Monthly Archives: January 2016

Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread

Loaf of healthy walnut raisin quick bread.

Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread is delicious and good for you, too.

I love to bake, and this Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread is a favorite of mine.

It took a lot of tries to get this recipe to work.  As a recipe developer, I’ve goofed by cutting back too much on one ingredient or another. You can benefit from my mistakes because I finally got it right this time!

Making Healthy Bread Without Yeast

When yeast is in short supply and when time is tight, quick breads, including muffins, scones, biscuits, and cornbread, are appealing to home bakers. Quick breads rise because they contain baking powder or baking soda (or both) and eggs.

As an impatient baker, I like to bake once, and eat twice.  Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread makes two loaves (or 24 muffins), and freezes well if you don’t need all of it at once.

How to Reduce Added Sugar in Quick Breads

The problem with many quick bread recipes is that they are full of added sugar. I have a sweet tooth, and I can easily go overboard with granulated, and brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and honey – all added sugars – but cutting back too much can be disastrous for baked goods.

This recipe is not free of added sugar. However, I’ve decreased the sugar content by using unsweetened applesauce, which also stands in for some of the oil, and raisins, which contribute natural sweetness. In addition to reducing added sugar levels, applesauce and raisins improve taste and texture, and add phytonutrients (protective plant compounds), potassium, and other nutrients.

Nuts Add Nutrition to Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread 

I see a lot of quick bread recipes with chocolate chips, and, to tell the truth, my kids favor those! I’m not such a big fan, though. Even though I love chocolate, I substitute nuts.

I’m always looking for opportunities to improve nutrition without sacrificing taste. In this case, I’ve used walnuts, which supply protein, fiber, phytonutrients, and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. I love the crunch that they lend to the bread, too.

Also, to increase whole grain content, I swapped some whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, and I added oats.  You could use even more whole wheat flour, or make other substitutions. Here’s how.

Healthy walnut raisin quick bread made into muffins.

You can make this recipe as muffins, if you like.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I do!

Healthy Walnut Raisin Bread

Try this healthier version of a delicious quick bread!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: quickbread, raisins, walnuts
Servings: 24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray or line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, oatmeal, brown sugar, raisins, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.
  • Place the applesauce, canola oil, eggs, and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. 
  • Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix. 
  • Fill the loaf pans with the batter, dividing it evenly between the 2 pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing. If you're making muffins, cook for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Notes

Per slice or muffin:
219 calories,
11 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat),
228 milligrams sodium,
29 grams carbohydrate, 
6 grams added sugars,
2 grams fiber,
4 grams protein

pin for healthy walnut raisin quick bread

How To Eat Less Sugar

sugar crystals falling into a pile

Are you concerned about the sugar in your diet? Here’s how to eat less sugar without feeling deprived of the sweet stuff.

Are added sugars the same as natural sugars? 

I like sweets as much as the next person, but I’m happy that experts suggest a daily limit on added sugar in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). That’s because excess intake is linked to several health problems.

But there’s no need for most people to go completely sugar-free, however.  

The DGA recommendation is for added sugar, not the natural type found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, and plain dairy foods (which is called lactose). However, people with diabetes should monitor all types as part of a balanced eating plan. 

fresh fruits and vegetables

Sugar can be part of a healthy eating plan. But there’s more room for nutrient-rich choices when you limit added sugar. 

For example, sipping low-fat milk instead of regular soda helps to satisfy protein, calcium, and vitamin D needs. And, choosing fruit instead of cookies supplies more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which are protective plant compounds.

How much added sugar can babies and toddlers have? 

A new scientific report suggests that children under the age of two have no added sugar. Here’s why: 

• The calories (energy) in added sugars is likely to displace energy from nutrient-rich foods. For example, milk and sugary soda both have sugar in them. The difference is that milk does not have added sugar and is a source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Sugary soda offers nothing but calories.

• Consuming foods with added sugars, such as granola bars, beverages, and cookies, is linked to an increased risk of becoming overweight in children. 
 
• Children develop food preferences early in life. The more added sugars they eat as babies and toddlers, the more likely they will prefer sweet foods. 
 
What about 100% fruit juice for babies? The report recommends no juice for kids under 12 months. Between the ages of one and three years of age, kids should drink no more than four ounces a day of 100% fruit juice according to the American Academy of Pediatrics
 

Read: Getting more sleep may curb your sweet tooth


How to eat the right amount of added sugar for your body

Suggested sugar limits are related to calorie intake. That’s why young children with lower calorie needs should have less added sugar than active teen boys, for example. (See Figuring Your Daily Sugar Allowance, below.)

