During the fall, nearly every high school morning unfolded exactly the same way. I woke up at 6 am, quickly got dressed and ready for school, and walked into the kitchen less than half an hour later for breakfast. A short while later, either my dad or I would call out, “6:42!” as a reminder to be in the car and backing out of the driveway three minutes later.
At school, I pulled open the band room door and traded my backpack for my flute case. After piecing it together, my friends and I headed out the back door and down to the football field by the time the clock flashed 6:57.
If we waited around any longer, the band director would chastise, “Come on! We’re burnin’ daylight!” to try to herd us out of the band room. As the days turned shorter, his phrase definitely earned some eye rolls… The stars were still faintly twinkling and the sun wouldn’t have even risen at that time in November!
Once all 200+ band members arrived at the football stadium, we lined up in a large rectangular block on the track to practice for our parade competitions first. After completing a lap or two, we switched to the field show on the football field, moving through the blocks and arcs and company fronts the way a ballerina dances across a stage.
On those non-daylight mornings, we tried to delay our field show practice as long as possible… The turf was covered in frost, and my toes went numb within just a few minutes!
Although getting up that early to practice every morning wasn’t always easy, I wouldn’t ever trade marching band or the friendships and competition experiences for anything… But these ultimate healthy morning glory muffins definitely would’ve made certain dark, chilly, starlit mornings much better!
These muffins are supremely moist and tender with plenty of warm cozy spices and fun mix-ins: carrots, apples, raisins, and more! And just look at how tall and pretty they are! Don’t they look like they came from a bakery? Yet they’re actually simple to make with wholesome ingredients!
True breakfast bliss!
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY MORNING GLORY MUFFINS
Let’s go over what ingredients you’ll need to make these ultimate healthy morning glory muffins! Since you probably have baking staples like baking powder, salt, and vanilla in your kitchen already, we’ll stick to the more interesting and important ones for now, starting with…
White whole wheat flour. Yup, white whole wheat flour actually exists — and it’s not a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and whole wheat flour! Instead, white whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture… Which lets the moist and tender texture of these ultimate healthy morning glory muffins truly shine!
Hint: The difference between regular and white whole wheat flour is like the difference between red and green grapes! Same health benefits, just a slightly different taste.
Spices. Three of them, to be exact! Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg add rich, comforting notes. The allspice and nutmeg really round out the flavor and make these healthy morning glory muffins taste even cozier, so I highly recommend using them!
Greek yogurt. Unlike many traditional recipes that call for ¾ cup of oil, this one only requires ½ tablespoon of butter… And zero egg yolks! That really helps keep these healthy morning glory muffins low calorie and low fat.
Instead, they get the majority of their tender texture from Greek yogurt! It’s one of my favorite ingredients in healthy baking. Greek yogurt adds the same moisture to your batter as extra butter or oil — but for a fraction of the calories! It also gives your muffins a protein boost.
Moist morning glory muffins + low calorie + higher protein = my kind of math!
Sweetener. Instead of refined sugar, you’ll sweeten your ultimate healthy morning glory muffins with another one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based no-calorie sweetener, and it contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also highly concentrated. You just need 2 ½ teaspoons to sweeten all 12 muffins!
This is the liquid stevia that I use because I love its sweet flavor and don’t notice any strange aftertaste like with some other stevia products. Although you can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, I often buy mine online here because that’s the best price I’ve found. (And you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine too!)
Tip: Many stevia brands and products have different sweetness levels, so they’re not necessarily 1-for-1 substitutes for each other. For the best results, I highly recommend using the same liquid stevia that I do!
Time for the “morning glory” part of these healthy breakfast muffins! Rumor has it that they were invented in 1978 by Chef Pam McKinstry, the owner of the Morning Glory Café, to serve to guests for breakfast. She included carrots, apples, raisins, coconut, and sometimes nuts or pineapple. Lots of yummy things!
So for these ultimate healthy morning glory muffins, you’ll include the following mix-ins…
Freshly grated carrots. Yes, freshly grated! Store-bought pre-shredded carrots (also called “matchstick carrots”) are thicker and drier, and they don’t soften properly while baking. I promise it’s worth the extra effort of grating your own!
Finely diced apple. I use Fuji apples because they’re naturally sweet and have a lovely firm texture for baking! It’s up to you whether you peel them (I’m lazy and usually leave the skin on!), but be sure to cut them finely, no larger than the size of chocolate chips, so your muffins bake evenly.
Raisins. I actually have a trick for the raisins… I hydrate them first! It’s super easy to do. Just put your raisins to a microwave-safe bowl, add some water, and cover the top with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave them on high for 1 minute. Let them sit while you mix up your ultimate healthy morning glory muffin batter, and they’ll be super plump and juicy by the time you’re ready to stir them in!
Shredded unsweetened coconut. Just a sprinkling! I’m actually not a big fan of coconut, so I usually minimize or leave it out… But you can definitely add more if you prefer!
Finely diced pecans. I’m not really a fan of nuts in my baked goods either… Unless it’s pecan pie! So I only add a small amount to my batches of these ultimate healthy morning glory muffins. I often use these pre-diced pecans as a shortcut!
HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE HEALTHY MORNING GLORY MUFFINS
Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients, let’s talk about how to make the best morning glory muffins! This recipe is simple and straightforward, but I still have some tips so your muffins turn out beautifully moist, tender, and flavorful. Starting with…
Measure correctly. I probably sound like a broken record with how often I repeat myself… But it’s extremely important to properly measure the ingredients — especially the flour! Use this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own!) Too much flour will make your muffins dry or even crumbly, yet if you take a few extra moments to be precise, your healthy morning glory muffins should turn out perfectly moist and soft!
No mixers. That’s right! Put away your stand mixer or hand-held mixer. Those tend to overmix batters that are low fat or sugar-free (like this one!), and overmixing leads to a tough, gummy, or rubbery texture. Instead, gently stir by hand using a whisk where explicitly instructed and a fork for everything else.
Yup, a fork! As strange as this may sound, it’s even better than a spatula or wooden spoon. The open space between the fork’s tines allow the ingredients to pass through and mix more efficiently. You end up stirring less, and that helps yield really fluffy and moist muffins.
Prep the muffin liners. This is one of my secret tricks for baking healthy muffins… Before you add the batter to your pan, coat your muffin liners with nonstick cooking spray. Paper, foil, a regular metal pan, or even silicone — I coat them all!
Why? Low-fat batters (like this one!) stick to most liners like superglue. However, misting them with cooking spray first helps the liners peel away much more easily!
Then dollop the batter inside, pop your pan in the oven, and…
I definitely wouldn’t be tempted to sleep through my alarm if these were my breakfast! 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your ultimate healthy morning glory muffins!
The Ultimate Healthy Morning Glory Muffins
- 2 ¼ cups (270g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tsp liquid stevia
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (240mL) nonfat milk, divided
- 1 ½ cups (160g) freshly grated carrots (about 2 medium-large, peeled first – and see Notes!)
- ¾ cup (94g) finely diced Fuji apple (about 1 small – and see Notes!)
- ¼ cup (40g) raisins (see Notes!)
- 2 tbsp (14g) finely diced pecans
- 2 tbsp (10g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. (If using liners, then line 12 muffins cups with liners and coat them with cooking spray.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla extract, and liquid stevia. Add in the Greek yogurt, stirring until no large lumps remain. Stir in ½ cup of milk. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and remaining ½ cup of milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.) Gently fold in the carrots, apples, raisins, pecans, and coconut.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 21-24 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Pumpkin Muffins
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Zucchini Bread
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Gingerbread
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy muffin recipes!