I’ve always had a soft spot for a good healthy morning muffin, which first originated during my bagel-slingin’ days. We (and by we I mean the bagel shop) always had 6 or 7 different muffin varieties for sale. They were baked in the morning and once they were gone, they were gone. The chocolate chip, cranberry walnut, and blueberry muffins always went the fastest. And, just to say we had a low-fat option available, we baked up one (just one) healthy morning and raisin bran muffin. They were always the last men standing.
I always crossed my fingers when customers walked past the depleted muffin counter, hoping that they wouldn’t select the lonely healthy morning muffin. I knew if the muffin could just make it until closing, I could wrap that baby up and take it home for breakfast the next morning. Somedays, I would try and talk customers into the raisin bran alternative – oh, they’re so fibrous and brany! Other days I just got lucky. Then, one day, someone must have caught on because we were no longer selling the healthy morning muffins. Boooo.
I remember it not tasting very healthy. Though it was packed with carrots and raisins, it was also very sweet and moist. It was probably loaded with sugar and oil, but it had “healthy” in the name. And, when you work with bagels all day, it’s nice to have a “healthy” alternative.
Last week, I bought a bunch of carrots and apples to make some treats for Izzy, and then used the leftovers to make some of these muffins for breakfast. This recipe is actually pretty healthy (for a muffin that is). There’s no white or brown sugar, just a bit of pure maple syrup. The rest of the sweetness is naturally from the apple, carrot, and raisins. And, I also left out any butter or vegetable oil. Instead, there’s a touch of melted coconut oil and fat-free greek yogurt for moistness. Of course, you don’t need to include the streusel topping, if you’re really trying to cut back on the calories. I just wanted a little extra crunch and there’s not much I bake that doesn’t contain some form of crunchy streusel topping.
The resulting muffin actually tastes pretty healthy, which is just what I was looking for. They are a bit more dense and chewy than your average full-fat variety because of the rye and whole wheat flour. And, while the carrot and apple flavors do stand out, these muffins aren’t overly sweet. With fiber and protein, these muffins actually make a decent breakfast or snack, keeping you full until your next meal. Even Mr. Big Flavors enjoyed these with his morning cup of coffee, and he’s not too big on healthy, health food. That means I’ll be keeping this recipe around!
I did a quick calorie analysis (using myfitnesspal.com) and here’s what I determined:
- Without streusel topping – 152 calories, 5 grams fat, 5 grams protein
- With streusel topping – 200 calories, 8 grams fat, 5 grams protein