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5 Healthiest Muffins at the Grocery Store—and 6 To Avoid

RDs choose which muffins are the best to buy, and which ones you may want to leave on the shelf.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch
The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

They might be considered a convenient breakfast food, but muffins are more like dessert than a balanced morning meal. Muffins are usually rife with added sugar and saturated fats, two nutrients that you'll want to limit in your diet because they're linked to health conditions such as heart disease and obesity when eaten in excess. On top of that, muffins are usually devoid of any protein and fiber, two nutrients you'll want to center your meals and snacks around because they keep you full (in other words: ward off cravings) and support your overall health—and that's especially important for breakfast.

"Starting our day with a well-rounded breakfast is like waking up on the 'right side of the bed' for our bodies," says Melissa Galich, RD, CD, with Top Nutrition Coaching. "It should include some protein and fiber, along with complex carbohydrates."

It's a good thing that many healthier muffin brands have been cropping up at the grocery store because you can choose some of these as part of a balanced breakfast or snack.

How to pick healthier muffins

  • Limit added sugar: Galich recommends looking for a muffin with ideally less than 10 grams of added sugar. Many muffins have upwards of 20 grams of added sugar, which is almost your entire daily recommended limit. "Excess sugar can be linked to increased fat stores, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, along with increased inflammation in our bodies," says Lori Barrett, RDN, a dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching.
  • Limit saturated fat: Galic recommends a muffin with a maximum of 15 grams of total fat and 5 grams of saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends that 5-6% of daily calories come from saturated fat for heart health. So if you're eating 2,000 calories a day, you should only be getting about 13 grams of saturated fat per day. Many muffins contain upwards of half your daily value of saturated fat, so be sure to scan the nutrition label before buying.
  • Aim for fiber and protein: A muffin should ideally have at least 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. "Protein and fiber help to fill us up, keep our bodies satisfied longer, and keep our blood glucose levels more stable until our next snack or meal," Galich says. Protein and fiber help us to avoid spikes in our blood glucose that sugary snacks, like muffins, can cause. "Those spikes can leave us feeling deflated, tired, and looking for something more to fuel ourselves," says Galich.

Below, dietitians share the best store-bought muffins at the supermarket that are actually worth biting into at breakfast, as well as some unhealthy muffins to limit. Read on, then check out The 15 Healthiest Yogurts on Grocery Store Shelves.

The best store-bought muffins

Best: Veggies Made Great Blueberry Oat Muffins

veggies made great blueberry oat muffins
Veggies Made Great
Per muffin: 110 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 3 g protein

Veggies Made Great makes many tasty flavors, such as Blueberry Oat, Banana Chocolate Chip, and Apple Cinnamon, that'll make you look forward to breakfast. All of these varieties clock in around 110 to 120 calories, 3 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber, which is along the lines of our dietitians' recommendations.

"The protein and fiber will help keep you full, but also promote blood sugar regulation," Galich says. "Given the low calories and moderate protein content, there's room to add a low-fat yogurt and/or piece of fruit to help balance out the meal," Galich adds.

RELATED: The 10 Healthiest Store-Bought Breads Recommended By Dietitians

Best: Soozy's Grain-Free Match Green Tea Muffin

Soozy's muffins
Whole Foods
Per muffin: 160 calories, 8 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (4 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 4 g protein

Soozy's Gluten-Free Muffins come in four tasty flavors, like Matcha Green Tea and Blueberry Oat, and are a great option for folks looking to avoid wheat and dairy. They're made with whole-food ingredients, including almond flour, whole eggs, and coconut cream.

We love that they're a lower-sugar option and don't contain any artificial sweeteners. Plus, the almond flour keeps these low in carbs and high in fiber. "The low carbohydrate amount can cause a smaller rise in our blood glucose, helping us to feel more level afterward," says Barrett.

Best: Kodiak Chocolate Chip Muffin Power Cup

Kodiak Muffin Cup
Per cup: 270 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 12 g protein

Simply add water (or milk), stir it up, and microwave this Power Cup for the ultimate breakfast treat that's piping hot and made in seconds. Barrett loves that these are high in protein, with 12 grams per serving, to help keep you satisfied longer. These are also made with whole-grain wheat and whole-grain oats for complex carbohydrates, Barrett points out. "With its calorie amount of 270, it might be used as a quick breakfast when you're running out the door," Barrett says.

However, note that it contains 15 grams of added sugars, which is higher than what our dietitians recommend—so make sure to monitor your added sugar intake for the rest of the day.

RELATED: 7 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Muffins

Best: Flax 4 Life No Sugar Added

Flax 4 Life No Sugar Added
Flax 4 Life
Per 3 mini muffins: 280 calories, 17 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (19 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 10 g protein

Flax 4 Life's No Sugar Added muffins are made with a blend of ground flaxseed, plant fibers, and egg whites, which contribute to the high protein and fiber count. We love that these are low in added sugars and are a good source of protein and fiber. "Fiber helps promote satiety and healthy digestion, aids in blood sugar control, and can help lower cholesterol," Galich says. It's recommended most adults aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day, Galich says, and these muffins can help you squash that goal.

