Baking the Flavors of Fall: Pumpkin Bread

A healthy pumpkin bread recipe the whole family will love

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Fall is in the air, and it's in our food as well. From lattes to cupcakes, the unmistakable flavors that signify the changes of season are all around us. Yes, I'm talking about pumpkin and the warm spices that go with it, like cinnamon and ginger.

Rebecca Scritchfield
Rebecca Scritchfield
Why not embrace the season with a delicious and easy recipe the entire family will love? Canned pumpkin can serve up way more than pie. How about combining it with banana, oats, eggs, and spices to make a moist pumpkin-banana bread? Believe it or not, this cake-like treat is chock full of nutrition. Check out the health benefits of these ingredients:

• Canned pumpkin is high in vitamin A, iron, and potassium. Current research indicates that a diet rich in vitamin A may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease.

• One banana contains 467 milligrams of potassium, providing powerful protection for your heart. Consuming adequate potassium helps your body prevent high blood pressure and stroke.

• Oats are a very good source of manganese, an essential nutrient that helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and fats. Manganese is also essential for healthy collagen formation for healthy bones and supple skin.

• Eggs contain choline, which is necessary for brain development and memory. An estimated 90 percent of Americans are deficient in choline. Don't throw away those yolks—that's where you will find choline.

• Cinnamon delays the emptying of food from the stomach, which helps avoid a spike in blood sugar after eating carbohydrates.

• Ginger helps boost immunity, reduce joint pain, and aids in digestive health.

This is a great recipe to make with your kids. You can spend time with them while discussing the colors of the foods and how each ingredient packs a nutritional punch. Top off the project by giving the delicious creation to their teacher for Halloween or Thanksgiving, and attach the recipe.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and try it out for yourself.

Pumpkin-Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour for one loaf, or 40 minutes if using mini loaf pans

Serves: 12

• 2 mashed ripe bananas

• 1 can pumpkin puree

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can use corn oil, canola oil, or olive oil or experiment with your favorite)

• 1/2 cup maple syrup

• 2 eggs

• 2 cups flour (try whole wheat pastry flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)

• 1/2 cup rolled oats

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1/2 teaspoon ginger

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly coat an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (or four mini loaf pans) with vegetable oil, and wipe off the excess.

3. Place mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electronic mixer on low speed.

4. Place flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk.

5. Add flour mixture to banana and pumpkin mixture, and stir or lightly beat until just moist.

6. Pour batter into loaf pan, and bake for one hour or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist, helps empower people to build healthy lifestyles. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, Scritchfield is a Washington, D.C., based registered dietitian and fitness expert who encourages clients to find exercise that feels great, learn to manage stress, and establish lifelong eating skills that balance individual nutrition needs with hunger and pleasure. Visit her blog at: www.rebeccathinks.com.