A warm slice of quick bread is tasty on a cool morning. While breads can
feature good-for-you foods such as pumpkin or banana, these loaves also
have their share of fat, sugar and carbs. But the health conscious can
have their quick bread and eat it, too, just by tweaking recipes to emphasize
more nutritious ingredients. Try these tips when baking your next batch:
Don't use white flour. Whole-wheat or white whole-wheat flour has more of the grain that is better
for your health than refined white flour, which can make insulin levels
spike in the body. If you need to go gluten free, try a non-wheat flour
made from almonds or oats.
Cut the saturated fat. Butter can add a rich flavor to quick bread, but there are healthier ways
to get that richness. Avocado offers creaminess along with heart-healthy
fats. A more common swap is to use vegetable oil, which is higher in polyunsaturated
or monounsaturated fats that are also better for the heart than saturated
fats. Trying to cut down on fat in general? Use nonfat plain yogurt or
unsweetened applesauce, which will help ensure a moist texture in your
Shrink the sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more you increase your risk for several health
problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So try cutting
back the amount of sugar called for in a recipe by one-quarter or one-third.
You can also use brown sugar--it's got a stronger flavor than white
sugar, so you don't have to use as much of it. Honey, maple syrup
or agave nectar can also be used as sweeteners but should be used in minimal
amounts--they have high sugar content and can cause blood sugar to rise.
Make the most of the mix-ins. Sure, chocolate chips are delightful when studded through a loaf of banana
bread, but they can add even more sugar and fat to the quick bread. Instead,
stick with healthy nuts such as walnuts or almonds--toasting them for
a few minutes before adding them to the batter adds another level of flavor.
Dried fruits are another good choice--their sweetness means you can cut
back on the sugar in your recipe.
Spice things up. When it comes to quick bread, the big difference between bland and flavorful
lays in the spices. Cinnamon can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar,
ginger and cardamom have anti-inflammatory properties, and cloves are
thought to have antibacterial and antioxidant powers. Don't be shy
on coming up with a blend of healthy spices to sprinkle in the batter
and on top of the quick bread.