The Bran Muffin Recipe this Nutritionist Swears By
Add protein and fiber to your breakfast with this nutritionist-approved healthy bran muffin recipe, without the excess fat and sugar.
Are bran muffins healthy?
When you think of bran muffins, you likely think that’s a healthy breakfast—right? But that’s rarely the case. A bran muffin can pack in 300 calories or more, oodles of added sugar, and lots of butter and sodium. And that doesn’t even include the extra butter you’ll probably spread on the bran muffin.
A nutritionist-approved bran muffin recipe
Just because a muffin contains bran doesn’t mean its good for you. That’s why we chatted with registered dietitian Julia Robarts, RDN, based in Boston, about how to make a healthy—yet delicious—bran muffin. You can scroll all the way down to see her recipe for old-fashioned bran muffins.
Each muffin has 240 calories and can be the start of a balanced breakfast. “This recipe is lower in fat and sugar, while still rocking that classic bran muffin flavor,” says Robarts.
To be exact, this dietitian-approved muffin has only 1.5 grams saturated fat and 14 grams sugar. About half of that is added sugar. Robarts cuts down the sugar content with additions like unsweetened applesauce, raisins, and cinnamon. “While these muffins have less sugar than a typical muffin, you certainly won’t miss it,” she says. (You’ll definitely taste the natural sweetness in this healthy banana muffin recipe.)
A healthy bran muffin is fueling
This bran muffin boasts 5 grams protein and 4 grams fiber, both nutrients that help to keep you fueled longer. “A healthy bran muffin recipe provides a good dose of fiber, while not going overboard on sugar or fat,” says Robarts. “This bran muffin gets its significant fiber number from wheat bran and whole-wheat flour, as well as walnuts and raisins. The protein comes from a combination of milk, wheat, and walnuts.”
“The ingredients should include whole grains, like wheat bran and whole-wheat flour, along with blackstrap molasses for authentic flavor,” adds Robarts.
The molasses isn’t just for flavor, though—it also provides nutrition. “The muffin is a good source of iron, thanks to the blackstrap molasses,” she adds. Iron is an important nutrient that helps supply oxygen to different parts of your body. The bran muffin is also a good source of bone-building calcium.
The benefits don’t stop there. “The fiber and cinnamon both support good blood glucose control, while the walnuts contribute health-promoting antioxidants,” says Robarts. Don’t miss these other healthy muffin recipes that are also packed with nutrients.
A balanced breakfast
Now, how to eat a nutritious bran muffin? “The deep rich flavors of a bran muffin are the perfect companion to cold-brewed coffee,” says Robarts. “I wanted to create a recipe with a taste rivaling that of commercially prepared bran muffins but that kicks off your morning right by delivering all the flavor, fiber, and protein without excessive fat and sugar.”
To balance out the muffin with enough protein to fuel your morning, consider pairing it with a couple of hardboiled eggs. Round out your meal with a healthy pumpkin spice latte.
Make the muffin even healthier
If you’re salt sensitive or following a low-sodium diet, you can experiment by slightly reducing the amount of added salt in this recipe. See the best and worst breakfasts for weight loss.
Healthy Bran Muffin recipe
Courtesy Julia Robarts
Makes 12 muffins
- Cooking spray, if needed
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 F. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a standard muffin tin either by coating each well with a generous layer of spray oil, or by lining each with a cupcake liner. Set aside. In a medium bowl, add brown sugar, molasses, applesauce, milk, eggs, and oil. Stir with a whisk or large spoon until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir with a fork until well combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir everything together just until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix. Fold in raisins and walnuts. Fill each well about 80 percent full. Dot the tops with a few raisins and walnuts, if desired. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
The muffins are done when the top is no longer wet and is set. Be sure to check the doneness by touch, as the batter is dark brown and, thus, it’s difficult to tell doneness by sight. Allow the muffins to rest in the pan for a few minutes before removing them to continue cooling on a rack.
Nutritional information per serving:
Cal: 240 Fat: 13 g Sat fat: 1.5 g Pro: 5 g Carbs: 29 g Sugar: 14 g Fiber: 4 g Chol: 35 mg Sod: 280 mg
- Julia Robarts, MS, MPH, RDN, based in Boston