If you’ve decided to stick to nut-and-seed bread, that’s cool with us. But if you’d rather have a little gluten in your life, that’s perfectly fine too (assuming no celiac or intolerance). Either way, you should be choosing the healthiest bread breads at the supermarket right now.
That can be harder than it seems. Lots of brands stick a “made with whole wheat” message on their packaging — usually alongside a picture of an idyllic farmhouse. Then, you check the nutrition facts and find out their bread is made primarily with refined white flour and three kinds of the sweet stuff.
What makes a truly healthy loaf? Our picks for the best grocery store bread brands are made with predominantly whole (and/or sprouted) grains and no (or very little) added sugar. They’re all organic and free of unnecessary additives and preservatives. And, bonus: They incorporate other nutrient-dense ingredients, such as seeds, for extra health benefits.
How Can Bread Be Healthy?
Bread can be a part of a healthy diet when eaten in appropriate portions and alongside other important nutrients – namely protein and healthy fat.
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Healthy varieties of bread contain fiber, an important type of carb that keeps blood sugar stable and our digestive systems operating in top shape. This fiber also serves as prebiotics, or the food our healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) eat to flourish! You need both prebiotics and probiotics in the diet for a balanced microbiome. Wheat bread and rye bread are also often high in protein (gluten is a protein!) and micronutrients such as B vitamins.
When done right, bread can be a healthy part of your balanced diet. Check out our picks below for the healthiest bread brands, and get toasting!
The 10 Healthiest Sliced Bread Brands
Ezekiel’s 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread has been one of Nutritious Life founder Keri Glassman’s favorites for ages. It’s made with six whole grains and legumes: wheat, barley, soybeans, lentils, millet and spelt, which together create a complete protein. It’s also sprouted, which makes it easier to digest (and may make certain nutrients more available). Ezekiel also makes other delicious versions, such as a cinnamon raisin loaf and one made with seven sprouted grains. And no, you don’t have to be religious to eat it.
Dave’s Killer Bread
This organic bread company makes so many great loaves it’s hard to know where to even start when picking a fave. The 21 Whole Grains and Seeds is a favorite, but they also make bagels, English muffins, and all kinds of other breads. All of them are high in protein and fiber, thanks to grains and seeds such as oats, rye, kamut, sesame and flax. The company was also founded with a mission: To employ formerly incarcerated individuals in order to help them get back on their feet. Now that’s a killer business model!
Bread Alone is based in upstate New York, and its bread is probably the closest you can get to a bakery-style loaf while shopping the packaged bread aisle at the grocery store. As the name suggests, the ingredient lists are super short, with organic grains, water, salt, and little else. One favorite is the Whole Wheat Sourdough.
As one of the bigger organic brands, Rudi’s breads are easier to find than most. They tend more towards conventional bread in taste, but the ingredient list is better. They add sugar, for instance, but just a tiny bit. Try the 7 Grain With Flax, or the Nut and Oat made with tasty hazelnuts.
Alvarado Street Bakery
Alvarado Street has been baking organic bread in Sonoma, Calif., since the ‘70s. Now, you can get their products at Whole Foods and Costco. Breads like Sprouted Wheat Sonoma Seeds are made with ingredients such as organic sprouted wheat berries, oats and sunflower seeds.
Available online, ROYO Bread is made from flaxseed, which contains omega-3s and gut-friendly fiber. Much of that fiber (11 grams per slice) comes from resistant wheat starch, an insoluble fiber and flour replacement that helps to regulate digestion and keep you fuller longer.
Manna bakes its bread with sprouted whole organic grains. Sprouted grains have more bioavailable nutrients than mature grains, including folate, zinc, magnesium and protein. Sprouted grains also have less starch, so they may be easier to digest for people who are sensitive to traditional grains. Manna also leaves out a lot of the additives that make most packaged breads unhealthy, such as sodium, sugar and some preservatives.
Most gluten- and allergen-friendly bread is pumped full of artificial ingredients (fillers and gums) during processing to create that nice, bread-like consistency and texture. This naturally gluten-free bread is made from seeds and ancient grains, so it’s a healthier choice for anyone with food allergies or sensitivities. The only downside is that they’re only available online, and sold as bundles of four loaves. But it’s so tasty and nutritious that you’ll hardly mind.
Another organic bread company that uses sprouted grains. This brand is found in most Whole Foods and Targets and has a variety of breads, bagels and buns with no added preservatives.
Healthy Joy Bakes
Healthy Joy Bakes Omega Power Bread is high in protein, which helps to stabilize blood sugar by blunting the effect of carbs. It’s made from whole grain rye, a grain that contains several important nutrients such as vitamin E, calcium, B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, zinc and magnesium. For now, it’s only available in stores in New York, but you can purchase loaves online from anywhere in the U.S.