Most years during high school, our band director planned a week-long trip for our marching band during the second half of our winter break. A few days after Christmas, we packed our suitcases and loaded our instruments onto five big charter buses, and we headed down I-5 to Southern California.
Although the main destination was always a field show competition, one where we performed a selection of music while moving all around a football field to the corresponding choreography, our band director was a huge Disneyland fan… So our trips always included a stop at the Happiest Place On Earth, too!
To justify the day or two we spent at the theme park, our band director set up a parade performance for us. We met in Toontown, in the very back of Disneyland, and a few park employees led us through the hidden performers’ gate and around the backstage areas to the locker rooms so we could change into our dark blue band uniforms.
After grabbing our instruments and warming up, the same employees walked us through more secret backstage pathways, and we ended up at a gate towards the very front of the theme park that opened up onto Main Street. At the designated time, they flung open the gate, and we marched down Main Street, turned right at the statue of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney in the middle of the park, and wove our way past the Matterhorn and Tea Cups to turn right at It’s A Small World and exit out a different gate, all while playing festive Christmas-themed music.
As a result, we spent many New Year’s Eves and New Year’s Days in Anaheim! We stayed in hotels less than a mile down the street from Disneyland, along with the dozens of parent chaperones who kept an eye on us, and each morning, the hotel kitchens would prepare a large buffet breakfast for us.
With over 300 people to feed, the kitchens put out plenty of options — scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, oatmeal, pancakes and maple syrup, toast and jam, cereal and milk, and even cupcake-like muffins! — yet very few of the items seemed healthy… Besides the platters of fresh fruit.
But as teenagers, we didn’t mind one bit! We loaded up our plates, often with as many carbs as possible to fuel us for long days of running around Disneyland and trying to hop on as many rides as possible, and we thoroughly enjoyed every bite of our sugary breakfasts.
While driving past Anaheim earlier this week shortly after Christmas with my dad, those high school band trip memories came flooding back… Especially the days in Disneyland and sweet hotel breakfasts!
Yet as an adult, I was so grateful for and happy with these Healthy Morning Glory Oatmeal Muffins I had tucked into the car for us instead! Unlike the hotel’s options, these contain no refined flour or sugar… Yet they’re just as supremely moist and fluffy!
They also have lots of cozy spices, fun mix-ins (carrots! apples! raisins! coconut! nuts!), and protein-packed Greek yogurt to keep you full all morning long. Even better? These healthy oatmeal morning glory muffins are 130 calories!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY MORNING GLORY OATMEAL MUFFINS
Let’s go over how to make these healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins!
You’ll actually start with the oats… Specifically instant oats! They’re also called “quick-cooking” or “one-minute” oats, and they’re smaller and thinner than traditional old-fashioned rolled oats. This means they soften faster, which gives your healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins the most moist and fluffy texture imaginable!
Hint: Instant oats are not the kind sold in individual brown paper packets with flavors like “apple cinnamon” and “maple brown sugar.” The only ingredient in instant oats is oats, and you can find them in regular canisters right next to the traditional old-fashioned rolled oats at the grocery store!
Just remember, it’s extremely important to measure the oats (and flour — but we’ll get to that in a minute!) correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. Too much will dry out your batter and make your muffins dry and crumbly, rather than tender and fluffy. This is because oats act like little sponges and soak up as much moisture as they can!
To give the oats a “soaking up” head start, you’ll mix them with Greek yogurt, some milk, and a splash of vanilla extract. If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, then you already know how much I love baking with Greek yogurt! In this recipe, it adds the same moisture as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories, and it gives your healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins a protein boost too!
Time for the next bowl! Here, you’ll whisk together white whole wheat flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Yes, white whole wheat flour actually exists… And it’s not just a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular 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… And that lets the moist and fluffy texture of your healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins truly shine!
For the spices, you’ll need cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. This is my favorite cinnamon, and I actually buy it online here! It tastes richer, stronger, and a bit sweeter than regular cinnamon. It’s the only kind I use in my baking now! Then the allspice and nutmeg help create a deeper, warmer, and cozier flavor. It’s definitely worth using all three spices in these healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins!
Remember how you mixed Greek yogurt in with your instant oats? And how that added a lot of moisture to your muffin batter? That means you only need ½ tablespoon of butter or coconut oil… And no egg yolks. Just two egg whites. That really helps keep your healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins low calorie and low fat!
Then to sweeten your muffins, you’ll use another one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also really concentrated… You just need 1 ½ teaspoons to sweeten this entire batch of healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins. That’s the equivalent of nearly ¾ cup of granulated sugar!
Tip: Many stevia brands and products have different sweetness levels, so I highly recommend using the same one I do for the best results! I buy it online here because that’s the cheapest price I’ve found, and I love how I don’t notice any strange aftertastes when I bake with it. You’ll also use it in all of these recipes of mine!
Of course, it’s impossible to make these healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins without the mix-ins! The first morning glory muffins were baked by Chef Pam McKinstry. She ran the Morning Glory Café in Nantucket, and she created the recipe around 1980 to serve her restaurant visitors. Her original version included quite a variety of mix-ins, most of which you’ll use in your healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins too!
First, you’ll need freshly grated carrots. Yes… They must be 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 few extra moments of grating your own! (And if you own a food processor with a grater attachment, that makes the process go much faster!)
Second, you’ll need finely diced apples. I always use Fuji apples for my muffins! They have a lovely naturally sweet flavor, and they have a great firm texture that doesn’t turn mushy or mealy after baking. They’re my favorite apples for baking! (And because someone always asks… I leave the apple peels on. I’m lazy — and I also love that texture contrast!)
Third, you’ll need raisins. However, I have a special trick for you! Instead of dumping them in straight from the container… Hydrate your raisins first!
This is really simple to do. Add your raisins to a microwave-safe bowl, cover them with water, and place a lid or plastic wrap on top. Microwave them for 1 minute. Let them sit while you measure and mix together the rest of the ingredients. By the time you’re ready to stir them into the batter, the raisins will be exceptionally plump and juicy! (I do this for every recipe that includes raisins now. It’s a total game-changer!)
Finally, you’ll need finely diced pecans and shredded unsweetened coconut. (← That’s the coconut that I use!) I’m actually not a big fan of nuts or coconut in my baked goods… So I use very little of them. If you’re the opposite, then you’re more than welcome to add more to your muffin batter. I won’t judge one bit! 😉
One last tip for you! Low fat batters, like with these healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins, tend to stick to liners like superglue… So if you want to use liners like I did in these photos, then generously coat them with cooking spray first! This helps the liners peel away from the muffins much more easily.
Tip: If you forget — or if you aren’t generous enough — and the muffins still stick to the liners, then seal them inside of an airtight container or zip-topped bags, and refrigerate them for 24+ hours. This helps loosen the liners so they peel away better!
So… How do these look and sound as a yummy 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 healthy morning glory oatmeal muffins!
Healthy Morning Glory Oatmeal Muffins
- ¾ cup (75g) instant oats (gluten-free if necessary and measured like this)
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (270mL) nonfat milk, divided
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ 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
- 1 ½ tsp liquid stevia
- 1 ½ cups (160g) freshly grated carrots (about 2 medium-large, peeled first!)
- ¾ cup (94g) finely diced Fuji apple (about 1 small)
- 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 13 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. (If using liners, then line 13 muffins cups with liners and coat them with cooking spray.)
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, Greek yogurt, 6 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a third bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and liquid stevia. Add in the oat mixture, stirring until no lumps remain. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and remaining ¾ cup of milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 4 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 22-26 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…
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Morning Glory Muffins
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Morning Glory Zucchini Bread
♡ Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Muffins
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy muffin recipes!