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How to Choose the Healthiest Bread

Ask Keri: If I don’t want to give it up entirely, which is the healthiest bread I can buy?

Keri Says: Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up bread! There’s no reason for you to, unless you’ve got Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.

Do I want it to be one of your go-to foods? No. Don’t eat it like it’s spinach, carrots, or even healthy lean protein. But if you’re choosing the healthiest bread, you can feel good about grabbing a slice when desire strikes. (One slice, by the way, is usually the recommended portion size. So say hello to open-faced sandwiches, or, ahem, the trendier term: toasts.)

And follow my lead by reaching for one my favorites, below.

The Healthiest Bread Choices

Gluten-Free

If you are eating gluten-free, many (not all!) of the packaged options available contain ingredients you don’t want or are too dense and chewy to satisfy. The best alternative: Make this insanely simple Nut and Seed Bread. It’s totally grain-free, takes five minutes to prep before sticking it in the oven, and is filled with protein and healthy fats.

RELATED: The Dos and Don’ts of Going Gluten-Free

Sourdough

Let me tell you a happy secret: a loaf of freshly baked sourdough from a local bakery (especially one that uses freshly milled whole grains!) might be healthier than you think. The live yeast cultures that provide the tangy flavor negate the need for preservatives and result in the creation of lactic acid, which makes other important nutrients more digestible. When you’re in the market for really good, fresh bread to serve alongside hearty soup on a cold day, for instance, go sour.

Sprouted

When I’m grabbing bread at the grocery store, I always head to the freezer first, because my go-to is Ezekiel’s Food for Life Sprouted Grain bread. Ezekiel’s products are made with clean ingredients, including organic grains, and sprouted grains provide added health benefits. Research has shown they’re more easily digested and are higher in fiber and other important nutrients like amino acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

RELATED: Why You Need to Eat a High-Fiber Diet

Whole Grain/Whole Wheat

If sprouted isn’t an option, though, and you want to go whole grain, I’m all for that. Just read the ingredient list to make sure that a whole grain is the first thing listed, and look for the Whole Grain Stamp as a guarantee. Many packaged breads also come packed with sugars and additives, so be sure to check for those, too. One of the brands I depend on is Dave’s Killer Bread. Every certified-organic loaf is made with great ingredients, it’s easy to find, and they’ve got a give-back mission, too.

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