x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

How to make a healthier muffin

Shop-bought muffins pack a hefty calorie count, but if you make your own, they can be a healthy snack.

The average 100g muffin contains:

Calories: 380

Fat: 3.5g

Carbs: 49.0g

Protein: 5.0g

Next time you find yourself in a coffee shop, about to add a muffin or oversize cookie to your latte order, it really is worth pausing to consider how much you want that sweet treat.

The average blueberry muffin contains 380 calories and 19 grams of fat (according to the website caloriecount.about.com), which is a hefty addition to your daily intake. If this were a truly delicious occasional treat then it might be worth the calories, but more often than not pastries and cakes are ordered out of habit and simply don't taste up to scratch, being overly dry, much too sweet or lacking in fruit.

They are little more than fillers, providing a sugar rush, followed by a subsequent slump and leaving a greasy aftertaste in their wake.

Muffins are very easy to make; it really is just a case of lightly folding wet and dry ingredients together before baking. In the recipe below, the wholemeal flour provides a dose of fibre and the oats are included because (among other benefits) they release energy slowly, meaning that the muffin will keep you feeling fuller for that bit longer. The sugar content has been reduced; instead, the bananas provide natural sweetness, as well as helping to keep the muffins moist.

Blueberries and raspberries are often called "superfoods" and really do make welcome additions to the diet. They are a good sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals, are low in fat and calories and are packed with antioxidants.

Having said that, the fruit in the muffins can easily be varied. Try blackberries and grated apple, cranberries and orange zest or mango and passion fruit, for a more exotic muffin.

Healthier muffins

2 large ripe bananas

200g wholemeal flour

100g oats

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch fine salt

65g soft brown sugar

3 tblsp sunflower/canola/groundnut oil

2 large eggs, beaten

250ml low-fat natural yoghurt

100g raspberries

100g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Line a deep 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases. Peel and mash the bananas.

Mix the flour, oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the oil, eggs, yoghurt and mashed bananas. Fold together until just combined, sprinkle the raspberries and blueberries over the mixture and give the batter a couple of stirs.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases (they will be quite full) and bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins have risen and are golden brown on top. Leave to cool slightly before eating or store in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days.