Are you looking for the best healthy store bought bread? Here are some tips and things to consider from a Registered Dietitian. Plus my top picks!
Healthy Store Bought Bread Options
We’re continuing our best store-bought options series. So far we’ve covered:
- Best Boxed Mac and Cheese
- Healthy Store Bought Granola Bars for Kids
- Low Sugar Cereals for Kids
- Best Low Sugar Yogurt
- Healthy Crackers For Kids & Adults
- Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets
- Best Healthy Store-Bought Tortillas
Today we’re talking about bread. I frequently get requests for bread recommendations and I totally get it! The bread aisle is huge and overwhelming and with so many options available, it’s hard to know which is the best choice.
First, we’re going to talk about a few different aspects of bread that you should consider when choosing which will work for your family. Aside from the nutritional aspect, you also have to consider whether you, or your kids, will eat it. Because it doesn’t matter how much protein and fiber is packed in there if your kids refuse to eat it, right?
So let’s get started.
What Bread Is Healthy
When deciding what bread is healthy and choosing a bread for you and your family, here are a few things to consider. As a Registered Dietitian, I look at things like:
- added sugar
- protein and fiber
- portion size
Choosing A Healthy Bread
I generally recommend choosing whole grain bread. Look for the word WHOLE as the first ingredient. This is important! Just because it says wheat flour does not mean WHOLE wheat flour was used.
Also aim to avoid partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup on the ingredient list.
Added Sugar in bread
Bread can be a big source of added sugar and one that people don’t always think about. I suggest aiming for 2-3 grams or less per slice. Also, consider whether you’ll be eating one slice or two and how many slices the info on the nutrition label is for.
Some brands like Dave’s Killer Bread have varieties that have 4-5 grams of added sugar per slice. If you’re eating two slices you’re getting 10 grams of added sugar at that meal just from the bread.
Protein and fiber in bread
Aim to find a bread that has at least some protein and fiber. I suggest looking for at least 2-3 grams of fiber and at least 3 grams of protein per slice. If you choose white bread, know that it is enriched to add vitamins and minerals back in but will likely be lower in fiber than whole wheat options. Look for one that’s low in sodium and added sugar and higher in fiber if you can find it.
Something like Brownberry Oat Nut is white in appearance but has 4 grams protein and 2 grams fiber per slice, which is good…but it also has 3 grams of added sugar per slice. So there are a lot of factors to consider! Dave’s Killer Bread White Done Right is another option.
Best Bread For Kids
When it comes to portion size, many companies now have thin-sliced options. This is great for most people, especially kids. They are often lower in added sugar because the amount of bread is smaller but still can have a decent amount of fiber and protein.
So let me share a few of my favorite options in the stores around me:
Healthy Bread Brands
Nature’s Own & Sara Lee
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat – 60 cal, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 1g added sugar
- Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat– 60 cal, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 1g added sugar
These are some of the most economical options at my grocery store that still have a decent amount of protein and fiber per slice and are low in added sugar.
- Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat– 120 cal, 5g protein, 4g fiber, 3g added sugar
- Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Thin Sliced – 65 cal, 3.5g protein, 2g fiber, 1.5g added sugar *one slice
- Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Oatmeal – 110 cal, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 3g added sugar
Their thin sliced loaves give the nutrition info for 2 slices so the info above for the thin sliced is half of what’s listed on the label to reflect one slice.
- Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat – 110 cal, 4g protein, 3g fiber, 3g added sugar
- Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat Small Slice- 70 cal, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 2g added sugar
- Brownberry Oatnut – 120 cal, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 3g added sugar
- Brownberry Oatnut Small Slice– 80 cal, 3g protein, 1g fiber, 2g added sugar
This company is known as Brownberry in the midwest, Arnold in the east and Orowheat in the west.
Dave’s Killer Bread
Has some great options but can be expensive:
- Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Thin Sliced – 70 cal, 3g protein, 3g fiber, 2g added sugar
- Dave’s Killer Bread 100% whole wheat Thin Sliced – 70 cal, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 2g added sugar
- Dave’s Killer Bread Powerseed – 100 cal, 5g protein, 4g fiber, 1g added sugar
- Dave’s Killer Bread White Done Right – 110 cal, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 2g added sugar
Some of their other options are higher in added sugar- 4 or 5 grams added sugar PER SLICE.
Ezekial Sprouted Bread
- Ezekial Sprouted Whole Grain (or sprouted sesame) – 80 cal, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 0g added sugar
- Silver Hills Sprouted is another great sprouted option if you can find it near you!
Honey Wheat Bread
These still have some protein but tend to be lower in fiber so just keep that in mind. Look for low added sugar and try to pack some nutrients into whatever you’re putting on the bread. Some examples:
- Nature’s Own Honey Wheat – 70 cal, 3g protein, less than 1g fiber, 2g added sugar
- Sara Lee Honey Wheat – 70 cal, 2g protein, less than 1g fiber, 1g sugar
So what’s my pick? I’m actually switching my kids to Nature’s Own 100% whole wheat. It’s cheaper than what we’ve been buying, has less added sugar and my kids actually didn’t mind eating it when I did a taste test with them!
Hope this was helpful! Just remember to pay attention to how much added sugar is in the bread you’re choosing and look for brands with some protein and fiber!
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Seriously THANK YOU so much for doing these. The bread aisle was particularly overwhelming for me and I’m glad that your recommendations include options my 5 year old will eat! This is so incredibly helpful.
This is such a great post! Thank you for compiling all this info!
What is your take on fancier brioche type bread? They are made with lots of eggs so more protein but also more sugar and less fiber. Unfortunately my kid is hooked on the soft tasty brioche rolls from Whole Foods
they wouldn’t be my first choice for everyday bread because they are higher in sugar and have less fiber but they’re fine occasionally.
I often worry about the soybean oil etc that many commercial bakeries include in bread. Should I? You don’t mention it here
it’s not something i worry about if you’re eating a varied and balanced diet!