||Omit||You can get rid of the extra sodium from the salt because the baking soda contains sodium and provides leavening.|
|3 large eggs||3/4 cup egg substitute||Replacing each egg with 1/4 egg substitute will reduce saturated fat and cholesterol.|
|1 cup vegetable oil||1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce||Cutting the oil in half and making up the difference with unsweetened applesauce, will reduce fat and help keep the muffins moist.|
|1/2 cup coconut||Omit||Leaving out coconut will cut saturated fat and calories.|
|1 teaspoon vanilla extract||2 teaspoons vanilla extract||Doubling the vanilla will enhance the sweetness and more than make up for cutting the amount of sugar.|
|2 cups peeled and chopped apple||2 cups chopped apple (unpeeled)||Leaving the skin on the apples is an easy way to increase the muffins' fiber content.|
|1/2 cup raisins||No change||Don't increase the amount of raisins. Raisins are calorie/energy dense, meaning they have a lot of calories in just a small portion.|
|1/2 cup grated carrots||3/4 cup grated carrots||By bumping up the amount of carrots in your recipe, you'll increase nutrients, such as vitamin A and fiber, and compensate in flavor for the omitted coconut.|
|1/2 cup chopped pecans||2 tablespoons chopped pecans||Cutting back on the pecans will reduce fat and calories.|
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Whisk to blend evenly. In a separate bowl, add the egg substitute, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the apples, raisins and carrots. Add to the flour mixture and blend just until moistened but still slightly lumpy. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake until springy to the touch, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Nutrition analysis per serving (1 muffin): 175 calories, 7 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 163 mg sodium, 25 g total carbohydrate (2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugars), 3 g protein
What you save: 125 calories, 10 g of fat, 31 mg of cholesterol, 67 mg of sodium and 13 g of table sugar in each muffin.
Note: If 18 muffins are too many, freeze the ones you won't eat to preserve the freshness. Then grab them from the freezer as needed and pop in the microwave to warm up slightly before serving.