I can’t remember the last time I walked into a bakery. It’s not that I don’t like them—they don’t like my jeans!
As a kid, I remember going out for a muffin with my dad; they were the size of a computer mouse and you had the choice of corn or bran types. Period. Now they are the size of a small computer and they hold anything from chocolate chips to nuts, berries, candy, and lots more. They are like cake, poured into a muffin tin, weighing in anywhere from 400 to 600 calories each.
As a muffin-lover, I felt the need to come up with a foolproof recipe that would please my pants and palate. I also wanted to include ingredients that would not only provide good taste but also benefit my body.
I came up with my banana-almond muffins, which include whole-wheat pastry flour for filling fiber and bananas for potassium. I sprinkle nuts on top (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans are great) for healthy fats, more fiber, and, in some cases, antioxidants and calcium. The result: delicious, 190-calorie muffins.
RELATED: For more tasty treats with health benefits, bake these 10 guilt-free muffins.
Bonnie’s Banana-Almond Bread/Muffins
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water
4 ripe bananas, mashed well
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Whisk with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2. Combine milk and lemon juice and let stand. Combine sugar, egg whites, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer at a high speed until blended. Add milk-lemon juice mixture, water, and bananas, beating at a low speed until blended together. Add flour mixture and beat at a low speed just until combined (don’t over-mix).
3. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans or two muffin tins with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pans and fill halfway. Sprinkle almonds evenly over batter. Bake bread for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, or bake muffins for 30 minutes, checking with a wooden pick. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on wire rack.
Nutrition score per serving (1 muffin): 190 calories, 7g fat, 29g carbs (11g sugars), 2g protein, 2g fiber
For a change of pace, skip the bananas and sub in a 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin, which is loaded with vitamin A and a good source of potassium and fiber. If you want to cut the fat even more, replace the oil with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce and save about 35 calories per muffin. This recipe also freezes well, so you can keep the extra stored in a freezer bag and defrost one whenever you’re in the mood to enjoy this guilt-free treat.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, M.A., R.D., C.D.N., is owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, a motivational speaker, and author of Read It Before You Eat It. As a health and nutrition blogger for US News & World Report and a media spokesperson, she has conducted thousands of interviews for television, radio, print, and web venues with a specialty in making sense of science while assuring that nutritious and delicious can coexist. She has been honored with the Academy’s 2012 Media Excellence Award and is a past recipient of their Outstanding Nutrition Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Follow her on twitter @eatsmartbd, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.