Smarter eating: adding fibre to chocolate muffins
By Julia Scott, National Dietitian, Arvida
Getting more fibre into your life doesn’t mean you have to gnaw carrots at morning tea. You can still have something delicious with your coffee or tea; you just need to add fruit or vegetables to a favourite recipe. Keep reading to find out how to make delicious chocolate muffins with zucchini as a key ingredient.
At this time of the year, zucchini (aka courgettes) are easy to grow. You can also pick them up at the supermarket or greengrocers for less than usual. Along with being a great side dish at dinner time, zucchini are a handy high-fibre ingredient for muffin baking. Grating zucchini into a baking mixture – sweet or savoury - adds valuable roughage and the resulting muffins are beautifully light.
Why do you need fibre?
Older adults need about 25 grams of fibre a day. The best sources are whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. Here’s why fibre is so important:
- It keeps you regular. Dietary fibre is important for avoiding constipation. It does this by retaining water and bulking up the contents of your lower intestine.
- Maintains intestinal health. A high-fibre diet may lower your risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer and diverticular disease. It also helps you to avoid haemorrhoids.
- Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre may help lower total blood cholesterol levels. Studies also show that high-fibre foods have cardio health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- Helps control blood sugar levels. Soluble fibre slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, which helps to keep blood sugar levels under control. A high-fibre diet may also reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
- Helps with weight control. High-fibre foods fill you up more than low-fibre foods, so you tend to eat less and feel satisfied for longer. They’re also less energy dense than low-fibre foods, so you get fewer kilojoules for the same volume of food.
- Helps you live longer. Studies suggest that increasing your dietary fibre reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The two different types of fibre
The fibre found in food is either soluble or insoluble. Both play an important role in digestive and general health. Soluble fibre is found in legumes, oats, flaxseed, apples and citrus fruit. Insoluble fibre is found in whole grains, bran, nuts and many vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes. Zucchini contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate buttons
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease or line a 12 or 24 hole mini muffin tray.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
- In another large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the oil, brown sugar, eggs, yoghurt, vanilla and zucchini together until combined. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate buttons.
- Pour mixture into the muffin tins and bake for around 15-18 minutes (less for mini muffins) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
FACT SOURCE: Mayo Clinic