How to make a boxed mix healthier + pumpkin bread recipe

Today I wanted to talk about moderation and reality in the setting of eating healthy. It is so easy to get discouraged when time is limited or motivation is lacking to prepare healthy foods. Getting rid of the all-or-nothing mentality about eating healthy can be tough, but learning to accept that a healthy lifestyle includes some unhealthy foods every now and then is the key.

As a dietitian, the common misconception is that we eat 100% healthy 100% of the time. Often times when I tell someone I am a dietitian, they immediately feel the need to justify what they are eating, explain why they weigh what they do, or presume “oh you must never eat anything bad!”. Well I wish I could say that I eat healthy all the time, but to be honest, I don’t. Dietitians are human and we crave the bad, unhealthy foods just like the next person. Understanding this is the key to having a good relationship with food and truly understanding the concept of moderation. We can’t be perfect all the time, but if we strive to eat healthy and have healthy habits most of the time, there is room for some of the less healthy stuff to fit in!

All of that said, I wanted to share some tips on how to “healthify” a boxed quick bread mix.

GASP….the dietitian uses boxed mixes?

Yes, occasionally. There are times when whipping up a bread, cake, or a dozen cookies from scratch is just not feasible. Im sure many of you can relate and have been in situations where you need to bring something to work for a birthday celebration, drop something at the kids school, or bring a treat to brunch. As the holiday season approaches and time becomes limited, convenience tends to win out over health.

Sure, boxed mixes are not the most healthy; however, you can modify what you add/don’t add to make them slightly healthier. This is a better alternative than picking something up from a bakery or grocery store that has already been prepared, likely not with nutritional stats as the first priority.

Throughout the fall, I love to make pumpkin bread, and always seem to stock up on this mix when I see it at Costco for the first time of the season.

pumkin- box mix

The mix calls for addition of 1 egg, 1/3 cup of oil and 2/3 cup of water. To replace the oil, I substituted ~1/2 cup of pumpkin puree. This cuts calories and fat, while adding some extra fiber and vitamin A. I also added ~1/2 cup flax seed for extra fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.


I baked at 350 for 40 minutes and it was perfectly moist inside! The end result was delicious and more nutritious than had I prepared it according to the directions.



Talk to us: What are some of your favorite ways to make a recipe healthier? Do you use boxed mixes?

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