"While this product is one of the highest in total fat content, it's low in saturated fat and made of primarily heart-healthy fats from the ground flaxseed," Galich notes. These healthy fats can help keep you full and support heart health.

Best: Simply Scrumptious

Simply Scrumptious Fat Free Muffins
Simply Scrumptious
Per muffin: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (8 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 3 g protein

Finding a muffin that's both low in calories and high in fiber is no easy feat, yet Simply Scrumptious manages to deliver on both fronts. Because the calories are so low, Barrett and Galich recommend pairing a muffin with Greek yogurt and fresh berries or a tablespoon or two of your favorite nut butter and a piece of fruit for a quick yet balanced and nutritious breakfast. We also love that these muffins are low in sodium, with just 80 milligrams per muffin.

One thing worth noting: "These muffins are high in the sugar alcohol erythritol, so eating limited portions would be recommended to avoid any gastrointestinal upset that can be caused by sugar alcohols," Galich says.

RELATED: 12 Best & Worst Oatmeal Brands

The worst store-bought muffins

Worst: Costco Chocolate Muffin

Costco muffins
Per muffin: 680 calories, 36 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 570 mg sodium, 82 g carbs (4 g fiber, 45 g sugar), 9 g protein

Everything's bigger at Costco, and in the case of these muffins, that's not a good thing. With a staggering 680 calories, this monstrosity of a muffin contains nearly twice the added sugar you should eat in a day and nearly an entire day's worth of saturated fat. And while one muffin packs in an entire meal's worth of calories, you likely won't even feel full because there isn't nearly enough protein or fiber to keep you satiated and justify that calorie count.

If you're craving something sweet for breakfast, skip this Costco muffin and choose one of our healthier options from the list above. "Avoiding these types of foods regularly and finding healthier alternatives can be an easy change that can lead to health improvements long term," Galich says.

Worst: Walmart Marketside Banana Nut Regular Muffins

Walmart Marketside Banana Nut Regular Muffins
Per muffin: 370 calories, 19 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (1 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 5 g protein

Walmart is home to many budget-and-diet-friendly finds, but you'll want to keep these giant muffins out of your grocery cart.

"This muffin has 26 grams of added sugars, which is equivalent to 6.5 teaspoons of sugar," Barrett says. The FDA recommends no more than 10% of our total calories come from added sugar, so if you eat 1,800 calories per day, your goal should be limiting your sugar intake to no more than 45 grams. And chomping down on one muffin will get you over half of the way to your sugar limit. This muffin is also high in fat, with 19 grams, which means more than 50% of the calories in this muffin come from fat.

RELATED: 50 Healthiest Weight Loss Snacks on Grocery Shelves

Worst: Little Bites Chocolate Chip Muffins

Little Bites Chocolate Chip
Little Bites
Per pouch: 190 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 2 g protein

These nostalgic poppable muffins might be small and sweet, but most of the calories are coming from fat and added sugars. That means they're not a good source of protein or fiber, so they don't provide valuable nutrients that our body needs to feel and function at its best, Barrett says.

One pouch, which contains four mini muffins, has nearly 200 calories and a whopping 17 grams of added sugar without any fiber to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Worst: Favorite Day Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Favorite Day Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Per muffin: 360 calories, 18 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (1 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 5 g protein

The crunchy sugar crystals that form the crust of these muffins should be an indication of how high in sugar these are. Favorite Day, a Target brand, makes some of the sugariest muffins on our list.

"The main reasons I wouldn't recommend these muffins are due to their high fat and their added sugar content of 23 grams per muffin, which provides about half of the added sugar recommendations for most adults," Galich says. On top of that, these are low in blood sugar-balancing fiber. Not getting enough fiber, especially at breakfast, can leave us feeling hungry and unsatisfied even after eating, Galich says.

RELATED: 12 Best & Worst Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

Worst: Little Debbie Muffins

Little Debbie Blueberry Mini Muffins
Little Debbie
Per pouch: 170 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein

Don't let their mini-size fool you. Like Little Bites, these Little Debbie treats are made up of mostly fat and added sugar and are practically devoid of fiber and protein. This nutrient combo is bound to keep you reaching for another snack within minutes of polishing off a pouch. Skip these sugary bites and opt for a healthier muffin on our list to crush that sweet tooth.

Worst: Abe's Muffins

Abe's Muffins Banana Chip Mini Muffins
Abe's Muffins
Per serving: 230 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 3 g protein

Abe's Muffins might be small but they're far from mighty. One serving (which is equal to two mini muffins) gives you 230 calories and 35 grams of carbohydrates, and the majority of those carbs come from sugar (a whopping 20 grams) rather than satiating fiber. That means you'll probably end up reaching for another morning snack—or another muffin or two—shortly after biting into one of these.

What's more, Galich recommends staying under 200 milligrams of sodium, and Abe's Muffins provide 230 milligrams per serving, which is 11% of your daily recommended value.

April Benshosan
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April
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