It’s no secret that over the past few decades Americans have become larger. The slow, steady increased portion sizes that have accompanied our expansion has been much more subtle. I’m not talking about the super-sized restaurant-sized portions that can fill up two or more people; that kind of excess is pretty obvious. I’m talking about things like muffins, bagels, and sandwiches, things we now expect to be really big, but weren’t always.
Take muffins for example; they used to weight roughly 1.5 oz. Today’s 5 oz coffee shop muffins are notorious calorie bombs, some coming in at 20 grams of fat and 500 calories or more. The “normal” serving size has more than tripled! I try to avoid these “fat traps” altogether by making my own muffins, which have the added benefits of not only being reasonably sized (because who really has the willpower to carefully dissect a muffin in half and eat the other properly portioned half tomorrow), but are also jammed packed with fiber to keep me fuller longer than a sugar laden sweet.
Let me let you in on one of the biggest secrets there is to losing weight.
You have to make the time to prepare meals and snacks. It is really hard to lose weight or even maintain your weight if you are relying on restaurants or packaged foods, because their job is to maximize profits, not your health. I’m not saying that you need to bake from scratch everyday in order to eat well, but you at least need to be aware of what and how much you are consuming, which is much easier to do if you know exactly what has gone into your meal.
These muffins are definitely NOT dessert sweet, but if you’d like a sweeter taste to them I suggest you drizzle some honey or jam on them right before you are about to eat one. You get a much more intense taste of sweet using much less than you would if you included sweetener in the batter. Also, you can use any fruit or nut combination here, just make sure the fruit is really juicy, like pineapple, mango, or peach. A final tip: I immediately freeze my muffins after I eat one. When I want one later I take out a single muffin to defrost. This prevents me from eating half the pan in one sitting!
Coconut Papaya Muffins
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
4 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
1 papaya, peeled and diced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with olive oil
2. Combine coconut, 2 tablespoons flour, and 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts in a small bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; stir to combine. Set aside.
3. Whisk the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs, milk, and coconut (or vanilla) extract in a medium bowl until well combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Add papaya and the remaining 2 tablespoons nuts; stir just to combine. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
4. Bake the muffins until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack at least 5 minutes more before serving.
Calories 155, Fat 7 g, Carbohydrate 19.5 g, Fiber 3.5 g, Protein 4 g