Based solely on how absolutely delicious they are, muffins are a clear frontrunner in the competition for best breakfast food. But when you take into account that most muffins are made with quite a bit of added sugar and not much protein or fiber, it must be admitted that they aren't exactly the most energizing form of fuel for your first meal of the day. Thanks to nutritionist and chef Mia Rigden, however, this doesn't always have to be the case.
Indeed, in this week's episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, Ridgen shows us how to make a delicious muffin recipe that's completely free from added sugar and packs both protein and fiber, as well as anti-inflammatory ingredients like bananas, avocado oil, and walnuts. And if you're someone who avoids gluten or dairy, these are A-okay, as Rigden's banana-based muffins don't contain any refined wheat flour, butter, or milk.
- Mia Rigden, chef, nutritionist, and the founder of RASA, a company specializing in individualized nutrition programs
In place of refined flour, Rigden swaps in coconut flour, which she says has a deliciously cakey texture. As for sugar? "What's really interesting about this recipe is that it's only sweetened with bananas," Rigden says. "The banana in this recipe not only lends texture to the muffins and the flavor of the banana, but it also is our only source of sugar. So we're not using any honey, no maple syrup, no coconut sugar, just the natural sweetness of the bananas." Two mashed bananas go into the base of the muffins, and a third is chopped up and mixed in to add some extra ooey-gooey goodness. Bananas, as you may have heard, are a great source of potassium; this mineral helps balance your sodium levels and helps your body digest carbs. They also contain vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins, and serve as a solid source of gut-boosting dietary fiber.
This recipe also calls for avocado oil (in place of canola oil, which is more commonly found in banana bread recipes), which is "a great neutral cooking oil," Rigden says. It adds tons of nutrients without adding any flavor. “Avocado oil is packed with antioxidants... [and] is good for heart health, as it's been found to reduce triglycerides and 'bad' LDL cholesterol without affecting good, HDL cholesterol," The Nutrition Twins Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, previously told Well+Good. "Avocado oil is [also] rich in the carotenoid lutein, which improves eye health and may reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases.”
And, of course, there are walnuts in the recipe. Rigden says these are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They're also really beneficial for heart health. If you have a nut allergy, she recommends simply omitting them from the recipe or using chocolate chips instead.
"You know, I made the recipe and I still feel like it's crazy because it tastes so sweet and delicious and like a regular muffin," Rigden says. "It satisfies that muffin craving for me, but without the gluten, the dairy, or the refined sugar." Press play on the video above, and get the full recipe details below.
The most delicious gluten-free banana muffins recipe
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
2. In a medium bowl, mash two of the bananas, then whisk in the eggs, avocado oil, and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt.
4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix to combine.
5. Slice the remaining banana into thin half circles, and add to the mixture along with the walnuts.
6. Portion the batter evenly into the muffin tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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