Chocolate chip muffins are a big crowd pleaser, but they are also loaded with fat and calories when made the traditional way, using butter, oil, and full-fat milk. Fortunately, it's possible to make low-fat chocolate chip muffins that still taste great, but aren't so unhealthy. As a general rule, the best low-fat chocolate chip muffins will always be homemade; if you must buy these in stores, read the packaging to make sure they aren't loaded with chemicals and preservatives instead of fat. There are dozens of recipes to be found online for making delicious low-fat muffins with common kitchen ingredients.
Weight loss nutritionists at the American Cancer Society define the parameters for low-fat foods. If a portion of food has three grams of fat for every 100 calories, it is considered a low-fat food. Look in the nutrition facts of homemade low-fat chocolate chip muffin recipes or pre-packaged treats that follow this formula to find the best ones. Homemade recipes are healthier because you can control the fat content by replacing butter or margarine with mashed fruit for natural sweetness while achieving a similar texture.
In general, it will take some experimentation to choose the best recipe for low-fat chocolate chip muffins for you, since everyone's taste preferences are different. There are some general healthy baking principles, however, that can help point you in the right direction toward recipes that taste good without being high in fat. The first step is to avoid recipes that call for butter; there is little reason that butter -- or margarine -- needs to be included in a chocolate chip muffin recipe. It can be flavorful without it, and it is the source of a large portion of the fat in muffin recipes.
Flour, sugar, and oil are also common ingredients in most muffin recipes that contribute to the high calorie and fat content. Look for recipes for low-fat chocolate chip muffins that provide alternatives for these; for instance, a portion of the white flour can often be replaced with whole wheat flour without altering the taste of the muffins very much. Similarly, some refined sugar can often be replaced with brown sugar. Some canola oil can even be replaced with applesauce in some recipes. In addition, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, and egg whites can often be used to make recipes healthier as well.
Consider also the chocolate in low-fat chocolate chip muffins. Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips will likely be lower in fat and sugar than milk chocolate chips. In addition, some people replace some of the chocolate chips with cocoa powder. This still allows the muffins to have a nice chocolate flavor, but without all of the fat found in the chocolate candies. It can be fun to try different recipes for low-fat chocolate chip muffins to see what works the best, and to try some of your own substitutions to try to make the muffins a little lower in fat and calories.