Whole Story

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Make it Natural: Healthier Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread Summer zucchini season inspired Jill, one of our Whole Story readers, to request a healthier version of her mom's zucchini bread recipe, since mom's version used loads of vegetable oil. Thanks for the opportunity to play around with this! We love zucchini bread too - one of summer's best treats and an excellent way to use up an abundance of summer squash. Typical recipes do call for a lot of oil (a cup of oil in batter? Yuck!), so we cut back on that and made a few other improvements as well. Check out our Healthier Zucchini Bread recipe. Here's a rundown on how we updated this classic to improve the nutritional profile:
  • Substituting whole wheat flour for enriched white flour adds fiber-you'll get about 3 grams of fiber in each serving of our zucchini bread-as well as important vitamins and minerals.
  • Applesauce is a naturally fat-free ingredient that can be substituted for oil in many baked good recipes-try it! It also contributes some vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and vitamin C, that traditionally would not be there.
  • Yogurt, an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iodine, is another ingredient that can be substituted for some of the oil in baked good recipes-in this zucchini bread we added two tablespoons.
  • Zucchini is the low-calorie, naturally fat-free secret ingredient and hidden vegetable in this recipe. The cup of zucchini used in the recipe contributes essential nutrients such as fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and magnesium.
  • You can never go wrong with walnuts! Our recipe calls for 1/3 cup walnuts, adding protein, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium. They are lower in saturated fats, higher in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic (ALA).
  • Per serving, when compared to a more traditional zucchini bread, (with more oil!), our recipe saves about 70 calories and 4 grams of fat while adding 2 grams of fiber.
Did you miss the link above? Check out our Healthier Zucchini Bread recipe now. Zucchini So, the next time your neighbor hands you some zucchini over the fence, you'll be ready with this recipe. And try some of our other tips for improving the nutrition of your homemade baked goods. Got a recipe that needs a natural makeover? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card. We're starting work on our holiday plans, so think ahead to some of your favorite seasonal recipes you'd like to see improved and let us know! Send us your idea for a chance to win a $25 gift card!

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44 comments

Comments

Gizelle says …

I have a corn casserole recipe that is super easy to make and a realy delicious family favorite but it's loaded with BAD things. I would love it if there were a way to keep it easy but make it healthy and natural... Ingredients 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy) 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

ashonfire says …

FLUFF. As in sandwich fluff. Make THAT natural!

Jennifer Meredith says …

Chicken Enchiladas I PREP TIME 30 Min COOK TIME 30 Min READY IN 1 Hr 30 Min INGREDIENTS 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1 onion, chopped 1/2 pint sour cream 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon dried parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce 1/2 cup water 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 clove garlic, minced 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas 1 (12 ounce) jar taco sauce 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear. Drain excess fat. Cube the chicken and return it to the skillet. Add the onion, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano and ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, green pepper and garlic. Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. Arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with taco sauce and 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

hannah says …

Ah, clever with the whole wheat pastry flour. I thought that was my secret I'd take with me to the grave... But now that it's out, I have one suggestion. I haven't tried this particular recipe, but I find that adding a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten improves the texture of most of my whole grain creations. Don't know how it affects the nutritional value, though I don't imagine it could be bad!

Amanda Stubblefield says …

I absolutely LOVE macaroni and cheese. The creamier and cheesier, the better. How can I make this a more healthy comfort food?

Stacey says …

pie crust - need a way to make a flaky tasty crust without all the bad stuff. ;^)

Lisa Brodnax says …

Homemade Mac And Cheese

Carey says …

A vegan pudding or dessert - homemade of course

Maggie Manelis says …

Spaghetti and meatballs needs a healthy makeover....instead use spaghetti squash, pan fry some tempe in a soy/honey/garlic sauce, use a healthy tomato sauce and add any veggies (I add broccoli). You have much less carbs, still a lot of protein, and lots of vitamins :)

Ellen Polzien says …

Here's a "Make It Natural" challenge: I have a hard time convincing friends who are fans of the packaged "helper" stovetop dinners that it's just as fast and easy to assemble a similar protein/starch/savory sauce dish with healthy, un-exotic ingredients that will appeal to kids as well as adults. Help me prove the naysayers wrong!

