How to Choose a Healthy Bread

how to choose a healthy bread

This is my new favorite sandwich bread. The fact that my children like it too is a big plus, since it’s a significant upgrade, nutrition-wise, from the squishy white flour loaves that are often kids’ bread of choice.

Dave’s Killer Bread is organic, whole grain, chock full of seeds and other goodies, and doesn’t taste like you’re eating a slice of cardboard.

The company motto, “Just Say No to Bread on Drugs” is a playful way to communicate a brand that is free of the chemicals added to many store-bought breads. But the tagline has a serious back story. Dave, the company founder, is a recovering addict with a difficult past who continues to struggle. He’s created a great product, every loaf a symbol of a person trying to turn his life around.

gluten-free bread made without yeast or xantham gumOf course, Dave’s Killer Bread isn’t the only healthful option in the bread basket. Here are a handful of pointers for how to choose a healthy bread:

Aim for Whole Grains

Look for the words “whole wheat” or “whole grain” first and foremost in the list of ingredients. “Enriched wheat flour” and “wheat flour” are often mostly white flour dressed up to look more nourishing than they are. Whole wheat bread indicates that the bran and the germ are intact, which translates to more nutrients and more fiber.

Be Flexible with the Five-Ingredient Rule

The fewer ingredients the better is often my rule of thumb when it comes to store-bought foods, but with bread, sometimes that fat list of ingredients includes good-for-you nuts, seeds, additional grains, and dried fruits.

Give it a Squeeze

Bread that gives easily under a gentle squeeze is a decent indicator that there’s no “there, there.” Hardly foolproof, but heartier, denser breads tend to have a little more to offer than those that you can flatten in an instant.

Don’t be Fooled by the Name

You need to look past the promises of  “multi-grain” and “all-natural” plastered across a bread label. Often what’s inside the package doesn’t live up to the healthful hype.

Look for Straightforward Ingredients

Flour, water, yeast, and salt are all that’s really required for a loaf of bread, yet many brands have high-fructose corn syrup, additives, and coloring. Read the label. You may be surprised by what you find in there.

Consider a Local Loaf

If you have a good bakery in your neighborhood, check out what they have to offer in the way of whole grain bread. Just-out-of-the-oven loaves can’t be beat and they’re likely to have fairly pure ingredients. Also, many bakeries have bread slicers on hand and can cut a loaf into sandwich-ready slices in a jiffy.

What is your favorite whole-grain bread?


06.17.2014 at4:04 AM #

Maryea {happy healthy mama}

Thanks for sharing this! I’m always looking for quality bread. Where do you get this brand? I just looked on their website and it doesn’t look like it’s available near me. 🙁

06.17.2014 at4:04 AM #

Katie Morford

Sorry to hear it’s not sold in your neck of the woods. I buy it at the Haight Street Market in San Francisco, but it’s sold at a number of supermarkets. Like everything these days, you can buy it on Amazon.

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