Sandwiches are tasty, convenient and—depending on what you put in them—healthy. But stuffing your fixings between two slices of white bread isn’t always the best choice, even though it may sound good.
Isabel Jacobs, a clinical dietitian at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, said, “Bread substitutes can be a healthy addition to your diet.” You might want to look for a bread substitute if:
- You are trying to limit refined carbohydrates, since white bread contains a lot of them.
- You are trying to limit added sugars, since white bread often contains high fructose corn syrup or other added sugars.
- You are intolerant to gluten, or you have celiac disease, so you need to avoid the gluten that’s found in white bread.
- You are trying to lose weight, since many bread substitutes, especially vegetable-based substitutes, are lower in calories than white bread.
Here are some bread substitutes to try
There are lots of healthier alternatives you can turn to that can replace your white bread. “Bread substitutes allow you to incorporate more vegetables, which can add more nutrients, help you manage your blood sugars better and allow you to enjoy your favorite sandwich without the gluten if you are sensitive or intolerant,” Jacobs said.
Here are some options to try:
- Corn, reduced-carb or whole-grain tortillas
- Cheese wraps or cheese slices
- Coconut wraps
- Cauliflower bread
- Cucumber slices
- Sweet potato slices
- Bell pepper slices
- Portobello mushrooms
- Egg bread
“These substitutes can help you cut down on the calories from carbohydrates, which can help you improve your blood sugars,” Jacobs said. “And trying bread substitutes, especially the ones that are made of vegetables, may also be a fun new way to eat more veggies!”
If you’re buying a packaged wrap or bread substitute, be sure to look over the nutrition information to make sure the bread meets your needs. Some are low in carbs but still high in calories or fat, making you think they are healthier than they really are.
Here are some types of bread that are healthier choices
“Bread is often painted as the problem with our diets, and we sometimes forget how good whole grains can be for us,” Jacobs said. “They contain fiber, help lower cholesterol, reduce risk for stroke and diabetes, and keep you fuller longer. So, if you’re looking for a first step to cutting out white bread, take a baby step and switch to whole-wheat bread first.”
Sourdough bread can also be a healthier choice than white bread. Because sourdough bread is fermented, it’s good for your gut bacteria, and it has more B vitamins and a lower glycemic index than most white breads.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to white bread, there are lots of options to choose from. You can switch to whole-wheat bread, sourdough bread or a range of more nutritious options for bread substitutes. If you would like to learn more about healthy swaps you can make in your diet, reach out to a health care professional at Banner Health.