Want to choose a healthy loaf from an ever-expanding range? We show you how to break the best bread.
It can seem like there’s a new type of bread on the supermarket shelf every week. Gluten free, low carb, prebiotic, whole grain, ancient grains… the choice is huge. Bread can be very nutritious and the best provide plenty of gut-loving fibre and low-GI carbohydrates to balance blood sugars. Plus, bread is delicious! Let’s toast the facts.
Forget just white or brown. The types you can buy now include:
Made from refined wheat flour, this type of bread usually has a high glycaemic index (GI), so can cause rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels. It also leaves you feeling hungry sooner. Most white bread is low in fibre, but some are higher than the norm.
This white bread contains grains and seeds, which boost the fibre. Multigrain loaves are a slightly healthier choice than traditional white bread.
Healthier than white or multigrain options, this type of bread is made from wholegrain flour, which retains all three layers of the wheat grain when it is processed. This means it contains more fibre and essential micronutrients.
This is made from wholemeal flour plus grains and seeds. It’s low GI, provides even more fibre and tends to have more hunger-busting protein. It’s the most nutritious bread choice on shop shelves.
Usually made with legume products, this means it often contains more protein and fibre than traditional loaves. This type of bread can be good for people who are watching their carbohydrate consumption.
Available in white, multigrain, wholemeal and wholegrain, this bread is made with gluten-free ingredients (rice, potato, corn) for those who need to avoid the gluten in wheat. Gluten-free bread is not necessarily healthier than regular bread, but a loaf that has whole grains is better than one without.
Wrap ‘n’ roll
- As with bread loaves, the healthiest wraps, rolls and ‘thins’ are wholegrain ones. Opt for a smaller roll because a super-sized one can be the equivalent of several slices of bread.
- Sandwich thins usually have less kilojoules than slices, so make a good choice for a lighter meal. Again, choose grainy, wholemeal varieties.
- Wraps can be high in sodium, so read nutrition labels carefully and buy wholegrain or wholemeals brands.
What you put inside your sandwich is just as important as the bread you use. For a well-balanced, tasty, creative combo, try these wrap, roll and sandwich thin inclusions:
✓ Protein: Eggs, skinless chicken, lean beef, tuna and tofu are all satisfying choices. Steer clear of heart-risky high sat-fat, high-sodium deli meats.
✓ Vegies: For a good dose of disease-fighting antioxidants, add lots of in-season, colourful vegies. Lettuce, grated carrot, sliced cucumber and tomatoes, plus canned beetroot slices (drained) work a treat.
✓ Healthy fats: Say goodbye to butter, which is high in artery-clogging sat fat, and use better-for-you alternatives, such as avocado, nut butters and hummus made with chickpeas.