A pumpkin delight!

Happy hump day!

Since it is officially fall now, I have been craving everything PUMPKIN! I mean everything. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin frozen yogurt (at Orange Leaf-I WILL be trying this soon!), and the list goes on....So the other night, I found a recipe for pumpkin muffins and decided to make them for Derek and I to have for breakfast this week. I do this a lot since we are always on the go and usually have to grab something to eat in the car on our separate commutes to work!

The recipe is from BettyCrocker.com. Love me some Betty!

You can find the recipe here.

 Picture from BettyCrocker.com

I made a few alterations to it, so I thought I'd share:
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil  (I used 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce)
2 eggs
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Coarse sugar, if desired

It looks like a lot of ingredients but most are spices! As a registered dietitian (RD), of course I looked at the nutrient content of the recipe, only because I knew it was provided on the website and I was curious to see what all was packed into these muffins! This is one reason why I love getting recipes from www.bettycrocker.com  
Not only do they allow you to search your recipes by specific meals, holidays, and ingredients that you already have in your kitchen, but they provide the nutrient content of the recipes. 

Here's a look at the nutrient content per muffin (without any recipe alterations)

Nutrition Information: (you know, the food label)

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1 Muffin) Calories 300 (Calories from Fat 120), Total Fat 14g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 35mg; Sodium 180mg; Total Carbohydrate 40g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 21g), Protein 4g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 60%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 8%; Iron 10%;
Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 2 1/2 Fat;Carbohydrate Choices: 2 1/2; *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Dont. freak. out.  
I recalculated the nutrient content of the muffins (based on each ingredient's label that I used) with the variations that I made to the recipe and each muffin came out to be only 100 calories (108 to be exact...but who's counting?). This is awesome for breakfast because you can still have milk with it, spread some peanut butter on it (this is what I do!) or enjoy some eggs with it! YUM!

The reason for the alterations? 
1. By taking out the pecans, I was able to reduce the calories and fat (nuts are very concentrated in calories in fat). A little goes a long way; however, if you like nuts, keep them in! They are a great source of fiber!

2. By cutting the amount of oil in half, I was also able to reduce calories and fat. The reason I substituted canola oil is because canola is a polyunsaturated fat (aka, it is UNsaturated and is a better fat choice than vegetable oil, which is a saturated fat-a little more heart healthy!)
--Applesauce is commonly used in recipes as a substitution for oil because it reduces fat/calories and your product will still remain moist. I used 1/4 cup because I didn't completely substitute the oil for applesauce. So 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup applesauce vs. 1/2 cup oil.

3. I took out the dried sweetened cranberries just because I didn't have any. That is another reason the calories were reduced, because these, too, have lots of calories in just a small serving (nutrient dense). If you like them, absolutely include them! They are packed with vitamins and also a good source of fiber!

4. I honestly didn't see the course sugar listed at the end to sprinkle on top!

You could also use whole wheat flour to increase the fiber in the recipe, egg substitute to lower the fat and cholesterol, OR baking splenda to lower the sugar.

And finally, the big, orange squash! PUMPKIN.

Although the pumpkin in this recipe comes from a can, it is still packed with the same nutrients!
Vitamin A- 300%
--what does this mean? well a serving of pumpkin, or 1/2 cup from the can will give you 300% of the daily amount of vitamin A that you need from your diet. WOW. Hence the orange color:)

--all vegetables and fruits are high in fiber, and 5 grams can help you on your way to the minimum of 25grams per day!

Very low fat- only 1/2 gram (0.5g) per serving!

Very low sodium- only 5 mg
--you need about 2400mg each day

And only 40 calories per serving.

ENOUGH SAID. This was a bit lengthy, but I picked apart this tasty recipe to show you what benefits it can provide! Hope this motivated you to go out and bake something pumpkin for yourself!


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