If you were playing Family Feud and asked to name the top 3 lunch foods, what would you say?
Likely, sandwiches would be at the top of the list. According to chefs.com, the average American eats 193 sandwiches per year. That’s a sandwich every other day. Sandwiches can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on what’s in them… but also what they are on.
Here are some tips to make the healthiest bread choices:
1. Look for the fewest ingredients. All you need to make bread is flour, yeast, salt and water. Compare these 4 ingredients to many supermarket brands and you’ll find at least 40 products including unknown ingredients such as Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate.
2. Look for artisan breads. Usually found in the bakery section, not the bread aisle, of your supermarket, as many bakeries deliver to local supermarkets. They usually offer whole grain choices and the ingredients are prominently printed on the paper wrapping. While they can be a bit pricey, their fresh flavor and simple ingredients make them worth the cost.
3. Regardless of what the title of the bread is (ie. Whole Wheat), read the label. Look for the word “whole” and terms like “wheat flour” or “multi-grain” are ambiguous. The label needs to say “whole wheat flour, “whole wheat,” “stone ground whole wheat”, or “whole grain [name of grain]”.
4. Try sprouted grain bread. Sprouting allows the enzymes in the grain to convert some of the carbohydrates and fats to vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are also very digestible.
5. Choose wheat free breads. These are increasingly easier to find in your grocery store, as the cases of wheat allergies continue to increase. These would include breads made from grains like spelt and kamut which are very nutritious and contain just enough gluten for easy bread making. Another option would be sourdough rye bread which should have very few ingredients (rye flour, water, salt, starter.)
6. Select gluten-free breads. You don’t have to have celiac to enjoy the health benefits of gluten free products. They are usually made from potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat or bean flour (or some combination of these) instead of wheat flour.
For more information on sandwiches and bread: