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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
Cinnamon Bread baked
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Sweet Spice: Cinnamon

In winter, I notice the smells of cinnamon: hot chocolate, spiced sweet potatoes and winter squash, apple and pumpkin pies, cinnamon rolls, gingerbread, chai tea, and more. As a major staple to an herb and spice collection, let's talk about this sweet spice.


Spices, including cinnamon, contain insignificant amounts of fat, carbohydrates, or protein for the small amounts we use in recipes. So, they are not a main source of calories or nutrients. Be aware if you buy pre-blended cinnamon-sugar, there are calories and carbohydrates in the blend.


Part of an educator's role in Extension is answering client questions. Around cinnamon, clients occasionally ask for clarification about something they heard or read:  can cinnamon be used to lower blood sugar in someone with diabetes? The "Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes- 2018" explains there is insufficient evidence to support use of herbal supplements, including cinnamon, for diabetes treatment. For now, stick to sprinkling your recipes with cinnamon.

On the Shelf

  • Buying and Price: Cinnamon is available ground or as sticks, with ground cinnamon tending to be lower in price than cinnamon sticks. Since cinnamon is grown in different countries from different tree species, its country of origin can determine the price tag and flavor. Choose a cinnamon that matches your recipe, your budget, and your taste buds. (For more about varieties of cinnamon, read Just When You Thought Cinnamon Was Treated Alike from North Carolina Cooperative Extension).
  • Store: Store cinnamon at room temperature away from heat and moisture. Ground cinnamon may hold flavor for several years, and cinnamon sticks may keep for up to 5 years. While spices do not spoil or "go bad," once they lose their smell, they will not add the desired flavor to your recipes. If there is no strong "cinnamon" smell, it is time to replace it.
  • Prepare: Packaged cinnamon is ready to use in your recipe whenever you need it.
  • Eat: Enjoy cinnamon is a variety of sweet dishes, but also try cinnamon in savory dishes like curry or marinades.


Cinnamon Quick Bread (Serves 24)

Sweet treats can be part of a healthful diet.  Remember to choose small pieces of sweets, and eat other healthful foods, like fruits and vegetables too.

1 cup whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
3. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
4. In a small bowl combine 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
5. Add a third of batter to bottom of loaf pan. Sprinkle a third of cinnamon-sugar evenly over filling. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon-sugar.
6. With a knife or thin spatula, lightly swirl batter to give a marbled effect.
7. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 100 calories, 3g fat, 180mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 2g protein

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