While blueberries provide high amounts of antioxidants and may lower your risk for heart disease and cancer, this doesn't mean blueberry muffins are healthy. These treats typically don't contain many blueberries and are often high in fat and calories, but they do still provide some essential nutrients, especially if you make a healthy version at home.
A small 2 3/4-inch muffin contains 249 calories, 3 grams of protein, 35.6 grams of carbohydrates and 10.5 grams of fat. This is 16 percent of the daily value for fat. Each muffin also provides 21.6 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 25 grams per day for women and 37.5 grams per men, so eating a muffin will use up most of your daily allotment for added sugar.
While blueberry muffins aren't particularly good sources of micronutrients, a small muffin will provide you with about 10 percent of the daily value for phosphorus, 12 percent of the DV for folate and 32 percent of the DV for vitamin K. You need phosphorus for filtering waste from the kidneys, building strong bones and forming DNA. Folate helps prevent birth defects and form DNA, and vitamin K is important for clotting blood.
Making Them Healthier
If you want to get more benefits from your blueberry muffins, make them yourself with whole-wheat pastry flour instead of the more refined all-purpose flour, and replace half of the fat in the recipe with a fruit puree, such as applesauce or mashed bananas. These changes will increase the fiber and micronutrient content while lowering the amount of fat and calories in the recipe. You can also decrease the sugar by one-quarter to one-third, especially if your recipe also contains cinnamon or vanilla, since these intensify sweet tastes and make the decrease in sugar less obvious. Watch the cooking time carefully, since decreasing the fat may make the muffins cook up to 25 percent more quickly.
While it is fine to indulge in a blueberry muffin once in a while, they aren't a health food, so consume them in moderation and watch your portion size. A mini muffin only contains about 64 calories, but a medium muffin provides 426 calories. Should you opt for the extra-large blueberry muffin you'll be consuming a whopping 633 calories and 55 grams of sugar.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Stock Up on Blueberries This Season
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Muffins, Blueberry, Commercially Prepared (Includes Mini-muffins)
- MayoClinic.com: Healthy Recipes: A Guide to Ingredient Substitutions
- Ohio State University Extension: Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients
- MayoClinic.com: Healthy Diet: Do You Follow Dietary Guidelines?
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.