Lemon poppy seed muffins are a calorie-dense food that combine the tang of lemon with the cake-like texture of a muffin. Like any food, portion size makes all the difference. The nutrition in a 2-ounce, home-baked, lemon poppy seed muffin differs significantly from the enormous, 6-ounce version available in coffee shops and bakeries. Breaking down the nutrition information of lemon poppy seed muffins helps you make healthier decisions, whether you're baking them yourself at home or grabbing one from the coffee shop on your way to work.
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The flour, granulated sugar and oil or butter in lemon poppy seed muffins makes them high in calories. A 2-ounce muffin prepared from scratch or a mix contains between 160 and 180 calories. According to MayoClinic.com, an individual weighing 160 pounds would need to jump rope for 12 minutes to burn off the calories in one of these 2-ounce muffins. However, burning off a 5 or 6-ounce lemon poppy seed muffin that contains between 400 to 550 calories, like those sold at bakeries and chain restaurants, would require that same person to jump rope for approximately 40 minutes.
Like any muffin, the ingredients in your lemon poppy seed muffins determine how much fat it contains. A recipe requiring 1/4 cup of vegetable oil for 15 muffins results in each 2-ounce muffin containing about 6 grams of fat. A packaged gourmet or bakery-style lemon poppy seed muffin weighing 6 ounces contains between 15 and 25 grams of fat. Manufacturers of packaged muffins may use a form of processed oil -- called hydrogenated oil, trans fatty acids or simply trans fat -- to extend the shelf life of the muffins. Trans fat increases your bad LDL cholesterol AND lowers your good HDL cholesterol at the same time, so steer clear of it. The nutrition label will tell you if the muffins contain trans fat.
Sugar balances the tartness of the lemon and sweetens the batter of your lemon poppy seed muffins. A 2-ounce muffin contains between 25 and 29 grams of carbohydrates, while a 6-ounce muffin contains nearly 55 grams. Carbohydrate sources in muffins, including sugar and flour, are simple carbs, which means they are digested quickly. This leaves you feeling less full than you would be after eating the same number of whole-grain carbohydrates, says "Harvard Health" editor, P.J. Skerrett.
Improve the healthfulness of your lemon poppy seed muffins by substituting a few key ingredients for more nutrient-dense options. Make your muffins more filling by substituting whole-grain flour for up to half of the all-purpose flour the recipe calls for. Whole-grain flour is a complex carbohydrate that takes longer for your stomach to digest, thus keeping you feeling full and satiated. Substitute applesauce for half the butter or oil in the recipe. Increase the fiber by adding fresh fruit to the batter. Include chopped nuts for fiber and crunch, but be mindful of the extra calories they add, too.