First up let’s get something straight. Bread will not make you fat.
We have been eating bread for thousands of years and obesity rates have only started to increase significantly since the 1970s.
In fact, this is in line with the time when fast and more highly processed foods became readily available. The healthiest bread options, put simply, are wholegrain varieties.
Why wholegrain makes the healthiest bread
Wholegrain breads are made from intact grain, therefore we get all the goodness from the fibre and nutrients found in the outer layers of the grain. As such, the benefits are:
- more fibre which is essential for gut health and staying regular
- plenty of B group vitamins that our bodies need to turn food into energy
- lower glycaemic index. Without getting too technical, this basically means these breads will keep you fuller for longer.
What are the okay choices?
- Whole meal breads without added grains
- Multigrain varieties – often these are simply white flour with some grains mixed in
Which breads should we limit?
These are highly processed and contain little fibre or B vitamins. If you struggle to get kids to eat it then opt for sourdough or one with added fibre. However, if you’re introducing bread for the first time then start with grains so your kids get used to it from the beginning.
Which brands are best?
Some of my top picks for wholegrain bread are:
- Wholegrain from your local bakery or the bakery section at your supermarket.
- Burgen wholegrain and oats or wholemeal and seeds
- Abbotts Village bakery grainy wholemeal
- Helgas wholemeal grain
Look for statements on the packaging such as:
- “Contains whole grain”
- “High in whole grain”
- “Very high in whole grain” – the highest level of whole grain
The Grains & Legumes Nutritional Council recommends a whole grain daily target intake of 48g for anyone aged over 9 years. Some products will state what % of the Grains & Legumes Nutritional Council target that they meet on the packet.