Blueberry Muffins with Lemon– A Little Healthier Version at 158 Calories


Ask my sister Helen, my husband Dave, my grandson Rhyan, or any of my kids and they’ll tell you I’m a very happy blueberry muffin baker. My soup cookbook contains a well-tested, not-overly-sweet muffin crunched up with cornmeal and orange rind. (Click here for that recipe.)  


I’ve been making blueberry muffins nearly as long as I can remember and for many years made a gorgeous, luscious, domed, simple blueberry muffin (below) from Joseph Nichols Tavern in Virginia. The recipe source is long lost, but I give it the credit available.

According to recent research, the Joseph Nichols Tavern in Lynchburg, Virginia, is a Federal building now transformed into four apartments.

Once in a while, I get out of my baking box and change things up, like I did with this Strawberry-Blueberry Muffin with Almonds made for last Fourth of July:


In the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at all recipes a little differently as my husband Dave is now following the diet prescribed for pre diabetics. While some foods must nearly be eliminated or used very carefully within the diet, many more are newly-embraced now that he must eat carbs at every meal to prevent blood sugar spikes. Before that, carbs felt like a sad enemy in today’s food culture; we unhappily often avoided them. Turns out it wasn’t such a great idea after all even for non-diabetics.  (Or, as my mother might have told you, “Eat balanced meals.”)


Given the new plan, our favorite muffins needed a reboot so we both could enjoy them. While I might not be finished with these yet, my first attempt at creating a healthier bread turned out a tasty muffin I’d never call a version of anything.  It’s just a darned good treat. (And I’m picky.)  Perhaps you’re looking at cutting back after a big Valentine’s Day, too!

Specific Changes: The flour went from 2 cups white unbleached, all-purpose and 1/4 cornmeal to 1 1/4 cups white unbleached, all-purpose, 3/4 cup whole wheat, and 1/4 cup cornmeal. Changing out the 3/4 cup white for 3/4 cup whole wheat alone added over 6 grams of fiber and over 3 grams of protein for 65.31 grams of carbohydrates.  I lowered the already fairly-low amount of sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup and skipped the 4 ounces of sugar-laden orange juice, replacing it with low-fat milk. There’s just not much way to totally do away with the granulated sugar–or another sort of natural sweetener– in a muffin unless you want to bake with a sugar substitute, which was not something I was willing to do. (Those products induce headaches for Dave.)  Sugar is critical for moistness and browning in baked goods. In the interest of heart health, I replaced the butter with canola oil and did away with saturated fat. I kept the eggs (.16 of an egg per muffin), though give options for lowering the amounts (using egg white for one egg) or swapping them out for egg substitute.

The resulting muffin is 158 calories with 21 grams of carbohydrates. No big complaints about that as many muffins run 250 and more calories depending on ingredients and whether they’re homemade or purchased. The fiber isn’t high, of course, but I expected that.  When I google, “How many carbohydrates in a blueberry muffin?” the answer is 61.


In other words, Dave could eat my new muffins at home, but he’d definitely be skipping blueberry muffins in restaurants and bakeries. One thing: these rose a bit less evenly than previous versions (the sugar, perhaps), but they were just sweet enough, tender, terribly tasty, and chock full of healthy moist blueberries. I’ll keep tweaking and let you know my new results. I hope you’ll do the same for me should you bake a batch.

At this level, these beauties are a fine breakfast treat, a nice alternative to bread with soup, and even a not-too-bad snack with your afternoon tea occasionally. (Dave would have a little protein to accompany that afternoon snack.) Try this:fullsizeoutput_3053


makes 12-13                                  Nutritional information below.

  • 2 eggs (can sub 1 egg beaten with 2 egg whites or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup stoneground cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 EACH teaspoon kosher salt and baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (If using frozen, allow a little extra baking time.)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit.  Place oven rack at center of oven. Grease or spray well 12-muffin cup muffin tin* including edges around the top of each cup.
  2. Beat together the eggs and canola oil in a measuring cup; set aside.
  3. Beat together the milk with the lemon rind and juice; set aside for 2 minutes.
  4. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, flour – baking powder.  Pour the egg mixture and the milk mixture on top of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in blueberries gently.
  5. Using a greased or sprayed large ice cream scoop, scoop the batter, dividing it between the muffin tins. Don’t overfill the tins. Bake on center oven rack for 14-16 minutes or until light golden in color and toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  6. Bang muffin tin evenly on counter or board to loosen muffins. Turn over quickly and firmly to turn muffins out onto cooling rack.  Turn each muffin over so that the bottoms sit flatly on the rack. Let cool a minute or two to set and eat warm or cool completely and eat at room temperature.
  7. Store leftovers in a well-sealed storage bag or container on the counter for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to two weeks.**

*I had a little more batter and used a well-greased ramekin for an unlucky (not) 13th muffin. I liked the appearance of its straight sides and wish I had more ramekins that size!

**Hot climates or summertime: Refrigerate/freeze all muffins in well-sealed storage bag or tightly-sealed storage container.

WEIGHT WATCHERS:  5 FreeStyle smart points


Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 158 
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6 g 9 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 4 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 33 mg 11 %
Sodium 229 mg 10 %
Potassium 79 mg 2 %
Total Carbohydrate 21 g 7 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 5 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 4 g 9 %
Vitamin A  2 %
Vitamin C  6 %
Calcium  5 %
Iron  3 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

{printable recipe}

Happy baking,


Our 7-year-old golden retriever, Tucker, who recently had abdominal surgery, continues to improve! We are all gratefulness.


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