There’s an entire aisle devoted to bread. Looking down it all you see are loaves upon loaves stacked high, looming over you. By the time you stop your head from spinning from the overwhelming amount of choices, you simply make up your mind to just pick one up, dump it in the cart and move on. How the heck are you supposed to choose one that’s healthy? Where do you even start?
Here are some tips to help you feel in control of the bread aisle!
1. Whole Grain: Don’t be fooled by sneaky packaging and whole-grain claims. Look for either 100 percent whole wheat or 100 percent whole grain. That’s when you’ll know that there won’t be any refined white flours, which can be called "enriched wheat flour," "unbleached wheat flour," or just "wheat flour." Also be sure that the bread has at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.
Ignore claims on the bread that say "made with whole grain," "12 grain," "multigrain," "wheat," "good source of whole grain" — these are typically used if the company is trying to fool you into buying bread that doesn’t have a lot of whole grain or fiber.
2. Calories: Bread loaves are getting bigger and bigger, just like meals in restaurants. In fact, some slices of bread can have as many as 250 calories. Yes – that’s for one slice. Look for bread that has around 100 calories per slice. Some of the light breads have around 50-60 calories per slice – these are fine to get as long as they’re 100 percent whole wheat.
3. Sodium: Did you know that both cereal and bread can be hidden sources of sodium? In fact, some slices contain the same amount of sodium that’s found in 1 serving of chips, about 220 milligrams (mg). That’s 30 percent of what you should be getting in a day. Look for bread that has less than 120 mg.
4. Added Sugar: A little bit of honey or other sweetener in your bread is OK, but beware of the breads that add more than one type of sugar. If you see a sprinkling of added sugars such as: cane juice, raisin juice, honey, molasses, sugar, beet sugar/juice, brown rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or other sweeteners, look for another loaf. Choose a bread with no more than 1-3 grams of added sugars.
- Trader Joe’s Sodium-Free Whole Wheat
- Pepperidge Farm Stone Ground 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Nature’s Own 100 percent Whole Wheat made with Real Honey
- Nature’s Pride 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Sara Lee 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Wonder Soft 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Natural Oven Whole Grain Multi Grain or Whole Grain Sunny Millet
- Arnold or Oroweat Soft Family 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Sara Lee Soft and Smooth 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Sara Lee Hearty and Delicious 100 percent Whole Wheat
Light or Low Calorie Breads
- Pepperidge Farm Very Thin 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Fiber One 50 Calories – Honey Whole Wheat or Multigrain
- Natural Ovens Whole Grain Right Wheat
- Arnold Bakery Light 100 percent Whole WHeat
- Nature’s Own 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Wonder Smartwheat 100 percent Whole Wheat
- Udi’s Millet-Chia or Omega Flax & Fiber
- Udi’s Whole Grain