Blueberry Muffins developed by The Culinary Institute of America.

Blueberry Muffin Battle

The regular blueberry muffin from a national coffee shop is hardly what you’d call a health food: It’s got 450 calories, on average—nearly double what you’d get from a chocolate frosted donut—and most of those calories come from carbohydrate, primarily white flour and sugar. Less than 3 percent of the carbohydrate in these mega-muffins comes from fiber, offering up only a scant 2 grams. Perhaps the healthiest thing about these muffins is the fat—15 grams worth, largely from soybean or canola oil, heart-healthy sources. (Only one of the four national chains uses butter and cream as fat sources in its muffins.)

A reduced fat muffin has about the same calories compared to the average blueberry muffin available at national chains, but it contains more carbohydrate, sugar, and sodium. The reduced fat muffin has a whopping 700 milligrams of sodium. That’s about 60 percent more sodium than the regular muffin.

The Great Muffin Makeover Blueberry Muffin recipe bakes up muffins that weigh about 2 ounces each—less than half the size of a coffee shop muffin—and contain 130 calories. They are made with a mixture of whole wheat, white, and almond flour, and also use healthy fat, from canola oil. And the amount of fresh blueberries is double what you’d find in a typical recipe. The muffin is light and fluffy. And with further tweaking, this recipe could be made entirely without refined grains.

The Great Muffin Makeover Blueberry Muffin has far less carbohydrate than the coffee shop muffins, and nearly 10 percent of that carbohydrate comes from fiber. The result is a moist, flavorful blueberry muffin that will provide longer lasting energy compared to the usual coffee shop muffin.

Nutrient Regular Blueberry Muffin1 Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin 2 The Great Muffin Makeover Blueberry Muffin 3
Calories 450 450  130
Carbohydrates (g) 71 81  16
Sugar (g) 38 42  6.5
Fiber (g) 2 2  1.5
Total Fat (g) 15 11  8
Unsaturated Fat (g) 12 9  5
Saturated Fat (g) 3.5 2  1
Protein (g) 7 7 3
Sodium (mg) 435 700  140

1. Average data from Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, Panera Bread, and Dunkin’ Donuts, obtained from company websites.
2. Data obtained from Dunkin’ Donuts company website.
3. Data obtained from Nutritionist Pro (Version 4.7.0).

Back to The Great Muffin Makeover

Terms of Use

The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.