I’ve been choosing the lemon blueberry Greek yogurt muffin at Tim Hortons recently since it sounded healthy, but I was surprised when I saw the nutrition information — each muffin has 24 grams of sugar but only 6 grams of protein. Is there any way I can make a healthier muffin myself?
Food marketing can be deceiving, can’t it? This is known as the “health halo” effect, which involves overestimating the healthfulness of an item, based on a single claim — in this case, Greek yogurt may be causing a halo. I bet you’re not the only one who has reached for this takeout muffin in the expectation they were making a healthy choice.
I tell my clients that the most effective change they can make in their life to be healthier is to prepare more food at home. The food industry cooks differently than a human being, with vast amounts of salt, sugars and fat — way more than you would use in your own cooking. Instead of relying on a takeout muffin for breakfast, I suggest you take 30 minutes on Sunday evening to make your own high protein muffins. This berry orange protein muffin recipe contains hemp seeds and Greek yogurt for added protein. Two muffins contain less than half the amount of sugar (10 grams) and double the amount of protein (12 grams) of your takeout muffins.
Pumped-up Berry Orange Protein Muffins
1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats
¼ cup (60 mL) hemp seeds
½ cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt
1 cup (250 mL) apple sauce
1 medium ripe banana
2 tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) orange zest
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
¾ cup (175 mL) fresh or frozen berries
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
Lightly grease muffin pan and insert muffin liners.
In a blender, combine all ingredients except berries. Blend until smooth. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl and fold in berries. Fill each muffin cup ¾ of the way with batter.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing muffins from tray. Let cool completely at room temperature before storing in an airtight container for up to three days.
Makes one dozen muffins.
One of your original Tim Hortons muffins has 360 calories, 12 g of fat, 58 g of carbohydrates, 24 g of sugar, 5 g of fibre and 6 g of protein.
Two of your new pumped-up protein muffins have 211 calories, 9 g of fat, 26 g of carbohydrates, 10 g of sugar, 4 g of fibre and 12 g of protein.
Nicole Osinga is a registered dietitian. Want to pump up your breakfast? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @nicoleosinga_rd