Healthier Blueberry Muffins

by Maria on July 23, 2014

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As you can probably tell from my previous blog entries, be it pumpkin, zucchini, or morning glory, I love a good muffin. That said, I am not a big fan of traditional muffins. Take the classic blueberry muffin for instance: the first few bites often taste good, but after gobbling it all up you may be left feeling heavy and full. And with good reason, a muffin from a chain restaurant or store often weighs in at over 400 calories and contains primarily white flour, sugar, fat, and a bunch of other ingredients you don’t really need.  Here are some examples:

Overall nutritional profile per serving...

Costco’s Kirkland Blueberry Muffin

610 calories (32 g fat, 72 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein)

Dunkin’ Donuts Blueberry Muffin

460 calories (15 g fat, 76 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein)

Dunkin’ Donuts Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin

410 calories (10 g fat, 75 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein)

Panera Bread Blueberry Muffin

440 calories (17 g fat, 66 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein)

Starbucks Bountiful Blueberry Muffin

350 calories (12 g fat, 55 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein)

Examples of their ingredients...

Dunkin’ Donuts Blueberry Muffin Ingredients:

Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Water, Eggs, Soybean Oil, Blueberries, Sweetened Wild Blueberries (Wild Blueberries, Sugar, Wild Blueberry Juice Extract, Wheat Flour), Contains less than 2% of the following: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Aluminum Sulfate), Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavor (contains milk ingredients), Soy Protein Isolate, Salt, Whey (a milk derivative), Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Gelatinized Wheat Starch, Propylene Glycol; Topping: Sugar, Carnauba Wax

Starbucks Blueberry Muffin Ingredients:

enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), blueberries, sugar, eggs, water, butter (milk), contains 2% or less of the folowing: canola oil, baking powder (calcium acid pyrophophate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate), nonfat milk, cellulose gum, vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest (lemon peel, sugar, lemon oil), modified corn starch, natural flavor, xanthan gum


I do have a soft spot for local, scratch bakeries (A&J King is my local favorite). After all, you know there is a lot of love that went into those muffins and generally the ingredients are all wholesome. I just try to make it more of an occasional treat rather than a regular thing. Of course I am all for supporting these local bakeries, but to practice what I preach I often restrain from the treats and buy a loaf of bread and a cup of coffee. (Unless I am on vacation, in which case I indulge regularly!)

So if you find yourself at an amazing smelling local bakery with fresh muffins made from organic ingredients, then by all means indulge, they are probably worth it. But if you are frequently visiting the local bakery consider sharing a muffin with a friend (or two).  

As always, your best bet for everyday muffins is to make them from scratch yourself. Here is a delicious recipe that I adopted from a recipe in the Volumetrics Eating Plan by Barbara Rolls, PhD.  She used applesauce for most all the fat. I added back some healthy fat and then used a combination of applesauce and banana to replace the rest. I also used mostly whole grain white whole wheat and spelt flour. The recipe also contains a generous amount of fresh blueberries. 

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Healthier Blueberry Muffins

Makes 18 small-medium muffins

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (or white whole wheat flour)
¾ cup white flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups low-fat kefir (buttermilk would also work)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup mashed banana (about 1 small)
¼ cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour through cinnamon. 

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the kefir through vanilla extract.

4. Spray a standard sized muffin pan with cooking spray.

5. Add the kefir mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

6. Portion the mixture into the muffin cups. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

7. Place the muffin pan on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing. Enjoy!


Nutrition info for 18 small-medium muffins:

130 calories (4 g fat, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein)


  • This recipe was tested using fresh berries; frozen berries may make them too watery.
  • Muffins are best enjoyed warm. Freeze extra muffins and pop out when needed for a quick breakfast or snack!
  • I like to make small muffins so that I can enjoy more than one if I want. But you can easily make 12 larger sized muffins using this recipe. Just increase the cooking time to about 22 minutes.

Nutrition Info for 12 large muffins:

195 calories (6 g fat, 33 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein)



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