i have to admit that i have a weakness for bakery items. this includes, and is not limited to; cakes, cupcakes, muffins, butter-tarts, donuts, timbits, cookies, scones, croissants, etc. (and now i’m drooling). being health-conscious, i try to keep an eye out on what i eat throughout the week; sticking to a rather strict routine. however, on friday’s, and on the weekends i do let myself indulge (with limitations) and one of the things i always look forward to is my friday morning muffin.
as i walk to my office in the king west area from union station i generally pass about 1800 starbucks, 400 tim hortons, and 250 second cups, not too mention all of the wonderful local cafes along the way as well (my favourite is wagamama!). the early morning smells of coffee brewing and baked goods baking makes my mouth water all of the time- but i am strong willed- and only give in on fridays.
as a bit of a muffin connoisseur, i’d like to think i have tried most of what’s available. before i really began to think about what i was putting into my body i was eating things like double-chocolate-fudge muffins, blueberry-chocolate chip muffins, carrot muffins with cream cheese filling, etc. i think a friend of mine put it best when he said, eating a muffin is simply an excuse to eat cake in the mornings.
let me tell you- these morning treats are absolutely jam-packed with calories, fat, sugar, hidden behind their mouth-watering smells, and cute packaging. even though they appear small, you could be eating more calories than what’s in a big mac if you’re not careful.
but don’t fret! you should absolutely enjoy what you eat, and eat what you want- everything in moderation, including moderation. i have done my own research so i can enjoy my friday muffin without immense feelings of guilt and i am going to share it with you.
here is a list of the some of the best and worst muffin choices (health wise):
i’d stay away from the zucchini walnut muffin. although it sounds healthy (it has a vegetable in it!) it is a whopping 490 calories. both the bountiful blueberry muffin and the blueberry yogurt muffin with honey (350 and 320 calories) are much better options. the morning-glory muffin isn’t that bad either at 380 calories.
i always thought that raisin bran muffins were a healthy option- it turns out this is not the case. a tim hortons raisin bran muffin is 410 calories (and it isn’t that big!). their blueberry muffin is the only muffin on the menu below 350 calories (340) besides the low fat options which are around 290 calories but taste like cardboard in my opinion.
unfortunately i could not seem to find second cup’s nutritional information on their website- so i hope the information i did find is accurate. their lemon cranberry muffin is 420 calories, where their zucchini & carrot muffin is only 320! their raisin bran muffin is only 340 calories which also isn’t as bad.
surprisingly mcdonalds muffins are actually quite delicious. perhaps avoid the double chocolate muffin with oreo cookie crumble which is 450 calories (that really is just like cake). their carrot and blueberry muffins aren’t that great either at 430 and 410 calories. i’d try the cranberry orange muffin which is 360 calories and very filling (it’s my muffin choice for this week)!
as with everything it’s always important to think about what you are putting into your body- just remember there are always healthier options.
if i’ve scared you with my muffin calorie counting there are lots of other baked good items that are much fewer calories! try for example, a starbucks marshmellow dream bar (210 calories) or their double chocolate biscotti (150 calories). tim hortons plain tea biscut (240 calories) or even their chocolate glazed donut (260 calories). second cups banana bread (210 calories) or their apple & cinnamon breakfast cookie (280 calories). and then mcdonalds- well the ice cream is only 230 calories, but i’m not sure how you feel about that in the morning.
another option is to make your own muffins at home if you have the time. president’s choice blue menu offers muffin mixes that you simply add water too and bake which are only 150 calories each.
like i said above, if you’ve been trying to eat healthier, just think about what you’re putting into your body. and although the cute little, mouth-watering muffins might not look like much, they often pack a calorie-ladden punch.
ps. here are the links for more nutritional information from each company
tim hortons nutrition
second cup nutrition