After hitting snooze one last time, you rush out of bed, get ready for work and grab whatever food you can find as you fly out the door. Instead of resorting to that sad granola bar stash again, start your day with a healthy and tasty homemade muffin.
While the muffins you'll find at the bakery down the street aren't exactly the best for your body (hello, truckloads of sugar), using the right ingredients can make them a dietitian-approved choice. Plus, they're portable and easy to prep for the entire week — saving you both time and money.
In fact, they can even beat out a basic egg scramble on the protein front. While one large egg contains around 6 grams of protein, these muffins serve up to 20 grams each. Another bonus: These pack in under 10 grams of sugar per serving — while your average bakery muffin packs in 27 grams of sugar!
"Low-sugar, high-protein muffins can be a great option for breakfast. The low sugar content won't produce a huge spike in your blood sugar while the protein will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer," says Brittany Modell, RD, CDN, founder of Brittany Modell Nutrition and Wellness. That's what makes these healthy muffin recipes more filling than your typical high-carb and low-protein options (think: sugary cereal and store-bought pastries).
The next time you're trying to decide what to make for breakfast, go for these low-sugar options that are loaded with filling protein.
1. Blueberry-Banana Protein Muffins
Sugar: 8 grams
Protein: 20 grams
These muffins get added protein and moisture from low-fat Greek yogurt. Paired with an egg, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla protein powder and blueberries, it's a wholesome combo that's hard to beat.
"Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt is a great addition to any breakfast," says Tony Castillo, RDN, LDN, co-founder of Nutrition for Performance. "The Greek yogurt adds calcium to help your bones, protein to help your muscles and carbs to help your energy levels."
Blueberries are an excellent source of essential nutrients (vitamins C and K and manganese) and a good source of dietary fiber — which will keep you fuller for longer. In addition, blueberries are abundant in flavonoids, antioxidants responsible for berries' anti-inflammatory power, according to the USDA.
Get the Blueberry-Banana Protein Muffins recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Egg Quiche Muffins
Sugar: 4 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Get your quiche fix in muffin form with this savory mini version of the breakfast staple. Loaded with eggs, spices and plenty of veggies — including carrots, red bell pepper and zucchini — they'll keep you feeling full and satisfied.
"It's important to consume protein-rich foods for breakfast because they're filling and will help with your hunger for the rest of the day," Modell says. "A mix of protein and fat also helps balance your blood sugar."
Get the Egg Quiche Muffins recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Gluten-Free 2-Minute Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Mug Muffins
Sugar: 3 grams
Protein: 11 grams
If you didn't have time to prep breakfast muffins for the week, this microwavable recipe is a life-saver. All you need is a mug and a handful of healthy ingredients including an egg, pumpkin puree, golden flaxseed meal and honey for a touch of natural sweetness.
"Although honey is metabolized similar to other sugars, it's less processed than a lot of added sugars on the market," Modell says. "Raw honey may also hold some antioxidants, which are beneficial for your overall health — especially your immune system."
And with more than 7 grams of fiber in one cup of canned pumpkin, the fall staple is a phenomenal source of this filling macronutrient. So, consider adding pumpkin to your daily diet to help increase your fiber intake.
Get the Gluten-Free 2-Minute Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Mug Muffins recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Keto Blueberry Muffins
Sugar: 2 grams
Protein: 7 grams
They might seem basic, but blueberries are one of the healthiest foods you can include in your muffins. Not only do they add a tart flavor, but they're packed with health-boosting antioxidants.
Researchers found that a high intake of anthocyanins (the pigments that give blueberries their color) is linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, according to a January 2013 study of 93,600 participants published in the journal Circulation. Combined with almond flour, stevia and heavy cream, these keto muffins bring on all the fluffy cake vibes.
Get the Keto Blueberry Muffins recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Pumpkin Spice Muffin
Sugar: 8 grams
Protein: 11 grams
Considering how healthy pumpkins are, these muffins should be enjoyed all year long — not just in the fall months.
"Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, antioxidants and fiber, with one cup of canned pumpkin clocking in at 7 grams," Modell says. With the addition of honey, pumpkin pie spices and flaxseed meal — which is filled with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids — these healthy muffins won't last long.
And get this: Flax seeds are linked to protection against heart disease, cancer and diabetes and may also help bolster gastrointestinal health, according to a May 2019 article published in Nutrients.
Get the Pumpkin Spice Muffin recipe and nutrition info here.
6. No-Flour Blueberry and Oatmeal 3-Minute Microwave Muffin
Sugar: 9 grams
Protein: 12 grams
This is one of the healthiest muffins around. Instead of using flour, it's primarily made from oats, giving you all the benefits of eating a bowl of oatmeal — just in muffin-form.
"Oats are a complex carbohydrate and are rich in soluble fiber. They're also packed with magnesium, iron and B vitamins," Modell says. Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to slow digestion, increase satiety and suppress appetite, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Bonus: Because of the oat base, these muffins can be made in the microwave in a few short minutes.
Get the No-Flour Blueberry and Oatmeal 3-Minute Microwave Muffin recipe and nutrition info here.
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- Circulation: “High Anthocyanin Intake Is Associated With a Reduced Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Young and Middle-Aged Women”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Oats”
- USDA: “Blueberries and Health”
- USDA FoodData Central: “Pumpkin, Canned, Without Salt”
- Nutrients: “Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health”
- USDA: "Gourmet Blueberry Muffins"