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Healthy Banana Muffins

by Carly Schuna

Banana muffins are a tempting breakfast or snack option. They're quick to make, easy to eat on the go and taste great. However, even though a banana muffin may seem like a light option, it's usually not. Most coffee shop and bakery muffins contain between 340 and 630 calories, and many have an unhealthy amount of fat as well -- 11 to 27 grams of total fat and 2 to 8 grams of saturated fat. If you're looking for a healthy muffin, your best bet may be to make your own. If that's not an option, know what you're looking for in a bakery muffin.

At Home

Making your own muffins is a good choice because you can control the ingredients and their amounts. If you're trying to watch the total number of calories you eat every day, for example, seek out a low-calorie recipe or make your own modifications to your favorite recipe. You can cut the amount of sugar in the recipe by about 25 percent without even noticing a difference. You can also replace the oil in a muffin recipe with applesauce. The Harvard School of Public Health also recommends scaling back on the salt, adding extra banana, using low-fat milk instead of whole milk and using whole wheat flours in place of their refined counterparts.

Add Some Fiber

To make banana muffins as healthy as possible, consider adding whole grains and nutritive items, such as flaxseed meal to up the fiber content, as Cooking Light magazine suggests. Drop some wheat germ, wheat bran, cornmeal, rolled oats, toasted nuts or fresh berries into the batter to add even more whole grains, fiber and nutrients.

Scale Down the Size

The muffins of today are about two to three times larger than the muffins your dear old grandmother used to make, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. If you're looking to save on calories, you don't need to avoid banana muffins completely, just scale back on the size. Use mini muffin pans or regular size muffin pans instead of the popular jumbo size pans. Fill muffin cups about halfway, rather than two-thirds so the muffins come out smaller and you can stretch the recipe further.

Add Nuts

Up the nutrition factor of your banana muffins by turning them into banana nut muffins. Nuts add healthy fats and up the protein content of the muffin, helping you feel fuller longer so you're less likely to overeat during the day. Chop up some nuts and mix them directly into the batter and sprinkle some nuts on top immediately before baking. Walnuts and pecans complement bananas well.

Tips for Buying Out

When you buy banana muffins, look for the healthiest version you can. Choose products that contain whole grains and are somewhat low in fat and calories. If the muffin is super-size, like many bakery muffins are, cut it in half and share it with a friend or save the other half for later. Avoid muffins that are cream-filled or have loads of decorative sugar on top.

Photo Credits:

  • two muffins image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.