Transform your muffins

Guidelines for a healthy muffin

Grabbing a muffin for a snack or a meal may not be as healthy as you think.

“They have become more like cake than the healthy bran muffins of the past,” says Registered Dietitian Klara Lorinczi. “Due to their popularity, the food industry embraced them. Mass-produced food items can become less healthy. This can be due to added salt and sugar or using a more shelf stable kind of fat.”

And it’s not just what’s in them that is concerning—most fast food or grocery store muffins are much larger than the ones grandma used to make. A store or fast food muffin can contain as much as 400 calories, which is almost a whole meal. Also, you may think you’re making a better choice by choosing the low-fat option, but it likely contains more sugar than the regular version, she adds.

“If you’re going to eat a muffin from one of these places for a snack, I recommend that you only eat half or share it," says Klara. By having some protein with it—like a small handful of nuts, some Greek yogurt, a glass of milk or peanut butter—you will stay fuller longer. Healthy fats and fibre also help you feel full.

“I like to add legumes, beans and chick peas to muffins. They increase the protein and fibre content of muffins.”

When making muffins at home, use standard-sized tins. These tins are 6–9 cm at the top and 2.5 cm at the bottom. Use plant-based oils. When including treats in your muffins, like cheese or chocolate chips, make it a small part of the muffin.

“To get your family to buy in to healthier muffins, I’d recommend you get them involved,” says Klara. “Get them to help you make the muffins or find recipes online. If you make the muffins on your own, ask them how the muffins taste before telling them you made healthy changes.”

12 tips to make a healthier muffin

Carrot cake muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins


1½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup large flake oats

1 tbsp. hemp seed
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (0%) 
1 cup canned crushed pineapple packed in juice
1½ cups grated carrots
½ cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flour, oats, hemp seed, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl.

3. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the egg, oil, vanilla extract and yogurt until well combined. Stir in the pineapple (with juice),     carrots and raisins.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix just until combined. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full.

5. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean or tops spring back when pressed.

Nutritional information

Servings: 12

Amount per serving: 1 muffin

Calories: 190

Total fat: 5.8 g; saturated fat: 0.5 g; sodium: 127 mg; total carbohydrate: 31 g; dietary fibre: 4 g; total sugars: 11.6 g; protein: 5.3 g

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