Gimme Some Bread!
Bread rounds-out your meals, packs your stomach to fullness, and if you're not careful, it can pack on the pounds with white flour and that sneaky added sugar---let's explore how to make some healthy choices in the bread aisle at the grocery store to stave off the pounds, and get the nutrients your body deserves
I had a stark revelation when my child came home and said: “Momma, you know, some “wheat bread” is not wheat bread—they dye white bread brown.” I responded: WHAT?! Yes, I shouted. I was shocked!
My child use to work at a bakery—a major bakery that supplies and ships bread across our nation. Yes, my child had the inside scoop.
The bakery produces other types of breads and pastries, which can be found front-and-center in the bread and pastry aisle at the grocery. But, I was only interested in wheat bread, which I thought was not only healthy (and it wasn't), but what I had been eating for years.
I sprang into action and began my sleuth work
After the revelation, I began reading bread labels and was still confused–I really didn’t know what to look for, since I didn’t know what made the difference.
I saw a variety of bread labels. Some labels read wheat bread, multigrain, ancient grains, cracked wheat, whole grains–the grains and breads became overwhelming.
To lessen my overwhelming confusion, I bypassed gluten-free, and diet breads. All I wanted was brown wheat bread.
Then, I went to the freezer section at the grocery to look for frozen breads on the advice of someone from my church. Those breads had sprouts in them! I was even more confused.
When my health insurance benefits renewed, I checked-out doctors within my network and found a doctor with whom I’ve been very pleased.
During my initial intake with my new doctor, she asked if I would be interested in seeing the registered dietitian on her team. I couldn’t refuse, and in fact, I looked forward to my appointment.
During my consultation with the dietitian, I told her about my bread plight, and asked her how to select an authentic wheat bread. What I found out was that bread packaging that says “wheat bread” can be misleading.
Later in this piece, I will list the dietitian's recommendations on how to find healthy, nutrient-rich bread, and what it is called.
So, what is “wheat bread?”
To get the explanation of wheat bread out of the way, wheat bread can be white bread that has been dyed brown and labeled “wheat bread," which is not wheat bread at all. That's, perhaps the bread I had been eating for years.
The type of bread I just described is made with white flour, which is stripped of most of the healthy nutrients, and can promote weight-gain. It may also have a more-than-healthy amount of added sugar—more than the healthy recommended daily allowance.
The first thing I had to do to find my "wheat" bread was to change my mindset, change my lingo, and understand that wheat bread was not what I wanted, therefore, I needed to stop searching for it.
Secondly, I had to understand what I wanted was a healthy nutrient-rich "100% whole wheat" or "100% whole grain" bread.
Thirdly, I began reading the nutrition facts and search for a 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread with 2 grams or less total sugars--try to avoid added sugars. But, total sugars with or without added sugars should suffice (see the label on the right).
A helpful tip: The photos in this post are pics of the bread package of my whole-grain bread of choice.
In fact, these are snapshots of the actual bread from my pantry. Can you-see the bread slices inside (top pic)?
There are two additional types of healthy breads on the market such as sourdough, Ezekiel bread.
Ezekiel bread is whole-grain sprouted bread that is made without preservatives, which is apt to quickly spoil and must be kept frozen.
Sourdough bread is one of the least processed breads, and the healthiest. This leavened bread (bread that rises, as a result of the addition of baking soda and baking powder) has been around for centuries, and can be baked at home, which is the healthiest, most recommended way to produce it.
The choice is yours if you prefer to eat bread with nutrients, whole grains, no preservatives, sprouts, 2 grams or less of total sugars, or no sugar at all.
I don't necessarily have to eat bread. But if I choose to eat bread with a meal, it's 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat---all or nothing.
I welcome your feedback--feel free to share your meal-planning experiences.