With so many choices filling the shelves at your local grocery store, how do you make the best choice of sliced bread for you and your family?
“Flip it over and check out the list of ingredients,” says Sara Burnett, Panera’s VP of Wellness and Food Policy.
First, she recommends avoiding breads with artificial preservatives (like calcium propionate or DATEM). “At Panera, we make our breads with no artificial preservatives because we think that makes for the best, tastiest bread,” she says.
If there’s anything else you’d like to avoid—like high fructose corn syrup or caramel color—you can pare down your options further.
Then, to find the perfect bread, look for the ingredients you do want to eat. Things like steel cut oats, golden flax seeds, sprouted whole wheat flour, sunflower seeds or even a touch of brown sugar all add texture and flavor.
Finally, look for whole grains—but beware, not all whole grains pack the same nutritious punch. Sara offers these tips for finding the best whole grains for your buck:
- Look for a whole grain ingredient, like whole wheat flour, to be one of the first in the list of ingredients. Ingredients are listed by quantity, from most to least, so the earlier something appears in the list, the more of it was used in that product.
- Is there a Whole Grain Stamp on the package? This stamp, authorized by the Whole Grains Council, appears only on foods that provide at least a half serving (8 grams) of whole grains per serving. You’ll find this stamp on each of the whole grain Panera at Home sliced bread varieties. Each of them are made with 50 percent or more whole grains, making them a great choice if you’re trying to get more whole grains into your diet.
- Compare grams of whole grains per serving. A full serving of whole grains is 16 grams.
So what breads does Sara choose for her family? “I go for whole grain and texture,” she says. “I like the rich flavors of Panera’s Whole Grain Baker’s Grains Sliced Bread for my sandwiches, but my kids go crazy for the smooth 100% Whole Wheat variety.”
Panera at Home offers five whole grain sliced breads, all with 13-21 grams of whole grain per slice. Look for Multi-Grain, Baker’s Grains, Baker’s Oats, and both smooth and grainy 100% Whole Wheat varieties in the bread aisle wherever you buy groceries (available in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions).