Healthy Pumpkin Spice Bread

Fall is a great time for pumpkin bread! Despite the healthy-sounding name, many versions are pretty much like cake and pack in the sugar and calories (the popular Starbuck’s pumpkin bread is more than 400 calories). This recipe maximizes the pumpkin to produce a tasty and moist bread. More pumpkin also means you’ll get more of this healthful vegetable in every bite.

Pumpkin is an exceptional source of carotenoids, pigments that act as antioxidants and are being studied for their disease-prevention potential. Pumpkin is also a good source of dietary fibre and other important vitamins and minerals. A half cup of sugar is all you need to sweeten this loaf, and a good proportion of whole wheat flour delivers more fibre and other nutrients than using all white flour.


  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or melted butter or trans-free margarine)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Coat an 8 ½ x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, butter, or margarine, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in pumpkin, canola oil, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in raisins.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until all dry ingredients are incorporated into batter. Do not beat or over-mix. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

Makes 1 loaf (12 slices)

Using Fresh Pumpkin

Canned pumpkin works well in this recipe, but you may want to use fresh pumpkin when they are in season. It’s generally not a good idea to use large pumpkins for cooking, since they don’t have as much flesh and it tends to be more watery, stringy, and have less flavour. Small pumpkins (about 10-12 inches in diameter) are best for cooking.

Motivated to cook your own? Check out Sheila’s tips for How to Cut and Cook Squash.

Nutrition Per Slice

  • 170 Calories
  • 32 g Carbohydrate
  • 3.5 g Protein
  • 6 g Fat (1 g saturated)
  • 2.5 g Fiber
  • 31 mg Cholesterol
  • 300 mg Sodium
  • 17 g Sugars

This recipe is from  Visit the website for more healthy recipes and sports nutrition articles.

Sheila Kealey is a health promotion consultant, writer, and athlete passionate about encouraging lifestyle habits that promote good health.  She has a Masters’ degree in Public Health and has collaborated on many research studies related to diet and health. Sheila cross country ski races with XC Ottawa, and also competes in triathlons and running races (5k’s are her favourite, but she has gone the distance once, running a 2:57 marathon).  Sheila loves developing healthy recipes, and sharing advice on nutrition, physical activity, sports science, and tasty nourishing foods on twitter and her website.