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Sep 2, 2012 09:50 AM

Most Calorically Dense [yet healthy] Muffins EVER?

Hello, so my good friend just got jaw surgery and is unable to eat most foods. He can, however, eat softer foods like cake and muffins.

He believes he has two options: eat healthy foods and lose a lot of his muscle mass OR eat incredibly unhealthy foods and maintain his weight. He has been doing the latter. Thus, I have taken on the challenge of producing for him the heartiest-- I'm talking fiber, protein, good fats-- and healthiest calorically dense muffin or cupcake. Unfortunately, I have yet to find anything worth making.

Does anyone have any advice?


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  1. The recipe for bran muffins that calls for genuine full bran cereal, soaked in boiling apple cider/juice to soften and with the additions fo dates and shredded carrots got me through a late-in-life-wisdom tooth extraction. Part of your pal's problem with avoiding chewables will be lack of roughage, leading to...well, you get the picture. Therefore any solution that adds bran will be helpful. If you have trouble finding this recipe, I have a piece of cardboard pasted into my recipe scrapbook I would be happy to post here, IF this is of interest (maybe you were seeking something more glamourous? manly?)

    2 Replies
    1. re: LJS

      I think he's looking for something more glamorous, but I looked up a recipe and I'll definitely be making these for myself! Thank you for sharing!

      1. re: ysasan

        Happy to oblige, either way! These are seriously good and seriously good for you...

        Fruit & Flax Muffins

        1 1/4 cup bran cereal (not flakes)
        1 3/4 cups (unsweetened-optional) apple juice (or apple cider for purists!)
        3 tbsp. flax meal (or grind 3 tbsp. flax seeds)
        1 cup wholewheat flour
        1 cup unbleached white flour (or AP flour)
        1 tbsp. baking powder
        1 /2 tsp baking soda
        1 tsp ground cinnamon
        1/4 tsp ground cardamom
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1/3 cup vegetable oil (plus more for greasing muffin tins)
        1/3 cup maple syrup
        1 tsp vanilla extract
        1 cup dried fruit (I have used cranberries and raisins, but dates are my favourite)

        Preheat oven to 400 and set rack in center.

        In a small bowl, stir bran into 1 cup fo the juice and set aside for 15 minutes to soften.

        Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, soda, spices and salt.

        Grease 12 standard muffin cups with oil (I use the dreaded Pam for this and it works just fine.)

        In a medium bowl, beat flax meal with remaining 3/4 cup apple juice for one minute. Blend in oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the bran-juice mixture (including unabsorbed juice). Beat for 30 seconds. Pour liquid into dry ingredients. Add dried fruit. Stir until JUST blended.

        Divid batter among muffin tins. Bake for 7 minutes and rotate and continue 8 to 10 minutes. When done the muffin tops will yield to a gentle touch.

        Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and remove (may need a slim knife slipped down sides of muffin cups.) Continue cooling on rack to room temperature.

        Consume within a few hours or freeze for up to 4 months-they reheat very well when wrapped in foil and popped into a hot oven briefly...microwaving makes them rubbery!

    2. Retaining muscle mass isn't just about calories, it's about macronutrients in the right percentages. Do know what your friends daily protein requirement is? You might be best off asking this question on a body building forum.

      1. Muffins with almond flour are really great. Add Whey protein (and some flax meal) and you will have everything in there. Google almond flour muffins and you will see a million recipes.

        1. Look at my CHOW recipe for Healthy Hummingbird Muffins, which was a contest finalist. You'd want to substitute almond meal or other nut meal for the chopped nuts. I do not know the calories but the ingredients provide good nutrition. If you want to add less healthy calories, turn them from muffins into cupcakes by topping with cream cheese frosting, which is traditional for hummingbird cake.

          1. Your friend is, happily, WRONG about his options. Your muscle mass is determined by the physical demand you place upon it, not upon what you eat. Otherwise you could eat really well, sit on the couch, and be totally ripped. Doesn't happen.

            If you want to maintain muscle mass after an accident, then you have to factor in two things:
            1) are you exercising/working out at the same level?
            2) how many calories a day do you need based on your weight and level of fitness?

            These are questions for a dietitian (some specialize in sports nutrition) and a physiotherapist, and I would highly recommend you seek these smart folks out. It's easy for body builders and regular people alike to have some misconceptions about how the body lays down muscle vs fat, especially if they are getting advice from an industry that wants to sell them supplements, books, and "programs".

            Meanwhile, I suggest your friend eat wholesome, high calorie foods instead of junk. That way he'll get all the vitamins, minerals, and fibre he needs from mother nature which will help him to heal. Here's some ideas while his jaw heals:

            --pumpkin muffins, made with canola oil and canned pumpkin. Grind almonds or pecans instead of chopping them up. (google for a recipe)
            --pates and liver sausage on soft whole wheat bread
            --split pea soup, lentil or bean soups, prepared with ham or bacon then blenderized and eaten through a straw
            --heat cut up sweet potatoes with 1/4 cup of milk or cream and a titch of butter or olive oil. Mash them after a 45 minute simmer.
            --scrambled eggs