Monday, March 14, 2016

Healthy Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

It's always a win-win when you find a recipe for a classic that adds a healthy twist AND preserves the taste factor. Let's face it. Anybody can throw in a tablespoon of chia seeds and claim a recipe is now suddenly "healthy" (though these are still yummy). It takes a deeper dive to figure out how to walk the line.

Fortunately, that's what Bren did over at "What Bren Did." What a fitting blog title. She took the standard chocolate muffin recipe and shook it up a little. 

For starters, there is no flour in the mix. That's not to say flour is bad for you but it adds simple carbohydrates which have minimal nutritional value. Instead, she uses straight oat flour made from old-fashioned oats as the base. These oats are great because they have soluble fiber, complex carbs, and vitamins. All positives for your digestive tract and cardio. 

Holding the mix together is your choice of ripe bananas or unsweetened apple sauce. No need for oils or butter. Unprocessed, natural goodness with potassium. 

The dark color is thanks to the unsweetened cocoa powder which has all the health benefits of dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa) with less calories. It supports cardiovascular health by soothing internal inflammation and is full of essential minerals like zinc, manganese, and iron. 

Sweetness has to come from somewhere! Fortunately, it's from honey as opposed to straight sugar. Honey is filled with all sorts of benefits but be weary of the type you purchase. Pasteurized honey is stripped of most of its nutrients in the heating process. Shop for the raw and local stuff.

Lastly, don't black out on the chocolate chips. I always opt for the darkest chocolate possible, with the minimum being 70% cacao. All the health properties of dark chocolate are in that percentage because the less cacao, the less nutrition. The rest of the chocolate bar is generally butter and sugar. Go hard or go home.
Minor adjustments can be made for those with dietary restrictions. Instead of regular milk, I opted for almond milk because it's my favorite and that's that. For the vegans, you all know the culinary magic trick of substituting eggs with flax seeds! Also, the cocoa powder can be substituted with carob powder but you may want to reduce since it packs a kick of flavor.

We thoroughly enjoyed these muffins and they were great in the morning on the run. They are light yet filling without the guilt of the standard grab and go carb. This will be a go-to recipe when we have extra bananas lying around the house.

The recipe for these Healthy Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins can be found on Bren Did It. Hat's off to a tasty treat!