Do you feel confused with all the options in the bread aisle?
If so, you're not alone!
Is multi-grain a good option?
Are all wheat breads healthy?
Why are some breads in the freezer section and others are on the shelf?
Check out our video for a quick tour, along with some tips so you don't feel like you need a chemistry degree to buy a loaf of bread!
Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Making your own will always be the best option! You control the ingredients and customize the "add-ins." Plus, that aroma of a freshly baked loaf of bread is amazing! Check out our coaching tip on how simple it is to make a delicious loaf of bread in your Dutch oven (no kneading required!). One of our favorites is the Cranberry Walnut Rustic Bread. And, another absolutely delicious idea that does not require a dutch oven is the Homemade Herbed Naan Bread.
- Find a local bakery! We love buying breads from local bakeries who we know and who use whole grains and other high-quality ingredients. When we visit family in Kansas City, we buy multiple loaves from a local bakery, and then freeze them and pull out a few slices at a time. After 30 minutes on the counter, they are thawed and ready to go.
- At the store, follow these tips:
- Look for a WHOLE grain as the first ingredient. And, preferably 100% whole wheat or whole grain.
- Ignore the health claims on the packaging.
- Look for a short list of recognizable ingredients. Ideally, find an option with 3 to 6 grams of fiber, 2 grams or less of added sugar, and 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
- Be on the lookout and try to avoid ingredients such as wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, multigrain, enriched or stone-ground wheat flour. These are all sneaky ways to say that the wheat has been refined (meaning the once-healthy grain has been taken apart through processing), and therefore it is NOT 100% whole wheat. While multigrain sounds healthy, this simply means that the bread contains more than one type of grain – although none of them may be whole grains.
We are always on the lookout for sales on our favorite breads. Then, we buy several loaves and store them in the freezer and bring them out as needed. Just this week, we found our favorite varieties of Dave's Killer Bread on sale for 50% off at a local store...SCORE!
What is whole grain?
Just in case you need a refresher on whole vs. processed grains, remember that grains are made up of three parts…the bran, the germ and the endosperm.
The majority of the fiber and nutrients are found in the bran and the germ. With whole grain breads, all three parts of the grain are left intact. But when grains are further refined, the bran and germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm, which is low in vitamins and minerals. This is what happens when white breads and other refined breads are made.
To make up for the nutrients being removed, these refined breads are often "enriched." Keep in mind, the word "enriched" should send off alarm bells -- it is an indicator that the healthy parts of the grain have been removed. The nutrients that are added back to "enrich" the bread are often synthetic and aren't the same as the nutrients found in the whole grains.
To read more about whole grains, check out these coaching tips:
Although breads have become a villain when it comes to healthy eating, there is no need to banish them from your routine! We just need to remember how to search for the healthier options -- and NEVER eat more bread than vegetables!
Do you have a favorite nutritious whole grain bread?
Please share with us!