Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
Healthy Vegan Banana Muffins! Naturally sweetened and packed with bananas, pecans, wheat germ and whole-grain flours.
Muffins are not cupcakes.
But, if you were to head to most coffee shops or do a quick online search for muffin recipes, it’d be easy to confuse the two. I love breakfast muffins as a portable, grab-and-go snack that I can eat on my way out the door in the morning or as I’m trying to feed Vander, pack lunch and get dressed– usually all at the same time.
I don’t want my muffins to contain a cup of sugar. Or chocolate chips. Those are called cupcakes and should be treated as such.
So, I stuffed all of my favorite healthy foods into this muffin: bananas, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, raisins and a touch of maple syrup for sweetener. Refined sugar and white-flour free, these are muffins that act like muffins.
I’m currently in Scottsdale, Arizona at the annual Produce for a Better Health conference, a conversation between nutrition professionals and growers/producers on how we can increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Most of us fall way short of the recommended consumption amounts and yet, we know how healthy they are for us. Where is the disconnect? Of course, this is not a simple answer.
It’s like the butterfly effect, one small change in one area creates a ripple effect in something else. From the large, systemic issues like immigration policies as it relates to labor, food insecurity, access and water challenges to individual concerns around health concerns, expenses, food waste and taste/appeal. Simply telling you to ‘eat more’ isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds.
I don’t have the answers. Our food system has so many moving parts, though I’m inspired by the trends: the rise of plant-forward/vegetarian/vegan eating patterns and the sustainability around several produce markets.
Two things kept standing out to me: the idea that many Americans feel that they cannot afford to eat healthy, even though they want to, and that food waste is part of the cycle that increases produce costs.
The first one really resonates with me, especially as a new mom. I’m well aware of my own privilege and the fact that I have the education around nutrition and the means to be able to purchase the groceries that I want.
All fruits and vegetables are important, organic, non-organic, fresh, canned, dried and frozen. I don’t think it’s important to split hairs between the small nutrition differences around the forms, the fact is that the majority of American’s don’t eat enough of them. So, I’m going to commit to sharing more varieties in my recipes. One thing that kept coming up was that as we increased messaging around fresh fruits and vegetables saw a decrease in canned and frozen; with many people believing that they weren’t as nutritious and therefore stopped eating them.
I don’t think this is helpful; my goal from the beginning has been to make fruits and vegetables easy and delicious. I want you to choose fruits over the chips, even if that means canned peaches because that’s accessible and affordable.
I’m pro-choice. Choose what works best for you and your family- whether that’s organic, conventional, fresh, frozen, dried, canned, ect. I’m not stressed about the small nutritional differences between them. Since we aren’t getting enough anyways, eat more however you can.
I plan on sharing more on these topics after I’ve had more time to digest and organize my thoughts.
These muffins contain two forms of fruits: very-ripe bananas and dried golden raisins. They are my answer to a grab-and-go breakfast option that isn’t packed with sugar. Like I said, I love muffins but I don’t want my muffin to be a cupcake in disguise.
I wanted to create a wholesome snack or meal that everyone could enjoy, sweetened mostly with ripe bananas and a smidge of pure maple syrup. Ripe bananas are they key! These won’t work with just-ripe bananas, they need to be nice and speckled.
Place the bananas and other ingredients into a food processor to blend until creamy. This helps the muffins bind together, since mashing bananas with a fork doesn’t always break them down enough. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend, then add in raisins and pecans.
Golden raisins are another secret sweetener
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Healthy Vegan Banana Muffins! Naturally sweetened and packed with bananas, pecans, wheat germ and whole-grain flours. Perfect for kids and breakfast!
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