How to select a loaf of bread

Since when did buying a loaf of bread become so challenging? Nowadays, we are faced with overflowing information — sometimes, we are offered with way too much information for such a simple purchase. When it comes to making healthier choices, what should you look for? Should you read every single thing that is listed on nutrition facts and ingredients list? Does shopping at Wholefoods or Trader Joe’s guarantee that I’m provided with the healthier option? What about those articles you read saying you should only buy organic or go gluten-free?

So here, I decided to share with you how I simplified this process. Don’t get me wrong — I have read many articles, done many google searches and flipped through many healthy magazines. But, I’m starting to get tired of spending too much time when buying something like a loaf of bread. I hope this summary can save your time and help you make smart decisions!

  1. Ignore what it says on the packaging – Depending on the brand, the packaging provides too much information that will only confuse you. Forget about what it says and simply decide on what type of bread you want.
  2. Choose the bread you want to buy – I don’t think you should completely give up on what you like just because they are not the healthiest option. If you want to eat a bagel, buy a bagel instead of that 100% whole wheat/ multi-grain bread.
  3. Come up with several choices – Depending on your budget, brand, personal preferences, whatever it is, choose 2-3 options that you ideally would like to buy.
  4. Compare nutrition facts & ingredients – Now, scan through 4 items below and decide which one is the “healthiest” option.
    • Calories – By no means, I’m asking you to count calories. Ideally, your meal should range anywhere from 400-600. So, being aware of calories per serving (i.e. are the calories listed for one slice or two?) will help you determine how much more you can eat with those breads.
    • Sodium – I just know the daily recommended sodium intake is about 2,000 mg. I also know that LOTS of food has some sodium in it and we end up consuming a LOT of them. So why not try to minimize it if you can?
    • Sugar – Same concept here. I think we just eat way too many sweet stuff. Even though you eat healthy, fruits and vegetables contain sugar too! So I would usually select the one with the least amount of sugar. Plus, I don’t think few less grams of sugar makes much difference in taste anyways. Also, avoid the ones that includes “high fructose corn syrup” in the ingredient list.
    • Protein/ Fiber – This indicates that the bread has more nutritional value. Also, they both help you stay full sooner and longer.
  5. Enjoy your bread! 🙂

Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying all those information you read from other sources are not important. For example, some might wonder, what about trans fat? Don’t you need to check those? Sure, if you know more and you are able to apply that knowledge, that’s great. This is just an attempt to find a balance between information and making choices, and ultimately, to simplify my life by focusing on what I believe is most important (and yes, eating the bread I want over those grainy “not-so-delicious” bread is important!).

P.S.: BTW, most of the breads don’t contain trans fat; plus even though the trans fat is listed as “0g,” it really just means it can contain up to 0.5g/ serving.

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