Ah, morning! I’m a morning person…and breakfast may be my favorite meal. (Otherwise it would be lunch or dinner. Hard to choose.) If you enjoy eating as much as I do, you know the challenge it is to keep calories low and to make them count in terms of nutrition. Many years ago a friend shared a recipe with me for Morning Glory Muffins. I love even the name “Morning Glory”…makes me think of the gorgeous morning glories that grew outside on our porch in Africa.

This one was photographed in Cinque Terre, but looks exactly like those in Africa.

I always thought of Morning Glory Muffins as being a healthy breakfast option After all, they were chock full of fruits, vegetables and nuts…

The recipe even made it into my first cookbook, O Taste & See Some More!  But in recent years, I’ve started looking more closely at the ingredients in some of my recipes…eggs, oil, refined flour, etc. Gasp! A whole cup of oil! All that cholesterol in those egg yolks!  So I’ve begun experimenting with making some major changes for our everyday eating. (However, we’re ready at a moment’s notice to celebrate anything and everything!  We even save certain special foods which we eat only on the weekends!) The modifications I’ve made to this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins make them good enough to celebrate–but healthy enough to not feel guilty while you’re enjoying them!

One of the major changes I often make is using applesauce in place of oil in the recipe. This is a savings of over 1500 calories in a batch of muffins, or about 100 calories less per muffin! Wow! However, I can’t buy applesauce in Italy so I’ve begun making my own. Click here to find out how to make it.

To make these Good-for-You Morning Glory Muffins, I combine the sugar, applesauce and egg white:

Then, I combine and add whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt:

I stir that together…

Now comes the fun part, I think, adding a colorful combination of fruits and nuts:

I gently fold everything together and fill greased (or paper-lined) muffin tins almost to the top.

I always fill  my muffin tins almost all the way. I never understood that “fill the muffin tins 2/3 full” idea! Who wants a wimpy muffin? Not I!

These muffins are more dense than many other recipes…especially with the whole wheat flour, so don’t expect them to rise too much. I wish they did. I love the puffy-big muffin tops on French Breakfast Puffs…but that’s another blog.

The muffins need to bake for 35-45 minutes at 350° F (180° C), depending on size. I can’t say bake until their golden brown…because they’re already brown before you start! But bake them until a toothpick comes out clean or until they bounce back when pressed lightly with your finger. I made 14 over-sized muffins–the size pictured here. If you use a regular muffin tin, you’ll probably get about 16-18 muffins. They store well for several days at room temperature. Or, freeze them in a plastic bag, and you can take them out of the freezer as you need them and just warm them before enjoying.

So that’s it…several significant changes that lower the calories-per-muffin significantly! Plus, with whole wheat flour and only egg whites, you’ve increased the fiber and protein and lowered cholesterol. How good is that? If you want to compare the ingredients, I’ve listed here the original ingredients….along with the healthier alternate ingredients:


Time for a cup of coffee and a muffin! Here’s to your health–and mine!



Good-for-You Morning Glory Muffins

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12-14 extra-large muffins or 16-18 regular-sized muffins, or 2 loaves

Good-for-You Morning Glory Muffins

These muffins remind me of the beautiful blue morning glory flowers which grew beside our house in Africa—and of one of my Dad’s favorite sayings, “Good morning, Glory!” I’ve made some major adjustments to the original recipe to make them even healthier, as you can see in the comparison below. Replacing the oil with applesauce is a difference of over 1500 calories for the entire batch! Enjoy the wholesome goodness of these muffins!


  • 1 C. (250 ml) applesauce
  • 1 C. (250 g) sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 1/4 C. (250-280 g) whole wheat or multigrain flour
  • 1 1/2 T. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1/2 C. each grated coconut, raisins, chopped walnuts (2 small handfuls of each)
  • 1 C. crushed pineapple, drained*


  1. In a large bowl, combine the applesauce (or oil), sugar and egg whites (or whole eggs).
  2. Combine and add the flour, cinnamon baking soda and salt; mix well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix gently but thoroughly.
  4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins almost to the top.
  5. Bake at 350° F (180° C) for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. *The original recipe called for one small can of pineapple, drained. I'm not sure if small cans of pineapple are no longer available or just not available in Italy. The only canned pineapple in Italy is sliced so I just chopped 4-5 slices finely either by hand or in a small processor to make about one cup.
  7. Note: A natural result of using applesauce instead of oil is that it's harder to peel off the muffin papers just peel them gently and consider all the benefits of not using the oil.

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