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.