Ugh. The other day I went grocery shopping and I swear I spent 20 minutes in the bread aisle alone. Picking out a decent bread can be a big dilemma.
With what feels like hundreds of grains to choose from, and all kinds of noise on the packages – Low-Fat! 3 servings of Whole Grains! Low- Carb! (How is that even possible – it is BREAD afterall??) High-Fiber! Enriched with Omega 3 Fats!
Buying bread can be an overwhelming task…and comparing breads to one another? Seems virtually impossible.
So how do you navigate your way through the bread aisle?
1. Ignore the noise.
Do not read the claims touted on the packaging. These claims will not make it any easier to select the right product, so skip them and follow the next few rules instead.
2. Go first to the ingredient list.
What is the first ingredient? You want to read the words Whole _____ (wheat or other grain). If you see the words enriched before a grain, put the loaf down and move on.
3. Look at the total number of ingredients.
In general, the fewer the better. My grandmother had a recipe for the most wonderful bread and it contained: wheat flour, sea salt, yeast and water. 4 ingredients. Baker’s Inn Seven Grain contains 42! The additional ingredients come from trying to enrich the bread after it’s been stripped of it’s nutrients, stabilizers, coloring, dough conditioners, preservatives and so forth. Yes, my grandma’s bread wouldn’t have lasted for months on the shelf…but it didn’t need to. My family always finished it the same day….it was THAT GOOD.
4. Look at the amount of fiber.
I buy breads that only have 3 grams of fiber or more per slice. That’s the tricky part. Many times when you are reading the nutrition facts, the serving size for bread is 2 slices and not one. So something that appears to be high fiber, isn’t quite as high when divided in half.
5. Avoid buying products with partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), or sucralose (Splenda).
When you see molasses or caramel coloring, know that those are being added to darken the color of the bread, which can be deceiving to customers, since many people associate darker bread with wheat or rye.
6. Finally, pay attention to calories.
Most breads typically are about 70-80 calories per ounce. But many breads use 2 oz slices. This is fine for a piece of toast, but can add up to a lot of calories if you’re building a sandwich with 2 pieces.
Go For Greatness!