Let’s face it, kids just don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, mine included. I buy them, but they often turn bad in the fruit bowl or fridge drawer. So I decided that I would try baking bread with fruit or vegetables mixed right in. My kids love these “treats” and I feel better knowing the ingredients I use. It also let’s me find new recipes to try. You never know when you will hit upon a new family favorite!

This is the perfect time of year to start baking. Breads are great for breakfast, after school snacks, in lunch boxes and as desserts. There are many breads you can try. Need some ideas?

Zucchini Bread
Zucchini bread is delicious and most kids don’t mind those little green specks they see. If you shred it very fine and squeeze out excess moisture it can even be a great addition to brownies or cornbread recipes.

Pumpkin Bread
This goes so fast in my house! Served plain, with butter or with a delicious maple butter, pumpkin keeps breads moist and tasty but not overly strong so most people like the flavor. Pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A and carotene. This time of year is perfect to bake everything from pumpkin bread to pumpkin pancakes and freeze them for holiday treats or even gifts to friends and hostesses.

Sweet Potato Bread
Mashed sweet potatoes can be used in lieu of pumpkin and add a nice health benefit to muffins and breads. It’s similar to pumpkin and brings a sweet flavor and soft texture to the bread.

Banana Bread
Moist, delicious and with a nice banana flavor, banana breads offer a nice alternative for a breakfast. It’s a perfect idea for when you find yourself with overripe bananas that no one wants to eat.

Carrot Bread
Colorful and pretty, carrot bread uses finely shredded carrots and is delicious as “carrot cake” with a cream cheese frosting. Try it in muffins too or mix carrots with zucchini for a delightful combination bread.

Tips
I often use applesauce to replace the oil in a recipe, which cuts calories and adds a fruit. Or sometimes I leave just 1 tbsp oil (even if it calls for 1/2 cup) and then fill the rest to the required amount with the applesauce. Adding cranberries, raisins and chopped dates can be a nice healthy addition to add sweetness. I also cut down the sugar in all recipes I use, typically by 1/3.

These are all great to have on hand for your kids and you will know they are getting not only more nutrients in their bodies, but less fat and sugar because you make them yourself. Don’t add random amounts though. Follow recipe directions so your breads will be just the right consistency.