Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
It’s that time again… the holidays are upon us! Office parties, family celebrations, and children’s parties all offer us opportunity to overeat again and again and again November through December. In fact, several of my clients e-mailed me this morning that they have two or three (or more) parties this week (the first week of December!!), and they needed help creating strategies in order to navigate the events while staying on track. And it will only keep revving up until the New Year!
I’m not shaming holiday foods, though. Seasonal foods are fun, they celebrate traditions, and they help us break out of our ordinary routines. I advocate eating freely and joyfully on holidays and other special occasions. However, 90% of November and December (and early January) are not actually celebrations – they’re normal days with artificial opportunities to overeat (in the name of the holidays). Those are the days that need to be carefully managed, because November and December can turn into a new lifestyle, and unwanted pounds!
Because I’m a nutrition geek and I specialize in helping women achieve the body of their dreams, I enjoy devising recipes that feel fun and holiday-spirited but don’t pack the caloric (or blood sugar) punch of the original version. These recipes can be enjoyed festively throughout November and December without adding heavy, rich desserts to your meal plan.
Warning: Healthy Recipes Will Not Taste Like Betty Crocker
I always want to put a small disclaimer in: when you start paying more attention to your health and choosing baking recipes that deliberately omit sugar, butter, and oils, the final product is going to taste somewhat differently from what you’re used to. It will not be as sweet and will not have exactly the same consistency as a dessert that uses sugar, butter, oil, and white flour.
However, please note I used the word “different,” not the word “worse.” These pumpkin muffins, for example, actually are delicious, but getting used to less sugar takes practice, because our taste buds are trained to expect hyper-sweet flavors and smooth textures from our day-to-day 21st-century diet. When you make a change in your eating, you will immediately notice that healthier foods are slightly rougher (more fiber), aren’t as sweet (less/no sugar), and may seem even a little bland (less butter, salt, etc.). This is true of both desserts and savory foods.
The bad news is that, unless you work at a yoga studio, you probably shouldn’t commit to bringing these to a holiday party (at least until you’ve tried them once at home). Your co-workers may not be ready for the nutritional transformation you’re undergoing!
The good news is that you can train your own taste buds to have different expectations, and this can yield tremendous results for body transformation. Once you adjust yourself to a lower level of sweetness and a higher level of fiber, it will begin to taste normal, and your set point will be your new way of eating.
Healthy Pumpkin Muffins Nutrition Facts
My pumpkin muffins (or mini-muffins, in this case) are three mini-muffins to a serving, and a serving contains 200 calories, 27g of carbs, 8g of protein, and 5 grams of fat (and all of the fat is from the pumpkin seeds). Additionally, these muffins are sugar-free and gluten-free, and they contain 8g of fiber (that’s about 25-30% of what women need in a day!). If you don’t put on the pumpkin seeds as a topping, they only have 12g of carbs, 3g of protein, and zero fat.
To put it in perspective, traditional mini-muffins can add 20g of sugar, 40+g of carbs, and 10+g of fat to your diet with just three mini-muffins… and that’s not even a meal!
Here’s how I make pumpkin muffins a smarter choice:
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup oat bran
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tbsp baking soda
- 15-oz. can pure pumpkin puree
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 20 packets stevia (I use Truvia)
- Pumpkin seeds for sprinkling
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place baking cups in a muffin tin.
Combine the oat flour, oat bran, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, egg whites, Greek yogurt, and Truvia. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it is barely smooth and combined.
Pour the mixture into the baking cups and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before eating.