Morning Glory Breakfast Goodness

 I have three words for you: Beautiful Olympic Peninsula…….

While still at home in Bothell, and frantically packing multiple bags with clothes for every weather forecast, my mind was racing with excitement. I finally got to go back to the Olympic Peninsula to see Dane’s family, friends, and play in the wonderful outdoors! Gosh how I love this mini road trip! On my way out the door I noticed three perfectly over ripe bananas, left uneaten by Dane, in the fruit basket. I couldn’t consciously leave them behind. Knowing very well that over the weekend I would have the chance to create something delicious with them, I quickly, yet carefully placed the black and yellow bananas on top of everything else in my backpack, making very sure that later I would not be surprised with a gooey sweet mess.

Within two hours, and after a beautiful sunny warm ferry ride to Kingston, Dane was on the other side awaiting my arrival. With arms, back and shoulders full of multiple bags and backpacks, I stepped off the ferry with a huge grin on my face. Finally I was back on the Olympic Peninsula, with three and a half days of great memories awaiting me.

We played, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we relaxed, we had fun! And yes, I did create something delicious with those three black and yellow over-ripe bananas. After a long run out into the countryside, I came back inspired to create a healthy, light, fiber rich, and tasty morning glory muffin.

In my macronutrients class this past week, I learned a lot about fiber, more specifically soluble and insoluble fiber. We learned that soluble fiber is responsible for satiety, decreasing serum cholesterol levels, supporting beneficial prebiotic growth, and ultimately promoting immune function. While insoluble fiber is predominately responsible for increasing stool mass and transit. The health claims of soluble fiber arise due to its viscous gel-forming properties when mixed with water. This attribute decreases gastric (stomach) emptying which is responsible for the longer sense of satiety. The viscous mass also captures fatty acids and cholesterol, inhibiting their absorption, and promoting their excretion in feces. In addition, soluble fiber has been shown to work as a prebiotic. Due to their high fermentability in the large intestine, soluble fibers promote the colonic growth of lactobacilli and bifidobaceteria, both health-promoting bacteria. Short-chain fatty acids are a side product of fermentation, which also boost immune system function by stimulating the production of macrophages, t-helper lymphocytes, and antibodies. 

Now after all that great information, doesn’t that make you want to eat more soluble fiber?? Great! The recommended fiber intake for women is 25g/day and for men it is 38g/day. Sadly most Americans only consume about 15 grams of fiber each day. Eating fresh fruit and veggies, as well as whole grains will help increase your daily fiber intake. However, the fruits, veggies, and grains, most noted with a high soluble fiber content include oats, legumes, barley, bananas, apples, pears, prunes, and berries, as well as some vegetables including carrots, broccoli, artichokes, and onions. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are whole-grains, brans, nuts, seeds, and most vegetables and fruits.

Inspired by what my professor had to say, I decided to make these morning glory muffins rich in soluble fiber, including carrots, apples, prunes, bananas, and oats. Also, the muffins have insoluble fiber with the addition of spelt flour. With low sugar, low fat, and full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, these muffins are a great on the go snack or part of a healthy breakfast.

Morning Glory Muffins
Makes 13 muffins
2/3 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup unbleached wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
½ large apple with peel, grated
1 medium carrot with peel, grated
3 black and yellow over-ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup dried Italian plums (or any other dried fruit)
2 eggs
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter/oil muffin pans and set aside in freezer.
2.  Mix together all the dry ingredients (spelt flour, unbleached flour, oats, walnuts, brown sugar, dried plums, sea salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger) in a large bowl.
3.  In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients (apple, carrot, bananas, yogurt, and eggs)
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until mixed. Do not stir more than needed.
5. Remove the muffin tins from the freezer and fill with the muffin mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes and test for doneness with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean they are done!

Optional: Sprinkle the tops of muffins prior to baking with a little bit of brown sugar for a crispy sugar top.

Gropper, S and J. Smith: Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism 6th Edition

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