Our recipe review series from Karen Graham’s health and wellness books has been incredibly popular and well received. As a result, I’ve expanded the series and will be producing more articles and videos in the coming weeks. Karen, the author is also on board and will be making appearances as well. On behalf of myself and everyone here at Diabetic SAVVY, thank you for the support and the feedback, we appreciate it.

Today we are testing Karen’s Grandma’s Zucchini bread recipe from the book, Diabetes Essentials. We wanted to test zucchini bread because it can answer two very important and challenging questions for many living with diabetes: What baked goods can I eat and can I please have more choices for breakfast? I must get at least 10 questions a week about these topics.

Zucchini bread fills that void perfectly. Easy to make, sweet and is easily suited for breakfast, a snack and even dessert.

Brief History

Zucchini bread has descended from vegetable-based pudding’s like carrot and sweet potato. You can find modern versions of these puddings in dishes like carrot soufflés and sweet potato pies.

Zucchini bread, however, seems to be credited as a true American dish widely referenced during World War 2, and exploding in popularity in the 1960s, when healthier foods became mainstream with the hippy movement.

Why Karen’s recipe works

Karen’s recipe is great for three reasons: it’s simple and straightforward, it uses common, easily accessible ingredients, and she has made only minor changes to a classic recipe that preserves the history, tradition and taste of zucchini bread that one expects when biting into it.

In our video, we made one change. We used quick cooking steel cut oats rather than rolled oats. Our initial thinking was that this would do two things: increase fiber because part of the oat husk is still attached to the grain and the texture of steel cuts oats would compliment the walnuts.

The swap offered little nutritional improvement, but using the steel cuts oats was a great choice for texture. Also, they help provide some of the nutty pop, if one has a nut allergy.

Nutritional considerations

I’ve written in previous posts that Karen is more liberal than I am regarding carbohydrate intake. That’s not to say that her recipes are wrong or unsafe. On the contrary, she is simply more lenient on carbohydrate percentages and those differences still fall within the recommended guidelines for those with Type 2 diabetes.

When I review a recipe or food, I test them with my own blood sugar reaction. I only consume the foods being tested and nothing else for at least 4 hours afterward. In this case, Karen’s Zucchini Bread increased my blood glucose levels to just under 20 points. That’s really important because it is the supports the notion that one could eat her bread alone with less worry than other options.

Given that this recipe contains white flour and sugar, the minimal impact to my personal blood sugars speaks to the importance the role of the other ingredients play in managing blood sugar. These include the walnuts, zucchini and even the cinnamon.

I continue to have great results with Karen’s books and her recipes.

I continue to have great results with Karen’s books and her recipes. It is important that you consult with your doctor regarding any change to your diet that could affect your medical regimen and condition. Please check out our other videos with Karen’s books and don’t forget to listen to our podcast as well.

Grandma’s Zucchini Bread

Diabetes friendly Zucchini Bread from Karen Graham's book, Diabetes Essentials
Servings 12 slices
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins


  • 8½ x 4½ Loaf Pan
  • Mixing Bowls


Bread Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • cups Quick cooking Oats
  • ½ cups Walnuts chopped
  • ½ cups Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • cups Zucchini grated

Topping Ingredients

  • cups Quick coking Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar packed


Equipment preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Greased loaf pan with vegetable oil or line it with parchment paper

Mix together dry ingredients

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, walnuts, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mix together wet ingredients

  • In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir in zucchini, add flour mixture in three additions, stirring just until moistened.
  • Add flour mixture to wet mixture in three additions, stirring just until moistened.
  • Spread batter and prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining oats; sprinkle evenly over the batter.
  • Bake for one hour until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Nutritional Information:
Calories per serving: 197
Carbs 26G
Fiber 1G
Protein 4G
Fat 9G
Sodium 177mg
Recipe developed by Karen Graham, RD, CDE and credit sourced with permission: Diabetes Essentials. Tips & Recipes to Manage Type 2 Diabetes published by Robert Rose, 2020
Calories: 197kcal
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bread, Oats, Quick Bread, Zucchini

Join the Conversation

  1. What is the nutritional value of the zucchini bread for per serving? My husband is diabetic and I’m very careful for his carbs and sugar intakes.

    1. Hi Gie, thanks for asking! I talk about the nutritional at the ned of the video, but here they for you as well. Calories: 197, Carbs 26G, Fiber 1G, Protein 4G, Fat 9G and Sodium 177mg. Hope this helps!

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