Ah, Trader Joe’s. You always get me with your little product samples. First one’s free. It’s a solid business model. This week you hooked me with some delicious muffins from a box. I always and forever bake from scratch – but what a joy to be able to open a box, mix in a few extra special ingredients, and have breakfast already made for the kiddos to take to school tomorrow morning. I approve.

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Baking Mix is slammin’. The ingredients are completely vegan, utilizing sorghum, whole millet, brown rice, and corn flour instead of white or whole wheat. The directions say to add water, oil, and 2 eggs – but there are ways around that.

My one reservation, and why I will probably not buy this mix again for a very long time even though the muffins came out delish, is that the very first ingredient is SUGAR.  When I bake from scratch I always use sugar alternatives, and less than what the recipe calls for. I can only imagine how much is in here.

Trader Joe's Gluten Free

The sugar content makes these basically a junk food, so here are three (3) tips to make these muffins a *tad* more nutrient dense for breakfast.

1. For the 1/2 cup of oil called for, use coconut or grapeseed, which is a great source of polyphenols, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, vitamin E, and a host of other things.

2. For the 2 large eggs, use 2 heaping tablespoons of flaxseed meal soaked in hot water. The mixture gives the texture and consistency of eggs, but adds Omega-3, Fiber, Protein, Vitamin B1, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Selenium. Woot woot!

3. Throw in some nuts for texture and extra nutrients. I chose pecans, which are high in healthy unsaturated fat, can lower “bad” cholesterol, and contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

So there you have it! Halfway decently healthy muffins that I don’t feel too bad about serving to my kiddos in the morning. Next week, it’s back to scratch!

What is your favorite health food store mix?

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