Walk into almost any pastry store or coffee shop in America and you will stumble upon a counter lined with heavenly pastries, including scones and muffins. Both of these items come in a range of flavors and sizes. It may be difficult to know which is the better option in regards to your health.
A scone is a rich pastry that is often served for breakfast or with afternoon tea. This pastry is extremely popular in Britain. Traditional scones are flaky, dense and slightly sweet. They often include small pieces of dried fruit. Scones can be eaten either warm or cold and often are topped with jam, honey, butter, marmalade or clotted cream. In addition to the sweet variety of scones, they can also be made savory when created with potato flour, cheese and vegetables.
Often scones are dense breakfast pastries that are high in calories. Depending on size, a scone can have anywhere from 150 to 450 calories per pastry. This high calorie treat is also a high fat item. A 450-calorie scone from a popular coffee shop has 18 grams of fat per scone, with almost half of that coming from saturated fat, which is harmful to the heart. Additionally, these high carbohydrate treats have few nutrients, vitamins, minerals or fiber.
When baked with dried fruits, scones can have some health benefits. The dried fruit provides antioxidants and additional fiber, which can promote digestive health.
A muffin is a cup-shaped bread product that is often sweet. Muffins are typically served at breakfast or tea time and come in a variety of flavors. Muffins can be prepared with a range of ingredients, including chocolate, dried fruits, cream cheeses and even vegetables.
In recent years, muffins have ballooned in size. What used to be a small breakfast that fit in the palm of your hand now may cover a small dessert plate. Muffins range from 125 calories to 550 calories depending on size and ingredients.
When baked with whole wheat, oats and other grains, muffins offer fiber, antioxidants and the nutrients. When baked with dried fruits or nuts, muffins provide even more benefits. The nuts supply the body with heart healthy fats, such as omega-3s and vitamins, and the dried fruit supplies the body with antioxidants and fiber.
Scones vs. Muffins
When comparing a muffin to a scone, you first need to be aware of the size of each of these items. The serving size of a normal muffin is 3 oz or about the size of a light bulb. Similar, a scone should be no more than 3 oz or the size of a deck of cards.
Recently, many bakers have worked to produce healthier muffins. Often you can find whole-wheat, fat-free or bran muffins. All these muffins would be a healthier option than your typical scone. Most importantly, when selecting either a scone or a muffin, pay attention to serving size! When eaten in moderation, both of these items can be part of a healthy diet.