Even if you’re team summer like me, you’ve got to admit that pumpkin is an ingredient we can enjoy year round. These lightly sweetened, oat based, honey pumpkin muffins came together when I was attempting to upgrade an old recipe, and they certainly don’t disappoint. They’re husband and little kid approved, and had the station excited when I featured them on a segment in Philly, too.
Honey Pumpkin Muffins for Pre-Workout
These honey pumpkin muffins are super versatile and appropriate just about any time! I love most that they’re perfect pre-workout. The blend of quick and slow energy from the wheat flour, oats and honey provides steady energy for exercise and since they’re so low in fat, they won’t sit in your stomach, limiting high intensity activities. I even like to add a small drizzle of honey to the muffin for the flavor and extra energy before a morning training session.
If you have more than 30-60 minutes before exercise, pair with nuts, top with nut butter, or have a hard boiled egg on the side. The small amount of additional fat and protein will slow digestion and absorption just enough so that you get the energy to your muscles when you need it. And if you need to build a whole pre-workout meal on-the-go, muffins have your back. Pair 2 of these honey pumpkin muffins with 2 veggie egg muffins for a balanced meal.
Snacking on Honey Pumpkin Muffins
You don’t need to have a training session coming up to enjoy these. Have on their own in the afternoon if you’re an early dinner person, or with fruit and some roasted chickpeas if you’ll have more time before dinner. For my kids, I send them to school and daycare as a snack with fruit. And of course, there’s dessert, where you can either add some chocolate tahini on top or just bake chocolate chips into the honey pumpkin muffins in the first place.
Pumpkin Health Benefits
Pumpkin is more than a warming fall flavor. In addition to being packed with plenty of carotenoid antioxidants, which support eye health as well as skin, hair and nails, pumpkin may even calm the digestive tract. Other studies suggest that pumpkin extract can have a hypoglycemic effect, benefiting those with or who are at high risk of diabetes, so ingesting it in it’s whole food form can’t hurt!
Honey Health Benefits
Raw honey has a slightly lower glycemic effect when compared to white sugar, so I try to use it in lieu of white sugar for daily sugar needs. That is not in any way to say I avoid refined sugar, as it’s added to some packaged foods I buy and also is the reason frosting exists! However, since I know that blood sugar spikes impact my anxiety, I try to choose lower glycemic options when feasible and pair them with protein, fiber and fat if it isn’t before a workout.
Raw honey also contains higher antioxidant levels when compared to honey that has been heated (most honey on store shelves) and has been shown in research to be just as effective as popular sports gels in supporting endurance activity.
Honey Pumpkin Muffin Recipe Notes
- Flours: Feel free to use a whole wheat pastry flour, sprouted wheat flour, spelt flour, or just plain old wheat or unbleached white. I have not tried the recipe with any gluten-free options, so if you do, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
- Vegan option: While these are called “honey” muffins, you can certainly swap honey for a thick, pure, maple syrup. If your syrup tends to seem more liquified than honey, use a touch under a 1/4 cup, or bake an additional minute or two.
- Pumpkin pie spices: My go-to’s are Trader Joe’s or Simply Organic’s pumpkin spice blends. If you want to make your own, here’s a recipe I use on occasion and is included in my pumpkin spice energy bite recipe.
- 1/4 C cinnamon
- 4 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tbsp ea: nutmeg and allspice
- 1 tsp clove
Honey Oat Pumpkin Muffins
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax set with 2.5 tbsp water)
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 1½ cups pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup soy milk or other non dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup quick or rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or hand mixer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together.
- Slowly incorporate the dry into the wet mixture, but do not over blend.
- Pour batter evenly into a standard muffin tin.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.