This healthy zucchini bread recipe swaps a few ingredients from the traditional loaf to create a healthy breakfast or snack that you can enjoy whenever the heck you want.
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Zucchini bread is one of those baked goods that sounds super wholesome (it has vegetables in it, after all), but is often packed with sugar and simple carbs. The good news is that a few easy tweaks can help make your homemade zucchini bread recipe a delicious anytime option.
I have an affinity for good zucchini bread. Growing up, I used to enjoy my mom's zucchini bread made with fresh zucchini from our garden. Later in life, zucchini bread-inspired oatmeal basically got me through my years as a clinical nutritionist. Haven't tried zucchini oatmeal? You're missing out: I would make a big batch every week with grated zucchini, banana, chia seeds, and eggs cooked in oats to make a filling early-morning breakfast. (Find more high-protein breakfast ideas that aren't eggs.)
Benefits of Healthy Zucchini Bread
Zucchini is a relative to cucumbers, spaghetti squash, and melons. While it's botanically classified as a fruit (mind-blowing, I know), it's typically considered a vegetable.
Low in calories and carbohydrates, zucchini provides a lot of important nutrients. One cup contains 17 calories, one gram protein, less than one gram of fat, three grams of carbs, one gram of fiber, 40 percent of your vitamin A needs, 14 percent daily value (DV) of vitamin C, 13 percent DV of potassium, 10 percent DV of magnesium, nine percent DV of vitamin K, eight percent DV of folate, and 16 percent DV of manganese.
The green veggie is also known to contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial to skin and eye health. Zucchini bread also provides other B-vitamins and small amounts of calcium and iron. (Related: Why B Vitamins Are the Secret to More Energy)
Another reason to love zucchini is that about 95 percent of each veggie is made up of water, which is great for staying hydrated—and perfect for making a moist zucchini bread. (Related: Gel Water Is the New Health Drink Trend That Will Change the Way Hydrate)
How to Make Zucchini Bread Healthier
Making healthy zucchini bread is really just a matter of a few simple recipe hacks. Here are my tricks:
First, increase the fiber content by using whole wheat flour to help you stay full longer and support stable blood sugar levels. White flour used in many traditional zucchini bread recipes can cause a spike and subsequent dip in blood sugar. (Related: Study Suggests Carbohydrates That Are High In Fiber Are Key to Healthy Life)
If preferred, you can use a gluten-free baking mix to turn this into gluten-free zucchini bread, but note that the fiber content may vary. The ground flaxseed in this zucchini bread recipe also provides some extra fiber as well as a good amount of plant-based omega-3s.
To dial back the sugar, this zucchini bread gets its sweetness from ripe bananas and maple syrup—no refined sugar here. Maple syrup actually has a lot of potential benefits, too thanks to more than 20 phytochemicals like lignans and other phenolic compounds. (Related: What Are These Phytonutrients Everyone Keeps Talking About?)
More Zucchini Bread Hacks
- Spread nut or seed butter on top.
- Slice loaf into 12 even pieces and wrap individually for portability and portion control.
- Toast in oven or toaster oven for crispy and extra warm zucchini bread.
- Freeze leftovers.
Follow the recipe below to learn how to make zucchini bread that you can enjoy for a satisfying breakfast or a healthy snack.
Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread Recipe
Makes 12 slices
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or gluten-free baking mix)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 small ripe banana, mashed
- 1 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9"x5" loaf pan or line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground flax, cinnamon, cloves, and sea salt.
3. Add oil, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, banana, and zucchini. Mix gently. It's okay if it still has a few lumps.
4. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition information (per slice): 186 calories, 5g protein, 9.56g fat, (1.3g saturated, 5.3g monounsaturated, 2.2g polyunsaturated), 22g total carbs, 3g fiber, 7g sugar