Banana Muffins

My three year old loves banana bread. He loves bananas and he loves bread so of course banana bread is a winner. We are often eating breakfast on the go since he sleeps late and doesn’t like breakfast first thing. I have done some experimenting in the kitchen with breakfast foods and this is by far his favorite. I whip up a batch and keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer for easy de-frosting when we get low. The recipe below is how he likes them but you could definitely add oats (which contribute whole grains and soluble fiber), walnuts (monounsaturated fats and omega-3s), ground flax seed (omega-3s), or even dried fruit (potassium, vitamin C) to the batter.

JC’s Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup applesauce
2 egg whites
1/4 cup buttermilk or 1/4 cup skim milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice to sour it
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 medium ripe bananas pureed until smooth
2 cups whole wheat flour
Combine all ingredients and mix until just combined. Be sure to not overmix. Pour into muffin tins coated with cooking spray or lined with paper liners until 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
I get about 16 muffins out of this for about 105 calories a piece. Depending on big they are you could get anywhere from about 12-18. If you get 12, each will be about 140 calories and if you get 18, each will be about 95 calories.
I use honey instead of regular cane sugar for two reasons. First, it is sweeter than sugar so you can use less of it and get the same amount of sweetness. If I was to use cane sugar in this recipe, I would probably have to use about 3/4 cup. Second, it is less processed than cane sugar and if you use dark honey, it will have some antioxidants. You could also use dark maple or dark molasses in this recipe but JC LOVES honey! Make sure to pop the honey in the microwave for 20-30 seconds before mixing it with the rest of the batter to loosen it up a bit so it gets evenly distributed throughout.
Applesauce takes the place of oil in this recipe but leaves it just as moist and tender. It also contributes to the sweetness of the muffin along with the pureed bananas, which both add lots of potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. If you choose to use oil, I would recommend Canola oil for it’s monounsaturated fats but that will also make the muffins higher in calories. Using two egg whites instead of one egg saves not only calories but also saturated fat and cholesterol. You also get double the protein since all the protein in eggs are found in the white. And finally, the whole wheat flour adds whole grains which contribute fiber, protein, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. These compounds, if consumed consistently, will help to reduce your risk for certain cancers, help regulate blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood glucose as well as help with weight loss by contributing to fullness and satiety.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD