How to Tell if the Bread You’re Buying is Actually Healthy

The other day, I stood in the bread aisle of the grocery store for more time than I would have liked trying to find a healthy brand. At this point, I think we all know that you aren’t supposed to eat white bread, but beyond that do you know what makes a loaf healthy or unhealthy? Check these 3 things on your next grocery run:

1: Look for the word WHOLE.

Whole grain and whole wheat grain are key! This means you get each part of the grain (bran, germ and endosperm) and all its nutrients! You’re going to see a lot of words that sound healthy on a lot of these breads: enriched flour, multi grain, wheat bread. None of those have the word whole in them, which means the grains have been stripped down. So first thing to check: Is the first ingredient whole wheat flour or whole grain? Yes? Move on to 2. No? Put it back.

2: Ingredients should be short, and you should be able to pronounce them.

To make a loaf of bread, you need flour, water, yeast, salt, and enough sugar to activate the yeast. Therefore, anything beyond that is unnecessary. Anything in the bread aisle is most likely going to have added ingredients to help extend their shelf life. A quick rule of thumb is to stay away from anything that cannot be pronounced. You might see corn syrup on the list. This is often used in place of sugar. Try to stay away from this. And definitely stay away from hydrogenated oil. That is trans fat. We do not like trans fat. And be very careful with the word natural. Many brands use the phrase “natural preservatives”. Natural isn’t a regulated term, so brands can slap that anywhere they choose. Be smarter than the marketing guy.

3: Nutrition label

Seems obvious, but here are some quick numbers for you. Fiber: over 3g. Sodium: less than 150mg. Sugar: under 4g. Also, when comparing make sure to note the portion size. Is the label for 1 or 2 slices?

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Alright, now I’m craving a grilled cheese.