Choosing the Best Whole Grain Bread

The bread aisle can be a very confusing place, with so many choices and some deceiving labels.  So how do you choose the best whole grain bread?

Well, let me first show you my absolute favorite bread:

This is Eli Zabar’s Health Loaf and it is absolutely amazing!

Ingredients: stone ground whole wheat flour, water, natural sour, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, honey, yeast and salt.

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice (27 grams): 70 calories, 1 gram fat, 100 mg sodium, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein.

I love the short ingredient list, it is full of seeds and has a slight sourdough flavor (natural sour) with a hint of sweetness (honey).  I enjoy it for breakfast toasted and topped with natural peanut butter, for a sandwich at lunch or dipped in hummus as a snack. 

You can find Eli Zabar’s bread throughout NYC, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else.  The good news is that I have seen similar breads around.  This is also a small slice, it’s much smaller than your average slice of bread, but it is more dense. 

However, I would like you to know that the nutrition label claims 1 slice is 27 grams.  I weighed one slice and it was almost 1 1/2 times this amount!  Therefore, instead of providing 70 calories each it was really 100 calories per slice.  I think this discrepancy occurs because they assume a thin slice and do not slice it themselves, my local supermarket slices it for me.  This just shows you cannot always assume that the portion size on the label is what you are consuming and the only way to verify this is to weigh it yourself! 

Nutrition Tidbit:  How to Choose the Best Whole Grain Bread

  • The first ingredient should say “whole grain/wheat flour”
  • Limit products with plain wheat or white flour.
  • Look for breads with a short ingredient list (warning they may spoil faster, so try freezing them!).
  • Look for bread with 2-3 grams/fiber per slice. 
  • Compare sodium & sugar, some breads add quite a bit of each for flavor. 
  • Avoid breads with high fructose corn syrup and functional fiber added.   
  • Just because a bread claims to be multigrain (twelve grain, nine grain, etc) it does not mean it’s whole grain!  It may be made of various grains that are all refined, so make sure to read the ingredients well. 
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8 Responses

  1. That bread look delicious! Great tips.

  2. I almost always find that the actual bread slices (even when they’re pre-sliced) are way heavier than the nutrition label says (usually between 1.5 and 2 times). I think weighing the bread (or other foods) is especially important when you are trying to lose weight… eating 3-4 servings instead of the 2 you thought you were adds up in the long run!!

  3. Great advice. It can be tough to find a good bread free of refined flours. I like Ezekiel’s sprouted whole grain breads..

  4. I get this bread at Costco. I love it. My wife does not; she doesn’t consider it bread 🙂

  5. It is delicious toasted!

  6. This uniquely wonderful bread is available as much as 100 miles north of NYC, at, for example, McEnroe’s organic-food emporium (to which it is delivered, fresh, every day), on NYS Route 22 in Duchess County, at about the Amenia-Millerton border. I could scarcely live without it, & buy 4-5 loaves every month. Fortunately, it freezes superbly well. As well as its other virtues, it is so sustaining that two slices for breakfast leave no desire to eat again till dinnertime. (Hence: not much reason to worry about its calorie-content.) I agree that peanut butter–preferably the crunchy kind–is the ideal spread.

  7. […] is that the beet/potato hash made enough for 3 meals! (Oh i meant to add that the bread pictures is Eli’s Health Loaf, which is one of the very few 100% whole what breads I’ve found.  I think you can only find […]

  8. The health loaf is our favorite. We freeze it to use as needed. Eli’s will slice the bread for you before it is shipped.

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