Harvard Health Letter

6 ways to tame the modern muffin

Start by downsizing it. Then swap out some of the white flour, use plenty of vegetable oil, and add whipped egg whites, zest, and nuts.

If you want to see a good example of where the American diet has gone wrong, you needn't look any further than the morning muffin. It used to be smaller than a coffee cup, short and stout. Now the muffins you buy at a supermarket or coffee shop are big, top-heavy things, brimming out of the corrugated paper that cinches in their bottoms. Always sweet, now they are sweeter, sometimes with sugar sprinkled on top. Salt is added to enhance the flavor.

The Harvard School of Public Health's nutrition department and The Culinary Institute of America have joined forces to come up with a healthier muffin that's still appetizing and retains its muffin-ness: sweet, moist, and airy. The "Great Muffin Makeover" collaboration has resulted in five recipes. The one for blueberry muffins is below, and you can find the other four on the nutrition department's website, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource. Co-workers here at Harvard Health Publications have brought in the results of several of the recipes, and they've passed the taste test with flying colors — and flown right out of the office kitchen.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »