Lean carrot cake muffins

This recipe for carrot cake muffins is one of Rita Catalino’s favourites! Perfect for using up fresh produce that’s past its prime and a great way to meet your vegie quota.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups almond meal

  • ¼ tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Cinnamon

  • ½ cup apple sauce

  • ¼ cup coconut oil

  • 5 free range eggs

  • 1 cup shredded carrot

  • Vanilla extract

  • Dark sugar-free chocolate, grated, to garnish

What you’ll do:

Mix together the first four ingredients in a bowl. Mix remaining wet ones in another bowl until well combined. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet one and combine until smooth. You can mix by hand or in a blender for a smoother consistency. Pour into a mini muffin tin or loaf tin lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 190°C until golden brown or until a metal toothpick comes out dry.

Pro tip: “To emulate the icing on standard carrot cake and impart a tantalising contrast to the carrot’s natural flavour, try mixing a scoop of your favourite protein powder with a few drops of water and mixing to a paste. For a syrup to pour over, simply add more water or reduce the amount of protein powder. Cinnamon swirl is my favourite!”

NUTRITION: 115 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g sugar

NEXT: High protein chocolate cupcakes

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Lean carrot cake muffins

Weight Loss Success Story: “I Lost 96 Pounds”

Suheily Rodriguez

27, 5’7″

North Wales, Penn.

Before: 236 lb., size 18

After: 140 lb., size 2

Total pounds lost: 96 lb.

Sizes lost: 8

Growing up Puerto Rican, I ate meals that were mainly rice-based and filled with fried plantains and pernil (roast pork). My saving grace: I was active—a cheerleader and a gymnast. But once I graduated from high school, the number on the scale shot up. Two pregnancies later, I weighed 236 pounds. The worst part: I couldn’t walk for long without my ankles and knees throbbing. Still, it wasn’t until I saw the few photos I was unable to dodge from a trip to Puerto Rico in December 2011 that I was forced to confront my size; it was staring me right in the face. Though I had tried and failed to lose weight before, I decided to give a healthy lifestyle a go one last time.

No more drive-throughs

Starting in March 2012, I cut back on carbs, eliminating my daily helpings of rice, bread and pasta. Then I added more fruit and vegetables to my diet. I also traded in fast-food stops for home-cooked meals, feasting on spring-mix salads topped with chicken breast, salmon or tilapia every day. Within three months, I knocked off 10 pounds. Next I got a handle on my portions, serving my meals on my son’s mini plates.

Home-gym slim

Thirty pounds lighter, I was ready to sweat. The problem: I was too embarrassed to go to a gym. So I built a home one, where I exercised an hour a day six days a week. I dropped another 25 pounds by September. Just as exciting, I was able to fit into size 6 jeans! This motivated me to kick up my training intensity. I started using ankle weights while on the treadmill and when doing leg exercises. That really helped me firm up. One year after committing to getting fit, I reached my goal. Even better, I no longer want to hide when a camera comes out.

Secrets of a 96-pound loser

A doable diet and exercise plan were the keys to Suheily’s makeover. Try her tactics, and find even more at health.com/weight-loss-stories.

Flat-belly trick: Eat yogurt

When I have more Greek yogurt (I like Yoplait’s tropical flavors), even for just a week, my tummy is instantly flatter.

Fitspiration: Massiel arias

I stumbled across her on Instagram (@mankofit). She posts great workouts and fitness challenges.

Workout must: Electronic dance

I listen to Tiesto’s podcasts; the fast pace makes me push harder.

Go-to meal: Kimchi jjigae

It’s a Korean stew made of kimchi, tofu, chili pepper, pork belly, red pepper paste, sesame oil and scallions, and it’s pretty low-cal, too.

Weight Loss Success Story: “I Lost 96 Pounds”