Chef Wendell: Healthy muffins

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — During our lifetime we’re encouraged to trust certain food brands publicizing they’re products are healthy and “Natural” when in reality, they are not.

Muffins are a good example: An 8-ounce, softball size blueberry muffin slathered with butter is not healthy. Read ingredient labels and avoid refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), artificial flavorings and colorings, and white flour- all linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, weak immune system and some cancers.

1st segment: Reading grocery store muffin ingredient labels. What to avoid. Why? Make muffin batter.

2nd segment: Removing baked muffins from oven and taste test with Drew Blair.

· Good health is all about food choices: Only you can make every mouthful count towards creating and sustaining your health.

· Your body intelligence extracts the nutrition then distributes it to vital organs.

Read ingredient labels:

· If it’s three paragraphs long…back away from the shelves and run!

· Sugar (brown or white), AP flour, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), HFCS, artificial color and flavors. No nutrition here!

· One large muffin contains about 385 calories

Autoimmune disease: Allergens (hidden in “natural’) cause inflammation.

· Udi’s Blueberry Muffins, or… make your own from scratch

· Get thee back into thy kitchen where YOU control the ingredients and create health.

Chocolate chip-peanut butter muffins (Adapted from: averiecooks.com)

  • 1 medium ripe banana, peeled
  • 1 large egg
  • Generous 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (store-bought peanut butter, not homemade)
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder (leave this out for blond muffins)
  • 3 tbsps. Raw local honey or ‘real’ maple syrup (Not Aunt Jemima)
  • 2 tbsps. ground flax or chia seed
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Heaping 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips*
  • *I use Enjoy Life brand-no dairy, nut or soy semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 400F.

· Grease and flour the pans; set aside. If keeping gluten-free for health reasons, simply use cooking spray or grease the pan.

· To the blender canister, add first 7 ingredients, and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute.

· Add chocolate chips and stir in by hand; don’t use the blender because it will pulverize them.

· Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop that’s been sprayed with cooking spray (helps batter slide off spoon or scoop easily), form rounded 1 tablespoon mounds and place mounds into prepared pans. Each cavity should be filled to a solid 3/4 full.

· Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the tops are set, domed, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

· Due to their small size and oven variance, watch your muffins closely, and bake until done. Allow muffins to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, or until they’ve firmed up and are cool enough to handle.

· Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to four months.