Do you know what’s delicious? Bread! Soft and fluffy or dense and chewy, there are so many kinds of bread to drool over. Honestly, whether you’re having a sandwich that’s filled with savory layers, dipping pieces into a bubbling fondue, or simply nibbling on a slice of buttered toast, it’s all a tasty staple in many people’s diets. While there are unhealthy breads can be packed with arguably unnecessary calories you may want to avoid, there are also low-calorie bread options that are more conducive to a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
In case you weren’t aware, bread can indeed be packed with both carbohydrates and calories. On the other hand, it doesn’t tend to offer you the amount of protein, fiber, fat, or various vitamins and minerals that your body needs—although, the exact amounts will differ when it comes to various kinds of bread.
The same goes for bread’s potential effects on your weight. For instance, a study that was published in BMC Public Health found that eating more than two portions of white bread every day was connected to “the risk of becoming overweight [or] obese.” Of course, the issue may be caused, in part, by the type of bread you consume as well as the amount.
While that may prompt you to start grabbing some veggies the next time you feel snacky, it turns out that you don’t have to completely deny yourself a satisfying sandwich.
“Bread has been getting a bad rap for a long time,” said Shelley Case, RD, a nutrition consultant and author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, per the aforementioned WebMD article. “It’s worse now because there’s so much negative press about gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.”
Granted, if you end up feeling more than just a little ill when you consume gluten, then you should definitely consider options that are specifically safe for your particular stomach. For those who aren’t in the same bloated boat, then you simply need to make the best choice for your body when you pick up a loaf of bread or bake one yourself if you happen to be savvy in the kitchen.
“The best kinds of low-calorie bread are typically those made with whole grains, such as whole wheat, rye, or oats,” Melissa Wasserman Baker, nutritionist and founder of FoodQueries, tells Eat This, Not That! “These types of bread provide more fiber and nutrients compared to refined white bread, which is often higher in calories and lower in nutrition.”
With this in mind, you’ll definitely want to check out the following suggestions for the best low-calorie breads, courtesy of a few dietitians—and for more healthy eating-related advice and further insight on the impact of eating certain unhealthy breads, be sure to check out 5 Surprising Effects of Giving Up White Bread, Say Dietitians.
Calorie Count: 265 calories per 100 grams
“Whole-grain bread is a great option for those looking to reduce their calorie intake,” explains Lori Walker, a registered dietitian, freelance food and nutrition writer, and recipe developer with Easy Kitchen Guide. “It has more fiber and is lower in calories than white or refined grain breads.”
Whole grains also include a range of valuable vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin E, and various B vitamins, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of this, whole grain foods can help you manage your weight as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels while also reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Perhaps this is why it’s no surprise that Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program Dietitian Angie Murad, MPH, also claimed that whole-grain is a top choice.
“The healthiest bread option is something that is made with whole grains. It needs to say whole grain,” Murad told the Mayo Clinic in a video clip for its “Mayo Clinic Minute” series.
Calorie Count: 289 calories per 100 grams