I have always been a breakfast person. My son, Paxton, has inherited this love. He must eat within the first half hour of waking–even quicker than that if he had his way–or he goes from sweet to sour faster than you can say “overnight oats.” I’ve always been one to eat when I wake up or to at least have something quick as I head off to school, both as a student and as a teacher. My lack of understanding of true nutritional value combined with my own hectic, early morning routine left me picking at not-so-healthy breakfasts. I used to live off of cereal or Pop Tarts. In the last few years, I became more aware of my sugary morning selections and opted for green smoothies.
This switch to a healthier, green-filled breakfast didn’t completely abolish my frequent stops to the coffee chain on the corner for a latte and a muffin. At least I wasn’t getting a donut, right? Wrong! Check out the nutritional information for the donuts and muffins at the coffee shop “America runs on” and you may be surprised to learn that one muffin has 100-200 more calories than the average donut. That same muffin has 20% of a person’s suggested daily fat intake and 25% of a person’s suggested daily carb intake. For one muffin. One. I should have been getting the donuts!
But honestly, my tastes have evolved as my understanding on a body’s need for macronutrients continues to develop. I am no expert, but I am learning. I now know how vital protein is, especially in the morning, in order for my body to perform most effectively each day. I now know that I cannot cut fat from my diet, but that I can focus on healthy fats for optimal fat burning and muscle development. I now know that my mind was the roadblock to my enjoyment of and dedication to making healthy meals–not my tastebuds nor my busy schedule.
I also now know that I am obsessed with rolled oats. Check out past recipes or any of my videos on my Facebook page, and you will see this love affair in action. But rolled oats are more than just an ingredient for clean oatmeal. I have made overnight oats, chicken meatballs, turkey meatloaf, protein cookies, and energy balls with this power ingredient–and that is just a sampling. I have also been able to tap into my muffin habit of yore and create healthy, protein-and-healthy-fat-packed muffins full of delicious ingredients that fit into my clean lifestyle and family’s various morning needs.
I found two recipes that I absolutely love: apple pie oat muffins and banana zucchini oatmeal cups. I’ve made these each multiple times and have shared them with friends and family–all of whom enjoyed them–so I decided to give my own recipe a whirl. I was inspired by Easter and all of the leftover carrots floating around my kitchen and, with a bit of tweaking from these two recipes and my own understanding of what makes carrot cake yummy, I came up with the following. Vary it however you’d like for the perfect healthy morning muffin.
Carrot 'Cake' Oat Muffins
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tbsp water (to create flax eggs)
- 3 overripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/4 cup all-natural almond butter or peanut butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
- 1/3 cup raisins (halve these if you want more raisin-per-bite ratio)
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans (option
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. I used coconut oil.
- Combine flax seeds and water. Let gel. (Or, use one whole egg or two egg whites).
- Mash three bananas with a fork and combine with carrot, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
- Add all dry ingredients, except for raisins, pecans, and coconut. Stir to combine. Then, fold in final three ingredients, or any combination of them.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then loosen with a knife, and enjoy! Store any leftovers in the fridge or freeze for later!
These are simple, wholesome, and clean. Let me know below if you give these a try and if you mixed up the ingredients in any way. I’d love to hear of your results.