You may not know it yet but bread could be one of the most sneakily addictive food items lying on your kitchen counter, aside from the usual suspects which are french fries, ice cream, chocolate and cookies. And we completely get why it’s so easy to fall in love with bread. It’s delicious, cost effective and also gives us the feeling that we’ve cooked a meal even though you probably didn’t even need to turn on the stove to put together that sandwich.
Bread has also been a staple part of human diets for a very long time. It’s a classic household item and our history with bread goes way back in time when it was once a special dish for huge feasts. Dare we say, eating bread is like tasting history! It’s the solution for good old home comfort food and you can effortlessly whip together a lip smacking buffet where the dishes with bread slices such as sandwiches, burgers, french toast, the classic PB&J sandwich, cheesy garlic bread, croutons for salad and much more. Breads serve as good candidates for snacks, breakfast and on-the-go meals.
So how did a household favorite that was once consumed by our grandparents, great grandparents and their parents too, manage to take steps into the unhealthy track of things? It may seem confusing. Trust us, we’re just as surprised as you that bread didn’t pass the test of healthy foods, but let’s understand why it didn’t.
Let’s slice it down (pun intended) on how bread can be not so good for our waistlines and understand the types of healthy alternatives for breads you can switch to.
Bread – The Origins
Once upon a time, flour, yeast and water decided to combine their forces to give birth to a culinary delight that would dominate the world for centuries to come. That’s how bread came into existence – ready to take over the world with its superpowers of high carb content. Eventually, bread would go on to build a whole army where apart from wheat flour, corn, barley, rye, millet, rice and amaranth would also join to create a variety of breads.
Why Could Bread Be Unhealthy?
So, the good news is that not all breads are unhealthy, if you choose the sprouted and whole grain versions it is possibly a more genuine version of bread. The top reason bread could be unhealthy is because over the years, the art of creating bread has become more and more processed. Like we all know, any type of processed food does more harm than good.
Here are the top reasons why things aren’t looking good for bread –
- Chemicals and additives added to the crop makes the wheat or grain lose its nutritional value, which is why the raw material has lost its worth in recent years.
- Commercially produced yeast is rich in sugar, so you’re just increasing your sugar intake by eating bread.
- Consuming highly processed flour also makes sugar level spike up.
- Breads nowadays are also loaded with preservatives to increase the shelf life of slices, but it isn’t healthy for you to consume these preservatives.
- Bread is high in carbs but isn’t the best nutrient filled carbohydrate. Carbs like sweet potatoes, whole fruits and veggies have a higher concentration of nutrients.
- Processed bread is low in protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber.
- Wheat based bread contains gluten and could create inflammation, ultimately damaging the gut, especially if you’re gluten intolerant.
Overall, white processed bread that lasts longer and has way more preservatives in them is the most dangerous version of bread out there in the market. Basically, white bread is the black sheep of the bread family. Overall, bread in its essence isn’t harmful, but the manner in which it is being churned out and processed has led to a more damaged profile for our favorite food item. But when you’re hungry, it’s only natural to rebound to bread. However, we’ve got a few other options that can be a better companion for you, while you and bread can still be good friends.
See Also: Different Types of Flours and Their Uses
1. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are one of the easiest ways to make a healthy swap for bread. The plus point is that it even looks like a toasted piece of bread. The key is to pick a sweet potato that’s big enough so that when it is sliced, you get pieces that are good enough to pass for toast slices.
Think about everything you love on toast. Is it avocado? Cream cheese? Almond butter? It may sound like a wacky combination in your head, but give it a shot and you’ll be in for a surprise.
Lettuce get this straight, breads are great for burgers and you’ll probably miss this most. Which is why someone out there invented lettuce wraps. Trust us, wrap up your chicken shreds and ham slices into a leaf of lettuce and ditch the buns for a more healthy and crunchilicious meal. You won’t just be saving yourself from eating something highly processed, but you’d also meet the intake of vitamins and minerals you need. Doesn’t this sound like a subway stall where people would actually flock?
3. Ezekiel Bread
If we had to create a Maslow’s pyramid for bread, Ezekiel would stand at the top of the pyramid. This is an ultimate prototype of bread that actually works and is made up of whole grains and legumes rich in nutrients. This bread also has no sign of sugar in it which basically makes it a good option for days when the cravings for bread are high. You can try to make your own Ezekiel bread from online recipes so that you have your own supply of dough at home.
4. Chickpea Flatbread
Now if you’re planning on giving up on bread, it also means that there’s going to be days without pizza. But that’s when you can turn to chickpea flour for your base. Chickpea flour is also much more rich in protein and fiber in comparison to refined wheat flour. All you have to do is combine chickpea flour with water and you can get an amazing flatbread. Then? You just decorate it with your favorite toppings like cheese, ham, chicken and pepperoni. Cauliflower pizza crust is also another leafy alternative for a crunchy pizza base.
5. Rice Paper Wraps
For days when you need to create something on the heavy side, you can opt for rice paper wraps which will most probably be your new best friend. Rice papers also do a much better job of holding a heavy filling than bread (You definitely won’t have to clean up breadcrumbs). Traditionally, you would find shrimp, pork, fresh noodles and vegetables as the combination for filling a rice paper. But you can obviously experiment with ingredients you treasure. Replacing high calorie breads with rice paper wrappers is not just healthy, but it might make you consider having the “I think we should see other people” conversation with bread.
To Wrap It Up
At first, it can be terrifying to think about life without bread. But if you want to start eating clean, you have to start getting rid of highly processed foods like bread, or at least drastically reduce the intake. You can opt for the bread alternatives available in the market as they are the real bread winners out there.