Breads and Bakery Items

• Make an effort to buy more "whole grain" and "whole wheat" bakery products. Other label terms may suggest whole grain—for example, oatmeal and multigrain—but check the label to be sure.

Just because it's called "wheat bread" doesn't mean it's whole grain. Instead it may be made mostly from refined wheat flour. Terms such as "stone ground," "multigrain," "cracked wheat," or "100 percent wheat" don't mean whole wheat. And most store-bought rye and pumpernickel breads are made mostly from refined white flour. For more fiber, check the Nutrition Facts and the ingredient list for those made with mainly whole-wheat flour.

On the Nutrition Facts you'll see that a 1-ounce slice of whole-wheat bread has about 1.6 fiber grams compared to 0.5 to 1 gram of fiber in the same-size slice of enriched white bread. Bakery products that supply 2.5 or more grams of fiber per serving are a good fiber source. Refer to page 142 in chapter 6.

  • For white bread and rolls, look for "enriched" products. Bread made from enriched flour is a good source of starches (complex carbohydrates), B vitamins (including folic acid), and iron. When flour is enriched, B vitamins and iron are added back—but not fiber or other vitamins and minerals. Most other products made with refined grains also are fortified with folic acid.
  • Choose mostly bread and other bakery products with less fat. Most Italian bread, French bread, bagels, pita bread, kaiser rolls, English muffins, rye bread, corn tortillas, and pumpernickel bread have 2 grams of fat or less per serving. Check the Nutrition Facts for serving size and nutrient content.
  • Go easy on bakery products with more fat: croissants, many muffins, doughnuts, sweet rolls, and many cookies and cakes. Although croissants make a tasty sandwich bread, half of a croissant has about 5 fat grams compared with 1 fat gram in half of an Italian roll. And a doughnut has about 10 fat grams. Be portion savvy; just the amount you need!
  • Use food labels—the ingredient list and the Nutrition Facts-to find bakery products with fewer calories and added sugars and less salt, too.
  • Check the product date on the label for freshness. Packaged bakery products, with preservatives added, may have a longer shelf life than from the in-store bakery. See "Additives: Safe at the Plate" in chapter 9.
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