Muffins have gained a reputation for being laden with fat and calories. But bananas have their own natural sweetness, so they make an especially good choice for healthy muffins. But that is just the first step—the key to downsizing the less healthy aspects of any recipe is in substitutions. If a cook can find comparable substitutes for what oil and sugar bring to a recipe, one can build healthier, and tastier muffins.
Now, we all know that each recipe ingredient is there for a reason, so one needs to be careful with substitutions, especially fats, in any recipe. However, in the case of cakey dishes like muffins, a great alternative is to replace half the butter with either applesauce or pumpkin—both of these give baked goods extra moisture and texture to make up for the reduced butter or oil.
Pumpkin works especially well with banana muffin recipes as it adds body, and complements the flavor and texture of bananas. There are also lots of healthier butter substitutes now that may be used for baking, such as canola oil or avocado. Additionally, fat-free yogurt can make an excellent addition to further boost moisture and flavor of any muffin.
And, when possible, consider sugar substitutes in your baking recipes, such as honey, real maple syrup, or brown sugar. However, do be cautious with using most artificial sweeteners such as Equal, for they are prone to leave an unpleasant aftertaste, or simply not bake well. Lastly, Sucralose is a good sugar alternative, for it is easy on the blood glucose level and low in calories.
A good basic healthful banana muffin recipe might look something like this:
6 ripe bananas (or more)
1/2 cup butter substitute
1/2 cup applesauce or pumpkin
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 egg whites
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
A pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
All these elements act together to create a healthful, sumptuous muffin experience.