First, find out how many calories you need to lose, maintain, or gain weight here. Then, do the math to figure your daily added sugar limit in grams. Many adults need about 2,000 calories a day.Here’s an example using a 2,000 calorie/day eating plan:

• Figure the number of sugar calories allowed: 2,000 calories daily multiplied by .10 (10%) of calories as sugar daily = 200 calories of sugar daily

• Find your sugar allowance in grams: 200 divided by 4 (there are 4 calories in each gram of sugar) equals 50 grams of sugar daily

50 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 12.5 level teaspoons of table sugar. That’s about the amount in 16-ounces of regular soda.

How to read food labels to eat less added sugar 

Knowing your sugar allowance in teaspoons and in grams is helpful for curbing intake. The revised Nutrition Facts panel on food labels lists the amount of added sugar in grams and as a %Daily Value (%DV).

2016 food label example

The %DV is a guide to the nutrients in a serving of food. For example, if the label lists 10 percent of the DV for a nutrient, it means that a single serving provides 10 percent of the daily allowance.

The %DV for nutrients is based on a 2,000-calorie eating plan for healthy adults, so your sugar “allowance” may differ. For example, a person who requires 2,600 calories to maintain a healthy weight can eat up to 65 grams of added sugar daily as part of a balanced diet.

Once you know your sugar limit in grams, it’s possible to tally the amount you get from packaged foods as well what you add to foods, such as coffee, tea, and cereal. For reference, one level teaspoon of sugar contains four grams.

tips for eating less added sugar pinterest graphic

Simple tips to eat less sugar 

I can’t say that I’ve completely tamed my sweet tooth, and that’s OK. Here are some simple tips I use for keeping sugar intake in check. 

• Avoid sugary drinks. Drink water, milk, or calorie-free beverages instead of regular soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages. 

• Minimize sweet treats. Enjoy smaller portions of cookies, candy, and other sweet treats, such as a mini cupcake or a fun-size candy bar. The first few bites of any food are the most pleasurable. 

• Don’t fool yourself. Honey, maple syrup, and molasses are all sources of added sugar. 

• Cut down on sugar in favorite foods. Mix your favorite sugary cereal with an unsweetened kind, like nutrition expert, mom, and blogger Sally Kuzemchak does. (See her post about 5 Easy Ways to Cut Sugar from Your Child’s Diet.)  Fill a tall glass with cold seltzer water and add just a splash of 100% fruit juice.  Sweeten plain yogurt with a teaspoon of sugar, honey, jam, or molasses. 

Bake with less. When baking muffins and other quick breads, cut the granulated or brown sugar by at least one-third.

• Rely on fruit. Swap syrup on pancakes and waffles for applesauce or other pureed fruit. Whip up a smoothie with ripe fruit and milk or Greek yogurt.  This Dried Fig, Goat Cheese, and Apple Galette gets most of its sweetness from fruit. 

• Compare packaged foods. Sugar is added to foods such as bread, granola, instant oatmeal, and pasta sauce. Compare brands and opt for the least amount of sugar per serving as seen on the Nutrient Facts panel.

 

 

 

Should You Weigh Yourself Every Day?

scale-403585_1920

I’ve been on a lot of low-calorie diets, mostly as a teenager, and my dietary deprivation always involved frequent tracking of my “progress” on the bathroom scale.  I felt accomplished when I dropped a pound or two, and terrible when I didn’t.  As a registered dietitian counseling people about weight control, I made stepping on the scale optional, but should you weigh yourself every day?

Is it OK toWeigh Yourself Every Day?

In my personal and professional experience, the scale can leave emotional scars. That’s why I was a bit surprised by an article that suggests weighing yourself daily is helpful for losing weight and preventing weight gain.

That conclusion may be based on the results of several research studies, but it does not apply to everyone, and certainly not to children.


It was clear that my self-esteem was affected by the numbers on the scale, and I didn’t like the feeling.


How Weighing Yourself May be Harmful

As Laura Cipullo, RD, author of The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, puts it in the article, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and start to identify your self-worth with what’s on the scale.

If you struggle with disordered eating, weighing yourself daily may not be a good idea. In fact, the studies mentioned in USA Today excluded people with a history of disordered eating, who may be more prone to obsessing about weight and respond to falling or rising numbers on the scale with extreme dieting or binging.

How to Make Peace with the Scale

I would like to think that I’ve made peace with the scale, even though I weigh myself more often now than in the past 20 or 30 years. I use the scale to confirm that I must get back on track before the pounds really add up, not to deride myself for veering off course.

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with weighing ourselves. Do you weigh yourself on a regular basis?

 

 

 

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