This post is by OYS writer Melissa. You can read more about Melissa here and see all of her other posts here. Also, if you live in the Western New York area then go check out her business On the Move Fitness and her FB page!! She’s taking reservations for classes now. Melissa also offers online nutrition consultations. See her packages here.
Reading food labels is time-consuming, but it can truly help you make small changes that will help make your diet more healthful. If you missed my post about reading food labels, check it out here. Once you get the hang of what to look for, it does get easier. But to help you out even more, I’m offering a regular monthly series covering different foods we all buy at the grocery store on a regular basis. If there is a food you want me to do a comparison for, just let us know! You can check out my previous comparisons on yogurt and frozen treats here.
This month I am comparing bread. I feel like bread is one of the most complicated items to buy when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. One reason is that there are so many choices! It can be seriously overwhelming to head down the bread aisle. Secondly, the claims and wording on the front of bread bags can be so misleading. This is one food purchase that you really need to take your time with, and read all parts of the label carefully.
I used the Shopwell app to help me out with this comparison. If you want to learn more about Shopwell and what it can do, check out this post.
Pepperidge Farm White Bread
I am a fan of Pepperidge Farm products, but white bread? No thank you. If you are still eating white bread, let me explain why you need to stop. White bread is made from refined grains, which means all of the good stuff has been removed. This leaves a bread that has very little nutritional value. I know, I know, white bread is soft and fluffy, but whole grain breads have come a long way from the slices of chewy cardboard that you might be thinking of. There are many options out there now that taste great and have a pleasant texture. And just like with any major change, you need to give it time to get used to it. Back to this bread. For 2 slices, you are only looking at 130 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, which is pretty good. But then in the ingredients list we see added sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and honey, which gives us 3 grams of sugar per serving. The enriched wheat flour is the refined grain, nothing whole here anywhere. This gives us the big fat zero grams of fiber. Remember, fiber is good for your body in so many ways and helps you feel fuller longer. So this bread really doesn’t have much to offer.
Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Ah, we are back in the land of whole grains, where I like to be. Let’s talk stats first. One serving of this bread gives you 110 calories and 1 gram of fat. And fiber! We have fiber! Three grams of fiber! Yes! Notice that whole wheat flour is the first ingredient in this bread, and there are no hidden refined grains anywhere, so we know it is 100% whole grain. Unfortunately, this bread does still have added sugar in the form of molasses and sugar, giving us 4 grams. I have to tell you, I had a hard time finding a whole wheat bread that did not have added sugar. I actually became really frustrated in the grocery store. So even though this bread has the added sugar, it will still always have more benefits than the white bread.
Food For Life Ezekiel Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread
This wonderful bread can be found in the organic freezer section of your grocery store. That’s right, in the freezer. For one slice of bread, you are looking at 80 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. Again, we have a nice 3 grams of fiber. This comes from the organic sprouted wheat, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, organic malted barley, organic sprouted lentils, organic sprouted soybeans, and organic sprouted spelt. Those are all super healthy whole grains and legumes. The only other ingredients in this bread are water, yeast, and salt. That’s right, no sugar here. I really like the flavor of this bread. It’s nutty and has a unique taste. The only downside to this bread is that when you want a slice, you have to defrost it, but I think it’s worth it.
We all eat bread. You can make your bread choice healthier by reading labels. Again, if you are unsure about something like the Ezekiel bread, make small changes first. Maybe go from white bread, to white whole wheat bread. Then try a multi-grain bread. Finally move on to 100% whole wheat bread.
**note from Tammy**
If you can’t find the bread you are looking for in the grocery store then consider making your own. I absolutely love my bread machine and use it to make all kinds of breads and pizza dough. It the perfect solution because you control all of the ingredients and it’s very easy to make. The brands I recommend are Oster (under $60), Hamilton Beach (under $60), Sunbeam (under $65), and Cuisinart (under $75)