Healthy Fall Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_4558

 

It’s Fall, which means “pumpkin everything” around here. Even if the weather outside does not feel like fall, it is still fun to get into the holiday spirit and embrace the changing of the seasons. There are many different recipes and treats that include pumpkin, however I wanted to bring a little something different to your table. It’s my job as a Registered Dietitian to encourage balanced eating and give you healthy substitutions for foods in recipes to increase the nutrient density, fiber, and decrease the saturated and trans fat (bad fats). These moist, healthy pumpkin muffins are one of my favorites! Give them a try!

 

Preparation Time: ~25 minutes

Cooking Time: ~20-25 minutes

IMG_4551

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 cup nonfat (or low fat) plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 egg (cage free, omega 3)
  • 1 ¾ cup quick cook steel cut oats (Trader Joe’s) or gluten free oats
  • ¼ cup Plant Fusion protein powder (or 100% natural whey protein is fine also)
  • ¼ cup organic coconut sugar (healthier version than cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Add- In’s:

  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Unsweetened shaved coconut (to top the muffins off with)

IMG_4554

 

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Combine all of the wet ingredients into another bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Line 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray with coconut oil nonstick spray.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin tins, and place into the pre-heated oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly golden brown.
  8. Cool muffins for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
  9. Enjoy!!

IMG_4555

You can see that I haven’t added any oil or butter to this recipe. These muffins are very moist and high fiber, which will keep you full for longer and help maintain good blood sugar control (for any of you with diabetes or who are pre diabetic). The fiber comes from the pumpkin, oats, and raisins. The eggs/egg whites, Plant Fusion protein powder, and Greek yogurt add a substantial amount of protein without adding any sugar. I used the organic coconut sugar because it is a healthier alternative to regular cane sugar and is also higher in fiber.

 

IMG_4556I used one real egg because the egg yolk has benefits that the egg white does not contain such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and thiamine. Vitamins A, D, E, and K (fat soluble vitamins) and calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc are also found in the egg yolk (which are not found in the white). So, if you’re having a debate whether to “eat the yellow portion of the egg,” I highly recommend adding it into your diet.

Adding walnuts or pecans brings a great addition of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. The walnuts in particular are a rich plant source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti inflammatory to your body and can help maintain a healthy brain function.

IMG_4560These muffins are great when you’re entertaining friends or family or going to a girls night, and they can even be a part of your Thanksgiving menu if you’d like! I like to prepare these muffins on a Sunday afternoon and put them in a large zip lock bag in the refrigerator (no preservatives), and eat them in the morning for breakfast during the week. You can warm them up, slice down the middle and add a dollop of Greek yogurt, or almond butter/peanut butter and jelly for a melt in your mouth flavor. Also, if you have dinner early (around 5 or 6pm), you can have ½ of 1 of these muffins (depending on how many carbohydrates you ate with your dinner meal) for your “dessert treat.” Pair with a side of fresh fruit, a dollop of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and cinnamon.

 

IMG_4525Bottom Line: eating healthy should taste GOOD!! You should enjoy what you’re eating and be happy and content in the fact that you are fueling your body with nutrients that will help you think more clearly, sleep better, maintain your weight, increase your energy, improve your digestion, and help prevent diseases (i.e. heart disease and stroke which remain the leading killers most likely due to the high intake of unhealthy saturated fats).

 

To learn more about how to enhance the nutritional value of your foods, and discover how to create balanced, healthy meals for you and your family, contact Courtney Sullivan, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition for Body and Mind. I look forward to helping you take steps towards reaching your nutrition and health goals!

Find me on YELP!

Malibu4