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Protein Pumpkin Muffins

I worked with Gaby, runner and owner of the food blog Running on Breakfast, to develop these Protein Pumpkin Muffins. Together, we put an athlete friendly spin on a fall classic. Recipe below!

It's October and you know what that's pumpkin season! These delicious muffins not only have that great pumpkin flavor, but are also packed with protein to provide a tasty and balanced snack.

One thing I love about muffins is that they can be an easy, on-the-go snack option for busy athletes. You can make a big batch over the weekend or on a day where you have more time, and then use them throughout the week. These protein packed muffins are perfect for athletes of any baking ability and take about 30 minutes to make, so you can have nutrient dense homemade muffins in the time it takes to do your rehab exercises!

Nutrient Highlights:

  • Carbohydrates: The majority of endurance athletes that I work with are low on their carbohydrate intake. These muffins are a great way to get some extra carbohydrates in, either with or between meals, so you can keep your energy levels consistent during training and throughout the day.

  • Protein: At snacks, I typically recommend aiming for around 10-20g of protein. Each muffin has about 4g of protein, so here are some ways you could get to that 10-20g: 2 muffins (8g protein), a muffin with a glass of milk (12g protein), or 2 muffins with a glass of milk (20g protein).

  • Healthy fat: For athletes with high calorie needs (most endurance athletes), it can be challenging to get enough calories without feeling overly stuffed. Increasing dietary fat can help you get more calories without eating a higher volume of food. These muffins use butter (which yes, is a great resource for athletes!) and chopped nuts to provide healthy fats

Here are some of the ways that I have enjoyed these muffins:

  • Before runs: they have just the right amount of protein to keep me feeling full without weighing me down. Not to mention, they go great with my pre-run coffee! I like having 2 muffins, a cup of coffee, and a glass of electrolytes 90 minutes before my run.

  • After runs: with carbs to help replenish energy stores and protein to help rebuild and repair muscles, these make a great recovery treat. 2 muffins with a glass of milk is the perfect quick, recovery boosting snack.

  • Between meals: pairing a carb with a protein for snacks helps meet nutrient needs and keeps you feeling full between meals. These muffins are a two for one, containing both carbs and protein!


Protein Packed Pumpkin Muffins

Yields: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 stick of butter, melted

  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin or butternut squash puree

  • 1/3 cup milk of choice

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract, optional (recommended if using unflavored protein)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of white whole wheat flour (if you don't have this, you can use all-purpose)

  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup protein powder of choice

  • ½ cup of brown sugar

  • 1 ½ tsp of baking powder

  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

  • ½ tsp of nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp of cloves

  • ¼ tsp of allspice

  • ¼ tsp of ginger

  • ½ tsp of salt

  • ½ cup of pecans or walnuts (roughly chopped) or chocolate chips, plus more for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, protein powder, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, and salt) and whisk to combine. Don’t add the nuts or chocolate chips yet.

  3. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold them together a couple of times. After a few folds, add the chopped nuts to the batter and fold a 2-4 more times. Make sure not to overwork the batter – the dough should be lumpy and barely combined!

  4. Let the muffin batter sit for 10 minutes.

  5. After the batter has rested, use a ¼ measuring cup to scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. Each cupcake liner should be approximately 2/3 full.

  6. Top the muffins with any remaining chopped nuts.

  7. Bake the muffins for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  8. Transfer the muffins from the muffin tray to a cooling rack – enjoy!

Tips for Storing:

  • Let them cool all the way before storing them to prevent condensation from creating soggy muffins

  • Place in paper towel lined tupperware and store in the fridge for up to a week. Heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds

  • Place in ziplock baggie and store in the freezer for long-term storage. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds

If you try out this recipe, be sure to tag @fueling_forward and @runningonbreakfast on Instagram or comment below and let us know what you think!

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