Pie gives pumpkins a bad rap, but the truth is the orange squash is chock full of healthy goodness. The not-so-spooky veggie is loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that’s converted to vitamin A in the body. “Recent studies suggest it may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and protect against heart disease,” says Sarah Jones, Nutrition Counselor for Mountainside Fitness Scottsdale. Here, Sarah dishes up a good-for-you recipe for Pumpkin Bread, but instead of the usual baking suspects, Sarah swaps in healthier ingredients. Here’s the recipes + some of Sarah’s healthy swap suggestions…
Whole Grain Spelt and Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
(Recipe adapted from: Ellie Krieger, RD) serves 10
¾ cup whole grain sprouted spelt flour (I used a sprouted one from Whole Foods Market: www.organicsproutedflour.net; can also sub with a whole wheat flour)
2/3 cup white sprouted wheat flour (I used the same sprouted brand; can also sub with an all-purpose flour)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. table salt
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh is best, but canned works too)
½ cup packed coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp walnuts, pecans or pepitas (sprinkled on top), optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °. Position rack in center of oven and. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (I used olive oil spray).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, oil, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated (do not over mix).
4. Spoon the batter into prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter. Sprinkle the top with nuts or seeds (if using), pressing them down gently.
5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until top is browned and/or inserted toothpick comes out clean (if the bread begins to brown too much before it’s fully baked, place a piece of aluminum foil on top).
6. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing.
[Nutritional information per serving; Calories (kcal) 227; Fat (g) 9; Saturated Fat (g) 1; Protein (g) 5; Carbohydrates (g) 35; Sodium (mg) 255; Cholesterol (mg) 42; Fiber (g) 3; Sugars (g) 21]
3 Better Baking Swaps – Nutrient boosts that deliver!
1. Flour power – Replacing the flours with sprouted flours may increase the bioavailability of nutrients within the flour and may also be easier to digest. Using “alternative” flours like spelt (an ancient grain with a deep nutlike flavor that’s related to wheat) increases variety, as well as nutrients in your diet.
2. Better than butter – Replacing butter with olive oil adds healthy fats – and decreases saturated fats!
3. Sugar swap – Replacing brown sugar with coconut palm sugar decreases the fructose content. Recent research suggests that excessive fructose consumption promotes weight gain.