Susan C Hunter Turner says …

A healthy Carrot Cake Recipe would be nice. And,of course, CheeseCake and Poundcake

Cathy Rothecker says …

Could you find a healthier version of chicken divan. My mom's recipe calls for a large can of cream of mushroom soup and a large can of cream of chicken soup along with 1/2cup mayo. I've already substituted the brown rice in place of the white rice my mom uses and cannola mayo. Any suggestions? Also we served this with yummy pillsbury croissants. Do you have a healthier version of those as well. Thank you Sincerely Cathy O'Reilly-Rothecker

Ken Webb says …

I have a cheesecake recipe that has always - always been the best ever,..people call me and ask for one to be sent in the mail ,..etc,..it is really really good - but,.. I have been thinking I would like to make a more natural - organic version of it - that Tastes as good,..as rich ,..as creamy! I was trying your new goats milk yogurt,..and i was shocked at how close it tasted to the yummy stuff we had while living in Geneva - where everything is organic- here goes the recipe- I do the whole thing to taste and to it's thickness as a whole. A semi New York Style - 1 stick of butter - try to find the darkest colored one ,..Irish or european - the american version is sorta weak 1 pint sour cream 4 8 oz packgs of philly crm cheese 4 eggs 4 cups of sugar 12 oz of fresh baked shortbread cookies or 12 oz grahm crakers 1 lemom Almond Flavor/and or Almond liquior madagascar vanilla 1 medium or large sized spring form. fresh sea salt take the cookies and - use a food processor - crush the cookies,.. (start to melt the stick of butter) put into the mix a pinch of fresh crushed sea salt ,..mix - add in 2-3 tablespoons of sugar - this is to taste! u can substitute some bakers coco ( no sugar kind,..) or large pieces of fresh made cookies into the mix and you will have a stellar cake-or any number of yummy treats.-If you do this - do not crush them too small- just press them into the crust before you cook it. Pour mixture into a bowl. Slowly pour in some butter - a little at a time and mix with a spoon,..until all the mixture is buttered and moist. Take the mix and put in a spoon on the bottom of the springform and smoosh it down with the back of the spoon. If it doesnt hold,..mix more butter into the mix until it packs and stays to shape. - do the bottom and sides of pan. Cook this at 450 for 5-10 minutes - do not let it burn or get dark brown! - take it out and let it cool ,..place in freezer ( this makes for a super crispy crunch crust ( i dislike the soggy mesy crusts) next - we have the creme cheese ( at room temp!) and place in mixing bowl or processor. we can mix this slowly until it is smooth and mixed,..no high speed mixing! - slowly ad in one egg at a time - mixing on slow speed - to keep it from getting over beat and air bubbles. slowy add the sugar to tatste - yes to taste,..some like it sweet - others like it to be like cheese and little sweetness,..then add in atleast 1 table spoon fresh madagascar vanilla. here u can have some fun if you like and take a spoon and mix in any liquior you like,..just add about 2 tablespoons and stir it in wiht about 5- 7 strokes. so it is marbeled. take out the frozen crust ,..pour in the cheese mixture. cook in oven at 425 for 1 hour and then 350 until it is done all the way through,..the stuff with a water tray ect,..may need to be done. while it is cooking,..take the pint of sour cream you can hand mix it,..add in about 1/8 cup of sugar,...mix it till it is all combined. Pour in 1/2 tsp of the almond flavor or liquior,..to taste folks,..then add in 1 tsp of fresh squeezed lemon. stir well. after the cheesecake is done - and cooked all the way through - no cracks! if it starts crack or you want to prevent this,...take a sharp knife and run it between the crust and the spring form all the way around -- this will allow the cake to move a bit. if it is over cooking ,..add a piece of tinfoil over the springform and turn down the heat and just cook lower - longer. when done ,..take out - pour the cold sour cream mixture over the top,..back at 425 - 450 for just 10 minutes. - take the cake ougt and let cool - all the way down. once cool you will tighly cover with plastic wrap,..DO NOT LET IT TOUCH THE INSIDE OF THE CAKE - let cool in fridge for at least 8 hours to set. topping,..seriously people - anything tastes good on this,..chopped bananas,..fresh pacific northwest bluberrys,..fresh fruit,..mango slices,..kiwi,..I tell u - ur friends and family will remember this cheesecake for decades,..they do with me,..if u need a glaze thats a whole-nother story :-) happy cooking! p.s. do not add flour or I will come over and brake your fingers,..lolz! I do this whole thing by memory and do not have a card for it...so if i missed something --OOPS! p.s. this served with a brut - dry champagne (not too sweet! - with come complex flavors) is to die for ,..u dont need one more than 50 bucks,..to make this a dessert that will - chances are,..be the best dessert your friends will ever,..ever have.

