How To Pick Healthy Bread - A Toast to Toast

April 8, 2010   24 Comments

One of the first snacks suggested for Snack-Girl was toast. It is simple, versatile, and if you choose right, a healthy choice.


How do you find healthy bread? The rules for finding healthy bread are almost the same as cereal (see: Candy or Breakfast? Evaluate Your Cereal)

1. Is the first ingredient WHOLE grain? If it isn't then put it back on the shelf. Do not be fooled by the ingredient "wheat flour". The whole grain means that most of the nutrients remain from the grain remain in the bread. Without it, you might as well eat Wonder Bread (which is wonderful but not nutritious).

2. Does it have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving? Eating foods that are high in fiber will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Bread is an excellent source of fiber if it is made with whole grains.

Here are two brands of bread that I found that passed the test:

arnoldbreadsprouted bread

The Arnold bread was in the bread aisle and cost me $2.99 for the loaf. It was on sale from $3.99.

The Alvarado Street Bakery bread was in the "Natural Foods" section and cost me $2.89 because I had a coupon. (I LOVE coupons!!) The Alvarado bread usually costs $3.49 a loaf. It is a sprouted bread which is fantastic from a nutritional perspective.

Why is a sprouted bread better?
From the Alvarado Street Bakery website:
"We take whole, organic wheat berries and soak them in filtered water until they "sprout", until they actually begin to grow...The sprouting process naturally converts starchy grains into easily digested maltose and other complex sugars. There is enzyme activity created during germination that begins to "pre-digest" the grains, thereby making the grains and their nutrients and vitamins more readily assimilated by the body."

Basically, you are using the whole wheat berry and not grinding into a flour. You retain a bunch of nutrients!

Bread keeps well in the freezer, so if there is a sale on an expensive loaf be sure to stock up.

The Arnold brand was sweeter and lighter than the Alvarado brand which was crunchier. I liked the Alvarado bread better because it had more texture.

BUT, toast is really a vehicle for something yummy to spread on it.

What can you put on your toast? Wow, there are so many things to spread on. I like to put a bit of protein on the bread so it will give me a nutritional lift to my day. Here is a short list of suggestions:
peanut butter
cream cheese
butter with sugar and cinnamon (yum!)
sliced tomato with a sprinkle of salt

Here is a list 330 Ways to Enjoy Toast for your perusal. People get pretty crazy with their toast!

I added a link to my toaster below. It is a Cuisinart and it is SO much better than the $10 toasters I used to buy at Walgreens. It has lasted almost 5 years and shows no sign of giving out even though we use it almost every day. I LOVE this toaster.

What is your favorite brand of bread and what do you spread on it?

Want to read about snacks?
Change Your Deviled Eggs into Angeled Eggs (Low Cal Recipe)
How To Find Great Fruit and Veggies
Love Ice Cream? Try This 130 Calorie Makeover

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Good points. I think also important to brush up on ingredients and know where fiber is coming from. If you see "inulin or multidextrin" these are added fibers not naturally present in grain. Also "enriched" is a sign something has been added back that was likely stripped from the grain. My fave bread company? French Meadow breads!

A Twitter Follower suggested this bread:

Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Products are inspired by the Holy Scripture verse: "Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it..." Ez 4:9

Also French Meadow Breads is only at Whole Foods near me - I will give it a try! Thanks for the suggestions. Lisa

I second the ezekial bread. It is very good and "clean."

My favourite bread is a loaf of multigrain from a local bakery just a few blocks from my place- they use organic, all-natural, local ingredients. I don't buy commercial bread anymore- I figure it's worth it to spend a couple extra $$ to get bread from the bakery where it's freshly made with ingredients I can pronounce! Plus the taste is phenomenal.

I like putting nut butter, homemade jam, and slices of banana on my toast. I would live off of toast if I could :D

Discovering this helps me to become a more selective and critical newest discovery is Natures Own 100 whole wheat Sandwhich rounds $2.49/pkg .It advertises that it has 20mg whole grain per roll and 5 gms of fiber per roll. At 100 calories per roll and a Flat bread like appearance makes it a versitile choice to pack for lunch at work.It fits in a toaster perfectly for toasting.I first used it for hamburgers...Arnold $2.99/pkg and Pepperidge farms $2.99/pkg have simular products.

2 that DON'T pass the test

These all sound yummy - but I know my kids would say "yuck." As a compromise, I sometimes by the Wonder Whole Wheat White. Don't shoot me! I know it is stripped of all the good stuff, and then something is added back in. BUT... it does seem slightly better than the plain old white bread if that's what your kids like.

Also, on the bread theme - I like the Thomas' Better Start Whole Wheat English muffins - again, enriched whole wheat flour, NOT whole grain - but 100 cal / 8g fiber - 1 WW point.

Not bad...

Recently, I've discovered a good bread by Arnold -- whole wheat Family bread. Good protein and fiber, although a bit higher on the sugars. My kids like it. We also use Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat bread. Neither of these has high fructose corn syrup, as some other breads do. And really, WHY would a bread need high fructose corn syrup? !!

Yes, Ezekiel is exceptional and it comes in at only 80 calories per slice. Here's a picture of it: However, for sandwiches, I use the Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas - only 45 calories and packed with fiber. Here's a picture of that

If you haven't experienced Trader Joe's and you have one in your area, it's a real treat.

LOVE your blog, lots of great info, thanks!

You can make a toaster look so GOOD. We should get one...

I am a bit confused- does the bread have to say "whole grains" or can it say "whole wheat flour." The way I am understanding it is that it has to have "whole" in front of "grain, flour, etc" to actually be whole grain. But if it says just "wheat flour" then it is bad. Right?

Arnold bread in the west coast is known as Oroweat :) I try to buy that brand but it's just so expensive! I bring coupons however :D

Dave's Killer Bread! So good and full of fiber! On the pricier side, so only when it is on special or I buy it at Costco.

Maria, lol! Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about the Wonder Bread! Kids make their parents buy all kinds of less-than-ideal foods ... sometimes you do just have to pick the lesser of two evils, just so they'll eat SOMETHING!

Dave's Killer Bread - Good Seed is amazing. 3 point plus per slice and it's worth the points. It's full of fiber and has a great nutty chew. It's the best.

Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat. 5 grams fiber per slice and points plus value of 1 per slice? I think I figured this correctly. Taste however, is nothing to brag about---I use it in soups. Can be found most everywhere.

@Kathy, I buy my Oroweat "Healthfull" bread @ Walmart. It is a $1.00- $1.50 cheaper than Sfwy.(the only other choice of Grocery store in the town I live in)It is the only bread I buy, & it is full of fiber. Only 1 point.

For many years I was under the assumption that buying bread as whole wheat was the way to go.

Now I understand, having read & having my daughter tell me, that whole grain is it. Always good to keep learning!! lOVE THE WEBSITE!

HANDS DOWN: Dave's Killer Breads! His breads are so delicious, nutritious and even the light versions are wonderful! Not one piece of cardboard in the whole bunch of loaves.…

My favourite bread is the whole grain round pita

bread ,I put in it some olive oil ,thyme ,sumac and

roasted sesame It's so healthy

I can not have any wheat -beans or salads.What can I subtitute and what kind of healthy bread can I eat.Wendell

I love whole grain bread' I don't care what brand just as long as it's healthy :-)

I have tried Nature's Own 100% whole wheat. The ingredients list is simple, and only 57 calories per slice. The main ingredient is stone ground wheat. Also, when i stick it in the toaster it smells heavenly

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