Who doesn’t like muffins? They are delicious, convenient, portable, adaptable to your tastes, and freezable. Would it surprise you to hear that making a weekly batch of muffins could make a huge difference in your nutrition game? I’m telling you, if you aren’t making a weekly batch of muffins, you are missing out. Missing out on convenience, nutrients, and a bit of yum!
Let me be clear, I’m not talking about those giant sugar bomb muffins that you get at the coffee shop. These are not sprinkled with sugar crystals, topped with icing, or stuffed with pastry cream. And I don’t mean dry-as-shoe-leather “healthy” bran muffins either.
I want you to have something that not only tastes good but will also help sustain your energy levels, not cause them to crash. If you tend to feel your energy take a nose dive in the afternoon, that might be your blood sugar talking to you. Sometimes that’s just your body telling you to have a snack. Could be an easy fix, especially if you have these nutrient-dense muffins on hand. Or it could mean you didn’t eat enough, or enough of the right foods, for lunch. Nothing a little muffin on the side couldn’t help!
Other signs your blood sugar might be crashing include sleepiness, irritability (hello, hangry!), headaches, and dizziness. If you feel these symptoms often, they might be your body signaling you to eat, and to make sure that your meals are well balanced to maintain your blood sugar when you do. What does “well-balanced” mean? In this context, it means that the meal or snack you’re eating contains more than just lonely carbs. Combining carbs with some protein, some fiber, and some fat is a recipe for more balanced blood sugar levels that keep you feeling satiated and energized for a few hours.
Or maybe you skip breakfast because you don’t have time to make something before rushing out the door. Or you drink coffee and call it breakfast. Pro tip: delicious and satisfying as it may be, coffee is not breakfast. Neither is a single egg. Or a piece of toast. Or a bowl of Special K. Or a 120-calorie fat-free yogurt. You don’t have to power through your morning without sufficient fuel. Maybe you don’t feel hungry when you wake up in the morning. We can work on that! Starting with something small can help build your appetite so you can get the fuel you need.
I’m sharing two recipes for you here, one savory and one sweet. Both are quick to make, freezable, portable, nutritious, and easy to eat. They are well balanced, delicious, and great for when you don’t have the time or energy to do anything but grab something quick. They are also kid-friendly—the perfect size for little hands and easy enough to make that the kids can help out too.
The first recipe I’m sharing for Egg Muffin Cups is infinitely adaptable based on whatever vegetables you need to use up from the fridge. Think of this more as a loose formula than a recipe. I love the kale and sausage combo myself. I’ve used bell peppers before, and they tend to make the muffins a little watery, especially if you freeze them. So some vegetables work better than others. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find your favorites. You can also do a combo of whole eggs and egg whites to bump up the protein a bit, if that’s your thing. But be sure to include a few yolks so you aren’t missing out on those nutrients—especially B vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins! You can also think of this as a simplified version of a crustless quiche. It is gluten free and can be adapted to dairy free if you omit the cheese or use a dairy-free version. Most dairy-free cheeses are pretty processed and don’t add much to the nutrient profile. But it’s okay to add a little to punch up the flavor. Sometimes we do shredded Daiya cheddar on top.
The second recipe is sweeter but still well balanced and full of nutrients. And it’s also loaded with veggies too! Trust me, it works. If you can get behind zucchini bread or carrot cake, you can get behind these muffins. You’ll get some zinc and magnesium from the seeds, some calcium from the almond flour, and fiber from the oats. You can make it vegan with flax eggs and gluten free with gluten-free oats. You can also play around with different chopped nuts (try walnuts!) in place of the seeds and different dried fruit variations. Some bing cherries would be fabulous—I like a little tartness in there. I’ve also used dried unsulphured apricots. I bet dried blueberries would be a hit too!
Depending on the size of your family, you may easily finish off 12 muffins in a week, or you may even want to make a double batch. If you’re slower to get through the batch, I’d recommend stashing some in the freezer as a little gift for your future self. Simply put them in a Ziploc or Stasher bag, seal, label, and freeze. They will defrost overnight in the fridge, after a few hours on the counter, or in 30 seconds in the microwave. These are great for kids’ lunches or snacks too. Pull one out of the freezer in the morning, and it should be ready to eat by lunchtime.
So scroll down, and go play around with these recipes. Don’t be afraid to make them your own and use what you have on hand! Both recipes bake at the same temperature, so you could pop them in the oven together to save even more time and be that much more prepared. They also pair well—one of each type could make for a nice balanced snack that not only tastes delicious but also doses you with some good nutrients and keeps you satiated. Don’t be afraid to eat two or even three muffins!
Remember what I said about blood sugar? If that resonated with you—if you’re wondering about your blood sugar or if hunger frequently shows up for you as headaches, lightheadedness, irritability, or sleepiness, you might benefit from having your blood sugar assessed and supported from a functional perspective. Even if your annual blood tests and fasting glucose all come back “normal,” you might still benefit greatly from support to optimize health and prevent further decline. If you have a family history of diabetes, if you have high stress that is not well managed, if you aren’t sleeping well, working with someone to support healthy blood sugar levels is even more important. Want to learn more? Click here to schedule a time to chat directly with me.
Okay, now onto the muffins…
Egg Muffin Cups
Approximate macros per muffin: 80 cal, 5 g fat, 7 g protein, 2 g carbs
1/2 lb ground breakfast sausage
1 cup chopped, cooked kale
1 large shallot, minced
Chopped basil or other fresh herbs (optional)
Salt and pepper
Grated cheese (optional, can use dairy-free)
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
Cook the sausage in a skillet until browned. If there is a lot of fat in the skillet, pour some off, but leave 1 to 2 tbsp. Add the minced shallot and kale, and cook for another minute or two. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Then, whisk in 6 eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper. Spoon the egg mixture evenly across lined muffin tins. Top with grated cheese and half a cherry tomato. Cook at 350˚F for 15–20 minutes, until the eggs have just set.
Spicy chorizo with sauteed peppers and onions, lamb sausage with sundried tomatoes and feta, bacon with broccoli and mushrooms, chicken with olives and thyme…you get the idea. Look for little bits of leftovers in your fridge for inspiration too. Leftover pulled pork, taco meat, or black beans can easily replace the breakfast sausage. Use any green you like or the veggies your kids left on their plates from dinner. Waste not, want not!
Oat Nut Muffins with Hidden Veg
Yield: 12 big muffins
Approximate macros per muffin: 260 cal, 20 g fat, 7 g protein, 17 g carbs
3 eggs (or flax eggs)
1 c grated zucchini
1 c grated carrot
6 T melted coconut oil or butter or 2 mashed ripe bananas
1/4 c maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract
2 c almond meal
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or a mix of both or other nuts/seeds
1/2 c dried raisins or currants or other dried fruit
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
Stir together the eggs, zucchini, carrots, oil/butter/bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bake in lined muffin tins at 350˚F for 20–25 min or until set.