Maple Pumpkin Bread

Better-for-You Baking: Maple Pumpkin Bread

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maple syrup bucket

Maple syrup is one of nature’s greatest gifts and mysteries. Doesn’t it absolutely boggle your mind to consider who first thought it would be a good idea to drain sap from a tree and boil it down into syrup? Did you know it takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup? We all know maple syrup is blissful on pancakes and waffles, but it is also great for baking and as an all-purpose sweetener, too. Maple syrup as a sweetener fits beautifully into my “better-for-you-baking” approach. Read on to learn all about maple syrup and more about better-for-you-baking.
Maple Pumpkin Bread


I love to bake — and I love to eat sweets and desserts. However, with my weight loss and the big changes in what I eat I need to make adaptations.  I firmly believe desserts belong on a healthy, healthier, or “healthyish” meal plan. Don’t tell me I can’t have something! It only makes me want it more. Enter “better-for-you-baking!”

Better-for-you-baking is a style of baking that uses ingredients in a way that is a little bit better for you than the traditional combinations of ingredients as well as the use of slightly different ingredients. It also includes smaller batches and smaller bakes. Who needs 4 dozen tantalizing temptations, I mean cookies, hanging about? What about a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that makes 8 as seen in this month’s Eating Well magazine?

My approach boils down to when and if I can make a recipe a little bit healthier without compromising the integrity of the recipe or the way it tastes, then why not do it? However, let’s get one thing clear. There are absolutely zero reasons for me to change my Mama’s Poundcake or my Peach Upside Down Cake Not everything needs to be “fixed.” In those instances, I leave the recipe alone and make adjustments with my serving size through portion control.

maple pumpkin bread

What does Glycemic mean?

Maple syrup fits in perfectly as a sweetener with my better-for-you-baking.  Maple syrup is a type of low glycemic sugar. What does glycemic mean? Blood sugar and insulin levels rise when you eat something containing carbohydrates. How fast and how high how fast depends on the food.  The glycemic index measures how quickly a certain food raises blood sugar levels. Pure maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54! White table sugar has a glycemic index of 64 or 65. Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or below are considered to be low glycemic foods.

According to the Harvard Medical School low glycemic foods help you feel full longer; help keep blood sugar more even. The glycemic index of a diet can affect health in various ways. Some of the latest studies suggest that:

  • a low glycemic index diet can help maintain weight loss.
  • a high glycemic index increases the risk of breast, prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers.
  • a high glycemic index diet increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


How to Make Maple Pumpkin Bread on Instagram

Maple Pumpkin Bread

Weight Loss and Health

It’s important to remember that “healthy” is NOT solely about weight loss. I am much happier in my new body. I am thrilled my weight loss has resulted in a lower number on the scale and a smaller pants size– but the numbers that really matter are the numbers on the bloodwork results. My numbers are better than they were over 10 years ago! That’s what really matters.


virginia willis
Photo by Terry Allen xoxo

Point it Out

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoy my recipe for Maple Pumpkin Bread! DO know that it is more savory than sweet. It’s great for as a breakfast bread or as a nibble with a cup of tea. It could most certainly work as dessert, too with a dollop of maple-sweetened whipped cream or yogurt.

WW aka Weight Watchers has changed the point system and it’s more individualized, now. SO, I am not sure how it will work out for you, but for my plan, it’s about 4 points a slice.

Lastly, make sure to check out the Zoar Tapatree website. I love what they are doing. You can use their artisan small-batch crafted maple syrup in all sorts of things — yes, even sweet tea!

Bon Appétit, Y’all

Virginia Willis

maple pumpkin bread


Maple Pumpkin Bread
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Better-for-You Maple Pumpkin Bread

This dump-and-stir quickbread is good and good for you thanks to my better-for-you-baking approach. It's lovely for breakfast with a judicious swipe of unsalted butter. The recipe calls for pumpkin spice, but you can also use cinnamon or quatre epice, a pepper heavy French spice blend available through Penzey's.
This bread comes in around 4 points a slice on my WW points plan.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Appetizer, bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: maple, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice, quickbread
Servings: 16


  • Baking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, cinnnamon, or quatre epice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats


  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine the canned pumpkin, butter, egg, yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir until smooth. Add the flour and stir to combine. Transfer to prepared loaf pan. Using a spatula, smooth the batter, then scatter the oats over the top. Transfer to the heated oven and bake, rotating once, until risen and dark golden brown, about 1 hour. (The temperature should register above 200°F when measured with an instant read thermometer.) Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Stores in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.

If you try this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #virginiawillis on Instagram.

Heads up! I am not a doctor, RD, or health professional nor am I an official WW ambassador or representative. I am simply sharing what works for me. Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in hosting me for a speaking engagement, event, cooking class, or a book signing, let me know! Send an email to and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and I may make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.

Please be nice. Unauthorized use and/or duplication is prohibited. All photos and content are copyright protected. If you wish to republish this recipe, please link back to this recipe on Thanks so much!


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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained chef Virginia Willis has foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and executed the food styling for a Super Bowl commercial seen by over 160 million people. She is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and chef for Food Network Kitchen. Virginia lost 65 pounds and has kept if off for over 3 years. Her health journey has been documented in Eating Well, as a cover story for Woman’s World, Allrecipes, and AARP. Virginia has embraced her new outlook on life and has become a cheerleader for those wanting to make their own life changes, “If a French-trained Southern chef can do it, you can, too!” Her cookbooks include Fresh Start: Cooking with Virginia My Real Life Daily Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss; Secrets of the Southern Table, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Alex vs America, The Rachel Ray Show, Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Virginia has also been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52. She has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. Fans love her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and Good and Good for You Living, a real life health and wellness approach for mind, body, and spirit that includes food, fun, and fitness at

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. KimD

    It is in the oven! Can’t wait to taste it.

    1. KimD

      It is out of the oven and just a perfect balance of flavors. Will make again.

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