Popping an English muffin in the toaster gives you a quick, no-fuss breakfast, but you can also enjoy this hearty grain as an easy lunch, simple snack or light dinner. Whether you like sweet muffins topped with seasonal fruit or a savory muffin baked with spicy garden veggies, you can use this versatile bread to make healthy and tasty finger foods.
Most of the calories in English muffins come from carbohydrates, your body's primary source of energy. Turn your muffin into a satisfying meal by adding protein-rich toppings, such as fish, nuts, seeds or lean meats. According to the Centers for Disease Control, you need a minimum of 46 grams of protein a day to build and repair body tissues, and you may need more protein if you are active. Two tablespoons of peanut butter on top of your English muffin provide 8 grams of this body-building nutrient. For an easy, protein-rich lunch, top your toasted muffin with 2 ounces of canned light tuna fish, chopped tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. This simple meal provides 16 grams of protein.
Fruits and Vegetables
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, only 43 percent of adults meet their daily recommended fruit servings and only 57 percent meet their daily veggie needs. Instead of topping your muffin with butter or jelly, make a breakfast fruit tart. Spread a mashed banana on a toasted muffin and top with fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. For your midday snack, squeeze in an extra veggie serving by topping your muffin with leftover roasted vegetables, a little olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
Whether you hit the treadmill every day or just turn into a dancing diva when your favorite song comes on the radio, a calcium-rich diet keeps your bones walking, running and dancing well into old age. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you need 3 cups of low-fat dairy a day to meet your calcium needs. Top your muffin with 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese to meet one-third of your daily calcium needs. For a light calcium-rich meal, make English muffin pizzas. Top a toasted muffin with a spoonful of tomato sauce, a sprinkle of low-fat cheese, peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Your body can't digest fiber, but this unique carbohydrate regulates cholesterol levels in the blood and allows food to pass easily through your digestive system. You need at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and one English muffin provides 2.5 grams of fiber. Whole-grain varieties provide 4.5 grams. Add extra fiber to your meal by topping your English muffin with beans, nuts, seeds, fruits or vegetables. One cup of black beans provides 16 grams of fiber. Throw black beans, salsa, chopped garlic and cumin into your food processor and blend until smooth. Spread the mixture on top of your toasted muffin for an easy, healthy and savory snack.
- USDA: English Muffin, Wheat
- USDA Nutrient Database: Peanut Butter, Smooth, Without Salt
- CDC: Protein
- USDA Nutrient Database: Fish, Tuna, Light, Canned in Water, Drained Solids
- Fruits and Veggies More Matters: Research: Fruits and Vegetables
- USDA: How Much From the Dairy Group is Needed Each Day?
- USDA: What Counts as a Cup in the Dairy Group?
- Mayo Clinic: High-fiber Foods
- USDA: English Muffin, Whole Wheat
- USDA Nutrient Database: Beans, Black Turtle, Mature Seeds, Canned
Jennifer Dlugos is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience in the health-care and wellness industries. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who teaches screenwriting and film production classes throughout New England. Dlugos holds a master's degree in dietetics.