Audrey Sheppard says …

My son has been wanting some Rice Krispy Treats that are all-natural. Audrey :)

Cailean says …

One recipe I've had to discard is an Orzo Casserole. It is just too high in fat. Essentially it's 1.5 cups of dry orzo that you boil until it's done. Then you mix in about 14oz diced green chili peppers, 1.5 cups sour cream and 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Then you pour that into a casserole dish and top with grated parmesan cheese. It's very good but obviously very high in fat. I'm sure you could replace the sour cream with plain yogurt but that wouldn't taste quite the same. It needs a healthier binding agent. Thanks!

Mama Mel says …

How about a recipe for a healthier barbeque sauce? My son loves barbeque sauce on his meats, but most store-bought brands are loaded with sugar! Here's the recipe I came up with, but I am not sure how much healthier it is... Check it out at: http://mamamelloves1.blogspot.com/2009/04/better-bbq-sauce.html

Katie says …

I'd love to see a super healthy make over for cobb salad. There are so many classic salads out there that are deceivingly healthy. It would be great to see this one with less fat or healthier fat without losing the fab flavor

Jennifer Harris says …

I would like a new healthy twist on lasagna. Maybe with gluten free pasta and more veggies or ground turkey. I sure miss me some lasagna1

Pascal King- Elmer says …

I would like to see a healty 'makeover' of Tiramisu.....if possible a Vegan version?....Is that asking too much!!.....Thanks P :) Loyal customer of Phillips Crossing store, Orlando Fla.

Erica says …

Chili con queso - It's so good with Velveeta and Canned tomatoes, but so unnatural and unhealthy!

Gina says …

Would love to make this recipe natural so my son will have a beverage at Cub Scout outings. Hot Cocoa Mix 8 qt. non-fat dry milk mix 11 oz. coffee mate 16 oz. Nestle Quik 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 cup sugar 2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt Mix all ingredients together. To make Hot cocoa, combine 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.

Karen Pellegrin says …

My very favorite dish is my dad's Rigatoni. We have it every Christmas, and I would love to make a completely healthy version for him this year. Not that his isn't healthy, but I think it could be a bit less fatty/oily and still taste good. Especially, if you could get nicely spiced, well mixed bolognaise and bechamel sauces.

Lauren Hatcher says …

You know what needs a makeover? That kitchen classic of green bean casserole. It's a staple of family gatherings, no matter what time of year. You know some folks are making it for the 4th. And Labor Day. And Thanksgiving, etc. etc. It's the first thing I ever learned to cook. We should update it. Lets review the "traditional" ingredients, shall we? 1 can of Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp. soy sauce Dash ground black pepper 4 cups cooked cut green beans (usually from a can as well) 1 1/3 cups French Fried Onions We have non-natural ingredients, non-fresh, high in fat, cholesterol, and an insane about of sodium. I want, no, need a fresh and healthy alternative I can feed to my family and friends. =)

Rebecca says …

American tradition, green beans with cream sauce and onion rings

Alison says …

I love to bake and often make these Chunky Streusel Jam Squares for potlucks, picnics or to give as gifts. They are very easy to make, but people love them. I found the recipe on Nestle's Very Best Baking website. They are very decadent but delicious to eat in small portions, and especially frozen (straight from the freezer, they have a nice firm texture). With two sticks of butter and nearly 2 cups of chocolate chips (sometimes, I cut this back to a little over 1 cup because they are so rich), I would love a lighter recipe that still gives the same decadent feel. http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/detail.aspx?ID=29643#

Ceecy Gunn Robinson says …

Although I like to think I cook naturally, I would like to see a makeover of a classic, comfort-style meal. For example, the usual menu would have typically a fried entree (catfish or chicken), a starch (mashed potatoes, cornbread, macaroni & cheese) and a vegetable or two, usually with added butter, not to mention a dessert like a berry cobbler. Although these foods are tasty, we know about the saturated fats and lessened nutritional value through over-cooking. I would like to see: focus on local and/or seasonal ingredients, possibly vegetable purees as substitutes for sides, and a tasty, less-fattening method for handling the chicken or catfish - but still with "comfort" in mind. Even a more healthy version of a berry cobbler, perhaps a raw version w/ground nuts as a the "crust"? I am intrigued to see possibilities!

Kathy Watson says …

I would love to see a healthier version of "Fruit Pizza". Most of the recipes call for a crust of refrigerated sugar cookie dough and a cream cheese/ frozen non-dairy topping as the "cheese". This can't be real helathy, but I can see potential as a great summer treat. Thanks!

