If there’s one food I know I’d never be able to survive without it is bagels. Actually, make it two things – bagels and bread in general. There’s nothing better, at least for me, than having a slice of toast with peanut butter on it. It isn’t that way with a lot of people, though. Some of society has put down bread – saying it’s bad for you and causes weight gain. What causes weight gain is eating big, unhealthy meals and not burning those calories off.
I’m here to tell you that bread isn’t bad and that there are a lot of healthy breads out there and a lot of great ways to eat it.
So where do we start? Well let’s discuss what to look for when you’re buying bread because obviously there are unhealthy processed breads.
First, looks for “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain.” Look for whole-wheat flour, or other grains as the first ingredient – if you don’t, put the bread down. The reason you want those whole grains is because they’re naturally low in fat, they’re healthy fibers, and packed with antioxidants. 100% means receiving benefits that include protection against obesity, some cancers, heart disease and possible strokes. Another tip when buying bread is that slice size matters. Opt for thinner slices if you buy fresh bread that way your portions are better controlled, but you’re still getting that deliciousness. Traditional slices are roughly 100 to 120 calories per slice, which isn’t bad, but choosing thinner slices will result in getting 45-60 calories per slice. One last thing to look for that will help a lot when buying healthy bread is sodium. The lower the better, aim for breads that have at least 200 milligrams or less per slice. The next thing to settle is how to eat it in a healthy, moderate way.
Here’s a quick list of some yummy and healthy options on eating bread:
Peanut Butter Sandwich
One of my favorite post-run and, in general, breakfast meals is toast with peanut butter. Make sure to use good bread, and choose all-natural peanut butter. Not only am I refueling on the carbohydrates from the bread, but also I’m receiving protein, potassium and healthy fats. If you want an even better nutrition packed snack, make yourself a peanut butter and banana sandwich!
Turkey and Avocado Sandwich
First off, avocados are extremely good for you. They’re packed with potassium, loaded with healthy fatty acids that are great for your heart, they have tons of fiber and eating them can lower your cholesterol. Pack that together with the benefits of turkey, which include getting filled with protein, having a healthy metabolism and getting some help preventing some cancers. Pair the two with some spinach and some yellow mustard and that’s one good sandwich.
Combining and baking bread slices with sugar, an egg, milk, spices and fruit does this. However, depending on what type you make, the calories can reach up to roughly 800 so you can't just make any old bread pudding! Cooking Light has a great recipe on making a delicious caramel bread pudding that tastes like it's 800 calories but is just around 300. Bread pudding, if made in a healthy style, can be perfect for a dessert or a sweet breakfast.
The perfect appetizer for any get together or simply for snacking, bruschetta can be packed with nutrients if paired with proper ingredients. First off, it’s already healthy because there’s no frying involved – it’s all baked. You can top it off with fruits if you’re up for it, but you can also oils and spices and cheeses.
There’s an array of ways you can add bread into your diet and still remain healthy and continue to lose weight. Other ways you could use bread is by letting it get hard, crushing it and coating chicken or slice them into cubes, bake them and sprinkle those homemade croutons onto a salad for extra crunchiness.
Don’t be afraid of bread – good carbohydrates are friends and food. Just remember that moderation is key!