“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight,” said M.F.K. Fisher.
Beautiful thought. But hey, buying bread these days isn’t a simple affair. You need to pick the one that packs the most flavor and nutrition.
Whole grains—those are the magic words. They are naturally low in fat, with zero cholesterol. They contain 10% to 15% protein, loads of healthy fiber, resistant starch, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants—essentially, everything you need to keep your engine chugging merrily.
The right bread can protect you from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. Let’s look at some common options, with their pros and cons:
ROLLS: There’s much to like about soft, doughy potato rolls. They pack in a good amount of protein and fiber at just about 100 calories each. BUT: pick your roll with care—make sure it isn’t sugar-laden and closer to a sticky bun!
ORGANIC SPROUTED BREAD: No sugar here, only lots of good-for-you protein and fiber. And, it’s got whole grain as its prime ingredient! If you can train your taste buds to like this dry, dense bread, you’ve got the perfect loaf.
PITA: Low on fat and high in fiber. Plus that pocket, filled with delicious possibilities. It’s in the shopping that you ought to take care—mass market brands can be refined flour in disguise.
READY-TO-EAT WRAPS: If you’re short on time and need a wholesome bite, this is a great choice, considering wraps generally boast of colorful veggies and are low in calories. But be aware—some of those spinach and tomato fillings can be high on salt, and even artificially colored to boost taste.
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD: The winner in my book. Tastes great, gives you fiber, and does not load you with calories. The downside—careless buying. Don’t buy a bread that says ‘whole wheat’ without checking the list of ingredients. If whole grains are not the first ingredient, you’re probably being shortchanged.
BROWN BREAD: I know we’re told to believe that ‘darker’ foods have more nutrients, but in this case, the flour used may be white, with brown sugar or molasses added for color.
MULTI GRAIN BREADS: Their names can be impressive—after all, 7, 9 or 12 grains in a slice should be packed with nutrients, right? Not always. You need to look carefully at the labels to see if the words ‘whole grains’ feature there, and if the slices contain at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.