Trying to eat more healthy in the new year is a common resolution. I’ve also added eating healthy as one of the things I’d like to keeping moving toward this year too. I’ve been on a slow journey for many months now, trying to incorporate more plant-based main dishes into our meals, as well as trying to makeover some of my recipes to include more whole grains and natural sweeteners.
Two books that I’ve found quite motivating for making these changes are Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and The Campbell Plan, both of which are written by doctors that make a convincing case for adding more plant-based dishes to your diet, and getting rid of things that are overly processed (which means things like white flour, white sugar, and even olive oil too!) and eating animal foods like meats and dairy in only very small amounts (if at all).
I decided the new year was a good time to go through my recipe box and start reorganizing it to include some of the new recipes I’ve been making that reflect this way of thinking, as well as eliminating some of the things I don’t make anymore. BUT, in the course of sorting through old recipes, I came across a muffin recipe from many years back that I had forgotten about that I jotted down as “Banana Honey Muffins – No Sugar”, and it was definitely a recipe worth taking a look at again!
Now this recipe was a pretty good start as it already had a healthier vibe to it, and with a few more tweaks, I was able to eliminate a couple other things too. I now have a recipe that I’m calling my Healthier Homemade Muffins as I still like to have this kind of an option around for mid-morning snacks and evening snacks.
Here are some of the tweaks I made, and these are ideas that could work to make over other recipes too. Let’s take a look:
#1 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
The original recipe called for 1 cup of whole wheat flour and a ½ cup of white flour. I changed this to use 1½ cups of whole wheat pastry flour. This type of flour is still whole wheat (so you get all the goodness from every part of the grain), but it’s milled from soft white wheat rather than hard red wheat. The Bob’s Red Mill site states that this means a “lower protein content than regular whole wheat flour and it makes wonderfully tender whole grain baked goods.” And I agree! If you can’t find this in your regular grocery store, you should be able to find it in a health food store (or online here: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour).
This recipe already included applesauce as an ingredient, and I have been successfully substituting applesauce for oil in some of my quick bread recipes too with good results. I can’t always use up a whole jar of applesauce fast enough and sometimes it starts going moldy on me, so I’ve taken to buying the smaller size snack containers. The ½ cup of applesauce needed for this recipe is equal to one of these 4 oz snack containers. Easy!
#3 Flax Seed Egg Replacement
This is another strategy I’ve been using more and more in baked goods to replace eggs. And I’ve been so happy that I can easily find milled flax seed at my local Aldi. To use this method you combine some flax seed with water and let it set for a few minutes to combine and get a little “goopier”. The exact measurements are in the recipe below and I’m hoping to do a more thorough upcoming blog post on this strategy too.
And finally, this recipe already used honey in place of white sugar so I didn’t have to do that calculation. Honey is a less processed sweetener and therefore a better option.
Now these muffins might not be the most glamorous muffins out there, but the flavor is yummy, and the add-ins of golden raisins and chopped walnuts add a little extra goodness that I really like too. And I like that this recipe makes an even dozen muffins, just the right amount!
If you’ve been looking for a few healthier recipes to start off the new year, this recipe is a good one to try as the replacement ingredients in this recipe are pretty easy to do, and you’re still able to have a recipe for a bit of a sweet treat with your morning coffee. It’s a nice way to make your own muffins – but just a bit healthier!
Here’s the complete recipe:
Healthier Homemade Muffins
- 1-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (see notes)
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 2 Bananas - Mashed
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce (or 4 oz snack container)
- 2 Tbl Milled (or ground) Flaxseed + 1/3 cup Water (see notes)
- 6 Tbl Honey
- 1/2 cup Golden Raisins
- 1/4 cup Chopped Wanuts (optional)
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg) in a medium size mixing bowl and set aside.
- In large mixing bowl mash the two bananas. Add the applesauce, flax seed egg replacement mixture (if using instead of eggs - see note below), and the honey, and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until just mixed.
- Stir in the raisins and walnuts.
- Grease or put muffin liners in a 12 cup muffin tin. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups, filling each one about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 375 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.