Today’s recipe is a spinoff of Gramma Nancy’s classic banana muffins, one of the first things I ever learned to bake. I’ve been making them for years, and absolutely love how moist and fluffy they are. They are quick and easy and make a great pairing for your morning coffee or the perfect afternoon snack. I love whipping them up on Sunday evenings so that we have a grab-and-go option for those busy weekdays.
In last week’s recipe I talked a lot about sugar. Many of those same concepts apply to muffins! Muffins purchased from fast food restaurants, grocery stores, or gas stations are usually more like cake. Again, we can look at the numbers to back this up. On that note, did you know that all fast food restaurants have nutrition information pamphlets available both in-store and online? They’re usually in a little holder on the wall near the napkin dispenser. If you don’t see them, just ask! It’s important to be informed as a consumer — if you have the knowledge you will be able to make smarter, healthier food choices.
Another fun fact about sugar involves another commonly debated macronutrient — fat. Low-fat diet fads have been popular since the 80s, and since then specialized low-fat products and recipes have made the rounds. It’s not uncommon to see products marked as low-fat on grocery store shelves and on fast-food menus. However, it’s important to be aware that when you remove fat from a product, you also take away some delicious taste. To make up for that, many food processors add other ingredients. Can you guess what the most popular replacement is? You got it — sugar! So that seemingly “healthy” low-fat muffin is now overloaded with sugar. Want a real-life example? Starbucks has two blueberry muffins; a standard one and one made with yogurt and honey. I think it’s safe to say that many people would assume that the yogurt version is healthier. I know I would! But when we look further, it turns out the regular blueberry muffin is home to 18g of fat and 28g sugar. Meanwhile, the yogurt version houses 16g of fat and 30g of sugar. So yes, it has less fat (but not that much less!) and the amount sugar actually increased. Either way, those numbers work out to 7 and 7.5 teaspoons respectively, more than half the recommended daily intake of added sugar. In the end, consumers aren’t being done any favours by the “low-fat” option. Recent research has begun to debunk the low-fat fads — since their popularization rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have not decreased. Instead, they’ve all gone up. Obviously the low-fat craze hasn’t helped us.
Discussions like the above can feel confusing. What are you supposed to do if there isn’t really any good choice on the shelf? I once again offer you the solution of diving into your kitchen. Get cooking, and use whole, real ingredients. I promise you the taste will be better, and your body will thank you for it. Just so you know, these muffins have about 1 teaspoon per muffin, which is a whole lot less than the Starbucks version! Give them a try and let me know what you think!I’ll be sure to pass along your compliments to Gramma 😊
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 dozen muffins
¼ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk
1 cup blueberries, washed
Line a muffin tin with muffin tin liners then set aside for later use.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil. Once mixed, beat in the eggs. Finally, add the mashed bananas.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, and then pour in the liquid mixture.
Mix until just combined. Some lumps and pockets of flour will remain, and that’s okay! You don’t want to over mix, as this will lead to tough muffins.
Next, add the blueberries and the milk to the batter and carefully fold in.
Your batter is now ready to go! Use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop and begin to portion the batter into the individual muffin tin slots.
Once the muffin batter is portioned, pop the muffin tin into the preheated oven. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and they spring back when you touch them.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container on your counter for up to 5 days.
Recipe modified from Grandma Nancy's original by Alex Chesney, RD