Get-healthy Blueberry Bran Muffins

January is a popular time to begin healthy lifestyle plans, but that doesn’t have to mean eliminating fresh baked goods. Some simple tricks can keep familiar favorites on your ‘good list’, like using flaxseed meal in muffins or breads. Flaxseed meal is a source of omega 3 fatty acids, and can replace up to 2/3 of the fat in muffins or breads, plus it adds extra fiber.

This muffin I developed for Driscoll’s berries is moist and light, and is packed with whole grains. Look for flaxseed meal in 1 pound bags (I usually buy Bob’s Redmill brand) either in the baking or health foods section of most supermarkets.

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Blueberry Bran Muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup oat or wheat bran
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice or water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 package (6 oz) fresh blueberries, raspberries, or about 1 cup combination of both

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with papers or coat with cooking spray.
Combine dry ingredients (whole wheat flour through salt) in a large bowl; stir well.
Stir together yogurt, oil, eggs and juice or water in a small bowl. Add to dry mixture; stir to nearly blend wet and dry ingredients.
Fold in blueberries just until batter is completely moistened. Divide batter between prepared muffin cups. (Batter can be refrigerated overnight. Increase bake-time to 24 minutes.)
Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown and pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack.

Nutrition per muffin: 297 calories; 7 grams fat (.9 gr sat fat); 54 grams cholesterol; 5 grams fiber; 282 grams sodium; 50 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams protein

Kitchen Notes:

Many breads, crackers and cereals on grocery shelves now sport flax as an added ingredient, so I thought you might like to know a little about it:

– Flax is a blue flowered plant native to the area from the Mediterranean to India, now grown in the cool climates of the northern US and western Canada.
– Grown for both seeds and fiber: seeds produce milled grain and oil; fibers produce linen textiles.
– Flaxseed oil is also known as linseed oil, has a strong flavor, and is used in low amounts as a nutritional supplement high in omega 3 fatty acids.
– The seeds need to be ground to produce the most useable digestive fiber. Two tablespoons flaxseed meal has 4 grams fiber.
– Golden and brown flaxseeds are different varieties very similar nutritionally.

– 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal can replace 1 tablespoon of fat in baking (other adjustments may be needed).
– 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal soaked in 3 tablespoons water can replace 1 egg in pancakes, muffins or cookies. (recipe may rise less)



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