By Melissa Fine, Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor.\nNot all of us are made to be bakers, and that’s where already-perfected muffin mixes come in handy. Until recently, there was no such thing as a healthy muffin mix, but now with new, innovative brands in the health food market, you can whip up a more nutritious batch of muffins from a pre-prepared mix…Let’s pretend you made them from scratch.\n1. A kilojoule count that’s less than four digits: The problem with muffins these days is that they’re energy dense and usually lacking in nutrients. One muffin made from a popular, commercial muffin mix has over 1000 kj – That’s a lot considering none of this energy comes from wholesome ingredients. If you want to make a muffin that offers more than just calories, the muffin mixes from 12 Health are a great option (You can buy these online). One large, café-style 12 Health cacao muffin has under 400 kj – A good amount of energy for a snack, or make a meal of it or serve it with some natural yoghurt, berries and a handful of raw nuts.\n2. Protein: Yep, you can now get a hit of protein, rather than a refined carbohydrate overload from your muffin. One large 12 Health cacao muffin is packed with over 11 g of protein from pea protein isolate, compared to about 3 g of protein in a popular chocolate muffin mix; The former will help keep your blood sugar stable so you stay satiated, while the latter will have it sky rocketing and then dropping down again. 12 Health muffins also have a much more natural ingredients list than your typical protein bar, which tends to be full of things like artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.\n3. Not too much sugar: A muffin made with a certain chocolate muffin mix from the supermarket has over 30 g of sugar – about 6 teaspoons. I’d go with a cacao muffin made from a 12 Health mix instead – Light and fluffy and with just 2 g of sugar (Less than a teaspoon). 12 Health sweetens their muffins with xylitol, a plant-derived, low kilojoule sugar substitute. On a side note, xylitol can be effective against tooth decay. Dentists love it!\n4. No vegetable (seed) oil: Read the ingredients on a handful of muffin mixes at the supermarket and you’ll find vegetable oil to be a common ingredient. If you’ve read my posts about vegetable oil before, you’ll know it’s a cheap, mass-produced oil that’s used abundantly in highly processed foods like packaged baked goods with a long shelf-life. Vegetable oil can undergo hydrogenation during processing, where its fats harden and become nasty trans-fats in the process. I hadn’t been able to find a vegetable oil-free muffin mix until I came across 12 Health’s range.\n5. Chocolate: As in the real stuff; The chocolate in your muffin can be good for you and is full of antioxidants if it’s in its pure-state; Think organic unsweetened cacao (raw cocoa) and crunchy cacao nibs. It’s when you add highly processed ingredients like vegetable oil and refined sugar to chocolate it that it’s nutritional value is diluted. And because cacao is bittersweet and not sickly-sweet like commercial milk chocolate, it will leave you feeling satisfied…So you won’t go back for muffin #2.\nTo find out more about 12 Health and their amazing baking mixtures go to: www.12health.com.au Thanks to Natalie Masli for the beautiful image!