Donna says …

Hi.. I was WONDERING IF you possibly had a homemade recipe for a wholesome-healthy idea for an energy bar? all natural all the better. Any ideas?! Help!

David Casler says …

A healthier version of red velvet cake would be awesome--finding a way to get the typically artificial coloring natural, and still get the finished product to stay that deep, luscious red.

Kelli Wallace says …

My mom's poppy seed cake is hands-down the best poppy seed cake I've had and it's so simple, too. However, it is loaded with hydrogenated oil, hfcs for the cake mix, and tons of fat. I'd like to see a healthier, more natural version of this cake that stands up to the original without processed cake mix. Recipe: 1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden cake mix 1 8 oz. carton sour cream 1/2 cup sugar 3/4 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs 1/4 cup poppyseeds Mix well and pour into a greased/dusted with sugar bundt pan. Bake 50 min-1 hour @ 350* You may drizzle with lemon icing if you wish but not necessary.

Grace says …

My family love mashed potatoes —chunky, skin-left-in or just the plain old creamy ones. However, most recipes call for tons of butter and heavy cream, which means loads of calories and fat. Are there workarounds to lower those calories while keep the potatoes moist and flavorful?

Deborah says …

I need help with a jam recipe. I love how it tastes to make strawberry or peach jam (peaches from our tree) but the recipe I have uses about 50/50 of fruit to sugar mixture. Is there any way to have this still taste great and have it healthier? I can email the whole recipe if you want. I'd love to have this entered in the $25 recipe make-over drawing. Sincerely, Deborah

Stacy Gill says …

I just made a killer sesame salmon recipe. Salmon painted with natural sage honey, sea salt, sesame oil and sesame seeds sprinkled on top, baked @ 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It is so mouth wateringly delicious!!

Brittany says …

Make Funfetti Cupcakes natural!!! so good!

Alicia Meade says …

My favorite dish is broccoli casserole but its so full of cheese and mayonnaise. What can I do to make it at least a little healthier?

Nina says …

Peach shortcake is summer classic. Though it's very satisfying and delicious, it's not healthy. Is there some ways to build a a lighter -but still tasty- peach shortcake? Ingredients Shortcakes 3 cups all purpose flour 3 Tbsp granulated sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract Peaches 2 lb. fresh ripe peaches, about 6 2 tbsp. granulated sugar Filing 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup whipped cream 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lime peel Directions Prepare Shortcakes: Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Toss with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. (Or pulse several times in a food processor.) Combine the cream and vanilla in a liquid measure. Make a well in the center of the flour and and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it should look shaggy and still feel a little dry. Gently knead by hand five or six times to create a loose ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into an 8-inch square, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover with plastic and chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat the oven to 425ºF. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Cut the dough into 9 even squares and spread them about 2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet. Bake until the biscuits are medium golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Prepare peaches: Wash peaches, peel. Cut in halves, remove pits. Slice peaches thinly into a medium bowl, or crush coarsely. Sprinkle peaches with sugar. Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Prepare Filling: In another medium bowl, with mixer at medium speed, combine cream cheese and sugar. With rubber spatula, gently fold in whipped cream and lime peel. To serve, split Shortcakes in half. Place bottom half of a Shortcake on each of 9 dessert plates. Top with Filling and Peaches; replace Shortcake tops.

Tammy Poulton says …

I love your cranberry tea bread I buy in your store. Can you change some ingredients to make it healthier?

Brittani says …

The link takes me to the whole food market recipe page, but the zucchini bread recipe is not there. Please help!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BRITTANI - We had a website redesign last year and since this is an older post, the recipe is not longer on our website under the same title. I believe this is the same recipe: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/zucchini-bread.

Miranda says …

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 3/4 cup coconut sugar (or of the like) 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional) or try 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice! 2 eggs (or egg replacement) 2 1/4 cups zucchini (about 2 medium) 1/4 cup coconut oil 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1/4 cup walnuts (optional) 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Babs says …

Zucchini muffin in store awesome , how do I get the recipe?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BABS - I was unable to find a recipe for the muffins on our Recipe site. This means it was probably a wonderful creation by an in-house or regional team member. Check with the store where you purchased the muffin to find out if they have a recipe!

Ambular says …

I have made this bread many times and it is so good! I healthify it further by lowering the oil and upping the applesauce. And I sweeten with stevia. So good with a lick of earth balance.

Lydia m Rodriguez says …

This exactly what I was looking for to reduce fat and sugar and increase fiber. Thank you