Something Different
Week of: January 11, 2010
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Resolve to Make Muffins in 2010

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

Are you still keeping your New Years’ resolutions? How about the ones to get healthier, eat better and cut calories?

Every January, I remind myself that the key to successfully creating change is taking baby steps. Proceeding gradually when making a new habit softens the discomfort of living differently, making it more tolerable. So if your resolutions include making breakfast more healthful, here is support for sticking with it.

Muffins are probably on your no-go list for eating better. But you need not give them up. I particularly like making these lean Banana Oatmeal Muffins on the weekend, as a treat and a nice change from quick weekday breakfasts.

These good-tasting whole-grain muffins include plenty of fiber. Applesauce helps keep them moist as well as lower in fat. I prefer regular applesauce because of the modest amount of sugar in this recipe, but you can use natural applesauce if you prefer. Just know that the result, while delicious, will be less tender. I also recommend using a light-colored muffin tin.

These muffins are great spread with marmalade or wild blueberry jam. And the smell of home baking reminds you that you have made something special while being good to yourself on a leisurely morning.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats, not quick-cooking
  • 1 cup 1% or fat-free buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana, 2 or 3 bananas
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In large mixing bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and set aside for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drop foil liners into a 12-cavity muffin tin with 3-inch cups. Coat inside of liners generously with cooking spray and set aside. Or, spray muffin tin without using liners; this produces muffins with a chewier crust.

In small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Break egg into bowl with soaked oats and beat it lightly with fork, then mix it in. Add applesauce, banana and sugar, and whisk until wet ingredients are well blended. Add dry ingredients, whisking just until they are combined: over mixing makes muffins tough. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle walnuts over top of muffins.

Bake 20 minutes, or until bamboo skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 3 minutes, then turn the muffins out onto wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Note: If not using liners, run a thin knife around between muffins and pan before turning them out.

Makes 12 muffins

Per muffin: 180 calories, 4.5 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 180 mg sodium

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at

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