Wellness programs have to be realistic or they won’t be effective. We all need to indulge our sweet tooth from time to time. What wellness programs can teach is how to make some easy substitutions so that the craving is satisfied without calorie and fat overload.

One of my passions as a wellness coach is to educate my clients about healthier ways to prepare their favorite dishes. I have a wicked sweet tooth, but am able to hold it in abeyance most of the time. Still we all need treats from time to time.

Here’s a clever substitution for butter in a muffin recipe.


Wellness Programs Feature Healthier Desserts


Try using sweet potatoes instead of butter in your muffins and you will reap a lot of health benefits as well.


Sweet Potato Health Benefits


1. Sweet potatoes help prevent breast cancer.

The high beta-carotene content of sweet potatoes provides a potent antioxidant that reduces the cell damage that occurs as we age. In fact, purple sweet potatoes are three times higher in antioxidants than some varieties of blueberries. Research studies on beta-carotene demonstrate that it’s “significantly associated with a reduced breast cancer risk.”


2. Sweet potatoes ward off colds and other infections.

As we age, our immune systems are not as robust at attacking colds and other viruses. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamin C, which may reduce the severity and duration of the common cold. A one-cup serving of sweet potato provides 65% of the recommended daily intake of this essential micronutrient.


3. Sweet potatoes are a weapon against obesity.

Many of us gain weight as we age and join the ranks of the 2 out of 3 Americans who are overweight or obese. Eating purple sweet potatoes may help. A scientific analysis of extracts from purple sweet potatoes substantiates their effectiveness for weight control.


4. Sweet potatoes can decrease your chance of colon cancer.

More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people older than 50. A cross-sectional study completed on 890 Japanese men and women found that the carotenoids in vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash helped prevent polyps and colorectal cancers.


A Healthy Addition to Your Wellness Program

Try making these fluffy roasted sweet potato muffins packed with delicious flavors and plenty of chocolate chips. They’re great for breakfast, snacks or for freezing for later.

The secret to making these sweet potato muffins incredibly delicious, moist and tender is to roast the sweet potatoes beforehand.


Healthy Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients (makes 12 regular-sized or 24 minis)

Wet ingredients
• 1 ½ cups mashed sweet potato (from 2-3 large sweet potatoes)
• 2 eggs
• ¼ cup pure maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons avocado oil, olive oil or melted coconut oil (butter will also work!)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or lite coconut milk)


Dry ingredients
• 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup dark chocolate chips
• For topping:
• 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips



1. To roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Poke holes in sweet potatoes with a fork and place sweet potatoes on baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork tender, depending on the size of your potatoes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove skin and mash out exactly 1 ½ cups of the sweet potato. Do not use more than that.

2. Reduce heat in oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners and spray the inside of them with nonstick cooking spray — DO NOT SKIP THIS.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

4. In a separate large bowl mix together mashed sweet potato, eggs, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, Greek yogurt and almond milk until well combined, smooth and creamy. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in ½ cup chocolate chips.

5. Divide batter evenly into muffin liners, top each with a few chocolate chips, and bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool muffins for 5 minutes then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Muffins are best served warm and even better the next day. I like serving mine with a little nut butter on top.


Nutrition (per regular-sized muffin)

Calories: 191
Fat: 7.1g
Carbs: 29.0g
Fiber: 3.8g
Protein: 4.0g

Click here for this healthier muffin recipe and add it to your wellness program.