Nutrition : How to Eat Healthy With Bread
How to Pick a Healthy Bread
The healthiest breads are ones that are made completely with whole grain, as whole grains provide more nutritional value than refined grains. When you are in the bread aisle, look for breads that are made with 100 percent whole grains or whole sprouted grains, as those are the most nutritional. As you compare brands, you should also look at the nutritional composition, including the amount of salt, protein, fiber, fat, and sugar in the bread to help choose a healthy bread.
Deciphering Grain Labels
Look for 100 percent whole wheat or whole grain.Whole grain breads are the best for your health. A whole grain still has the bran and the germ, which are the outer coatings of the grain. They provide fiber and nutrients. They also help level out blood sugar spikes.Therefore, look for breads that are labeled 100 percent whole grain wheat for the most nutrition.
- If the label just says "wheat bread," that doesn't mean it's whole grain. Always look for whole grains.
- If you don't like the flavor of wheat bread, try white whole wheat, which is a little bit lighter tasting.
- Refined grains, because they have the bran and germ removed, have little to no fiber and fewer nutrients, so breads made with these grains are less healthy.
Skip "made with whole grains." While breads with this label have whole grains in them, they are made with refined grains, too. Stick to the breads that are made only with whole grains for the healthiest choice.
- However, not every 100 percent whole grain may be labeled that way. Check the ingredients. "Whole" should appear before every type of grain on the list for it to be whole grain.
Avoid breads that are just labeled "multigrain." Like the label "made with whole grains," "multigrain" doesn't mean the bread is all whole grain. Rather, it just means the bread contains more than one kind of grain, some of which may be whole grain.
Consider sprouted bread.Sprouted bread is when the grains are allowed to sprout before being made into bread. Sprouting can increase the amount of some vitamins in the bread, as well as the soluble fiber.
Choosing Bread Based on Nutrition Facts
Check the calories.For a healthier bread, the calories should usually be under 100 calories per slice of bread. You can find the information at the top of the nutritional panel at the back. Check to see if the information provided is for one slice or two slices of bread, so you can make a fair assessment.
Look at the sodium content.When looking at several brands, pick the one that has the least amount of sodium. Lowering sodium is good for heart health. Each slice of bread should contain less than 200 milligrams of sodium.
Focus on fiber on the nutritional panel.Fiber is an important part of your diet, and it is essential in a healthy bread. Your bread should have at least 3 grams of fiber per slice of bread. The information will be listed on the label.
- Another way to approach is to check to see how many grams of fiber it has per grams of carbohydrates. For every 10 grams of carbohydrates, the bread should have 1 gram of fiber.
Aim for 4 grams of protein.In addition to fiber, check to see how much protein is in your bread. You should look for bread that has at least 4 grams of protein per slice. Protein helps sustain your feeling of fullness.
Try for less sugar.Most bread has a little sugar in it to help activate the yeast and for a hint of sweetness. However, the less sugar the bread has in it, the better. Look for bread that has less than 4 grams of sugar per slice and even less is better.
Avoid trans and saturated fats.Trans fats and saturated fats are an unhealthy part of your diet, so try to avoid them when possible. Check the label, as food producers are required to add both saturated and trans fats to the label. It should say "0 grams" next to both of these fats.
Look for extra ingredients.Whole grains should be the main ingredient in the bread you choose. Added sugars and fats, for instance, lower the healthiness of the bread, so keep an eye out for those in the ingredient list.
- Preservatives, though, such as glycerol and ascorbic acid, are usually fine to have in your bread, as they help it keep longer.
Consider sourdough bread.Sourdough bread uses natural yeasts to do the work. This type of bread is the least likely to raise blood sugar and it is the best choice for people with diabetes. It is also easier to digest than other breads and it often works well for people with IBS.
Storing and Using Bread
Store bread at room temperature.In general, the best way to store bread is at room temperature. Doing so keeps your bread tasting fresher, even if it molds faster than in the refrigerator. Storing it in the refrigerator can cause it to go stale.
Keep bread in the freezer for longer periods.If you do need to keep bread fresh for longer, you can store it in the freezer, wrapped tightly in plastic. You can thaw individual slices or the whole loaf at room temperature, though it's best to let it thaw in the container if possible.
Try healthy toasts.One way to use your healthy breads is to toast it and top it with healthy spreads. For instance, you could toast your bread and spread healthy mashed avocado over it. You could also use a low-sugar nut butter, such as almond butter.
- Make bruschetta. Even though this snack is typically made with Italian bread, it will work just fine on a healthier whole-grain bread. Start by brushing the bread with olive oil and toasting it. When it comes out of the oven, you can rub it down with the sliced edge of a garlic clove, if you'd like.
- Next, make the topping. To peeled, chopped tomatoes, add a sprinkling of chopped, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, a minced garlic clove or two, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Mix and spread it on top of the toast.
Make a healthy sandwich.Sandwiches can be tasty, but they're not always healthy with sodium-laden lunch meats. Try making your sandwiches healthier by swapping out unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones.
- For instance, spread some goat cheese on bread, then load it up with your favorite roasted vegetables, such as roasted red bell pepper and mushrooms, then top with a fresh green or herb, like spinach or parsley.
- Make a sandwich with sliced chicken breast. Spread a flavorful sauce on the bread, such as pesto or dijon mustard. Layer on your favorite veggies; sundried tomatoes and spinach or grilled onions and mushrooms are good options. You can even top it with a low-fat cheese.
Limit your bread servings.Calories from bread can add up quickly, so it is important to limit your portions and servings per day.
- Include bread in your daily grain servings. Women should have 5 to 6 servings of grain per day and men can have 6 to 8 servings per day. Keep in mind that each slice of bread counts as one serving.
Video: THE TRUTH ABOUT BREAD | How do you pick the HEALTHIEST?
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