Here is my first (of probably many) food preparation and nutrition blogs. One thing that I have become good at over the years is meal planning and eating 90% or more of our meals at home. We were sort of forced into this situation due to severe food allergies (which makes eating pre-prepared food and fast food nearly impossible). It was an adjustment at first but now, I don’t spend a lot of time during a week cooking and most of the time, I can make dinners in the evenings faster than I could go dive through somewhere.
We all have heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and know that we should be eating breakfast. But what usually happens? These excuses: I’m not hungry in the morning (you are but your brain is used to shutting the feeling down cause you don’t eat) and I don’t have the time to eat breakfast (but you have the time to drive through Dunkin or McD’s?). I am definitely a victim of the “I don’t have time to make anything” excuse. My solution to this was creating a perfect breakfast muffin.
I wanted to make something that I could grab with one had out of the fridge and eat while I was running around after Ari in the mornings. We have to leave our house by 6:20am on a weekday, which means I’m up by 4:45. So my options were to wake up 30 minutes earlier so I can cook myself breakfast (HA! No.) or find something that I can eat on the go.
This ideal on-the-go-food would be easy to make, nutritious (whole ingredients, high in protein and good fats to stay full, and no added sugars), and something that can be eaten with one hand (and no mess). I tried making egg cups for a while, but they didn’t meet the third criteria. Muffins meet the third wicket, but are usually not that nutritious and can be a PITA to make. Still, I thought that the perfect muffin was the way to go.
I started the experiment with this basic recipe. It had a lot of great things about it already: It was easy to make (I’m a horrible baker and can’t mess these up), easy cleanup, and generally good ingredients. They taste great (especially with the chocolate chips) but they are not very filling so I would be hungry again in an hour if I ate two. They also have more sugar in them than I would like. My goal for the “new and improved” version was to up the protein and good fat content to stay full and lower the sugar. And let’s be real, if I could find a way to sneak veggies in there than it would be a perfect little balanced meal in my hand.
I decided to try four different versions of the muffin: a banana coconut one, banana and flax, blueberry lemon, and a “green” muffin made with some added veggies and avocado. I started each batch with the “muffin base”
- 2C rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 1.25C FULL FAT plain Greek yogurt
- 3 scoops Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder (side note: this brand is the BEST out there, and the classic plus powder is amazing for adding into baking recipes as a substitute for some of the flour)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the first three muffins, I added two bananas. For the veggie muffin, I added 2 smaller avocados.
Then the experimentation began. For the banana coconut muffins, I added in 2/3C of shredded UNSWEETENED coconut and 3TBSP of chia seeds. For the banana flax muffins, I added a little over 1/2C of flax seeds (raw and unsalted). For the blueberry lemon muffins, I added 2/3C frozen blueberries and 2 TBSP lemon peel. Finally, for the veggie ones, I added three scoops of this Ultimate Greenzone Powder and some almond extract [I use the almond extract in my smoothies to cut the “leaf” flavor from the greenzone powder, so I figured it would work in the muffins too].
I set up a bit of an assembly line in the kitchen using two 12 cup muffin pans. While the first dozen muffins cooked, I was able to rinse out the food processor, process the second batch of batter, and load it into the other muffin pan. Then repeat for the next batch while batch 1 cools and batch 2 cooks. This way, I made 4 dozen muffins in one and a half hours [Cassie was taking a great nap that afternoon!].
After everything was made, I split the muffins into dozens with 3 of each flavor in them. I put three dozen in freezer bags to save for later. I would go through 12 of these in a week (two is a perfect size for breakfast for me). One and a half hours of work meant breakfast was covered for a month!
None of these combos came out “bad” but the banana coconut ones were definitely my favorite. The green veggie muffins didn’t freeze well and went bad way faster than any of the other ones (I found that out the hard way by saving one until day 5). The blueberry lemon ones were great out of the oven, but very “meh” after being frozen/in the fridge.
But the banana coconut muffins, how do I love thee? They take 30 minutes tops from start to finish (including cleanup) to make. They are nutritional power houses and they are delicious. I’ve made them weekly on Sunday’s to set myself up for great breakfasts to go so many times now. You should definitely try them out!