It’s undeniable, Autumn is in the air once more! And with this inspiring turn of seasons generally comes fuller schedules, longer to-do lists, oh and back to school for many.
I personally loved the back-to-school atmosphere the end of summer used to bring when I was a student. After a less-structured summer, it was a chance for me to get back into a steady rhythm, to start a fresh new routine. Whether you are going back to school, have a child returning to school, or are simply settling into a more routine way of life this time of year, let’s do it a bit differently this time around. Before you get caught up in seasonal festivities, I encourage you to seize the opportunity the slot in some time for yourself. Take the time to see where you can fit-in those healthy habits you keep putting off for a later date. Because even the busiest of schedules should make time for nutritious meals, regular physical activity, and a little uninterrupted ‘you’ time.
Regardless of where you currently are in your fall plans, I highly encourage healthy snacking make its way into your daily routine; the right snacks can carry you seamlessly over to the next meal. With days requiring us to race between tasks, never underestimate the power of a good snack.
Snacking keeps your blood sugars steady throughout the day, helps you burn calories through engaging in physical activities, and works to stave off sugar cravings. The best snacks are 200 calories or less, are deliciously satisfying, and include a source of protein; such as these carrot cake-inspired mini muffins with a tall glass of milk (be it dairy, soy, or another non-dairy alternative)!
Truth be told, carrot cake gets me every single time. I fell in love with it several years ago and my fondness for this delicious flavour combination has grown exponentially since then. Especially with the turn of seasons each year, I can’t get over the vibrant flavours brought forth by this cake. I’m not sure it gets better.
To make-up for the calorie laden, ooey gooey icing that generally accompanies carrot cake, I opted to utilize highly nutritious coconut. One 1/2 cup of shredded coconut meat packs 4 grams of fibre, less than 3 grams of sugar, and a whopping 13 grams of plant-based fat! Coconut is also an excellent source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, and a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. These vitamins are essential – our body requires them from external sources to replenish stores.
To keep the health roller coaster on course, I also snuck a healthy dose of hemp hearts into these bad boys. Loaded with healthy fats, protein and essential nutrients, hemp hearts offer a number of benefits and make a complete addition to your diet. Specifically, if you’re looking for a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seeds make for a good choice; omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that help reduce inflammation, and getting more in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease. Hemp also contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete source of protein.
All ingredients considered, you end up with hearty muffins that taste just like carrot cake. Rejoice – now you can eat carrot cake as a key part of a balanced breakfast… oh you’re very welcome.
Highlights of making this recipe:
- The food processor does essentially all of the work for you in this recipe, and clean-up is quick and easy – the majority of the dishes created while preparing this recipe can be washed while the muffins are baking.
- These quick to prepare muffins make for a nutritious breakfast addition, lunch time dessert, or after school snack (or coffee break fix for us grown-ups!).
- These mini muffins store well in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to five days, or can be stored in the freezer for several months. Simply reheat and enjoy!
These perfectly portable snacks are also loaded with tons of shredded carrots, coconut, and sweet dates. You’re going to love these wholesome, fruit- and veggie-packed muffins. So easy, healthy, and delicious!
Macros per Muffin
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 6 g
Sugar: 3 g
Fibre: 2 g
Carrot Cake Hemp Heart Mini Muffins
- 12 second spritz Olive Oil Cooking Spray
- 2 cup grated carrot *, (2 medium carrots)
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats (gluten free if needed)
- 1/4 cup psyllium husk
- 1/2 tsp Stevia
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 2/3 tsp pumpkin pie spice *, (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/8 tsp ginger powder + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg)
- 4 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup egg whites
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened dairy-free beverage
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut to top muffins
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat muffin tins with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a food processor, add all the ingredients except for the shredded coconut. Process until ingredients are fully blended together.
- Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons (~1/2 a quarter cup scoop) of batter into 24 mini muffin tins – they should be heaping. Sprinkle coconut evenly over batter.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, until golden brown on top (muffins should be slightly soft to touch).
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from tin and enjoying (with that toasted coconut smell filling your kitchen, trust me when I say this is the hardest part).