How to Navigate the Bread Aisle (Plus, 7 Dietitian-Approved Loaves!)

by Trinh Le, MPH, RD
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How to Navigate the Bread Aisle (Plus, 7 Dietitian-Approved Loaves!)

Still baffled by bread, but don’t want to jam up the baked-goods aisle reading nutrition labels? We did the sleuthing for you and put together a list of healthy loaves you might encounter on your next trip to the grocery store.

To qualify, these starchy contestants had to rise to some strict nutritional standards set by MyFitnessPal registered dietitian Elle Penner, MPH, RD. Each 1-slice serving of bread…

  • Is made with whole grains and/or whole wheat—we checked the ingredients list to make sure no refined or “enriched” flour sifts through.
  • Provides 110 calories or less
  • Contains at least 3 grams of fiber for every 30 grams of carbohydrates
  • Has added sugar ranked #4 or lower on the ingredients list

And, because we all have different goals when it comes to choosing bread, called out the special nutritional categories of each loaf:

  • Low Calorie—has 60 calories (or less) per slice
  • High Fiber—provides at least 5g of fiber per slice
  • Low Sodium—contains no more than140 mg of sodium per slice
  • No Added Sugar—doesn’t contain added sweeteners contributing to calories
  • Gluten Free—certified “Gluten Free” and safe for those with Celiac’s Disease or gluten intolerance

Here are a few options you can feel good about purchasing.

Healthy Bread Chart

For more great bread buying tips, take a look at How to Choose Healthier Store-Bought Bread.

What’s your go-to store-bought bread? Have you tasted any of our healthy picks? Share in the comments below!  

Related

  • Guest

    is all the bread listed from 800g loaves or the smaller 400g loaves? and are any available in the uk? As never seen a no sugar bread over here as yet

  • Wendi

    My new favorite is Silver Hills Bakery’s The Big 16 bread. It has a lot of different sprouted grains and seeds, and tastes really good toasted. It has 6g protein and 4g fiber per slice, too.

  • EMTFreakGirl

    So glad that my favorite made the list! Dave’s Killer Bread, thin Rocks my world!

  • Michael

    I really enjoy making bread at home; could you write a similar article with different recipes?

  • Katie

    Food for Life Ezekiel low sodium bread… love, love, love!

    • rawmilkrocks

      The best out there!!

  • breadlova

    I like white bread… am I gonna die?

    • Laurie

      Actually you are probably better off…. whole grains, in absence of pounding/sifting/sprouting/fermenting, are not the “healthy” foods that we are told they are.

      • Lynn Mundy

        That is good to know as I hate the taste of brown bread/whole wheat. It just tastes like sawdust to me. I try to buy sourdough more times than not, but it is hard to find in Scotland.

        • Granite

          I also like sourdough bread and I usually find it in Morrisons

      • Akila

        You are so right, laurie. Just curious – what bread do you eat?

    • Steve

      I eat white bread with real butter, even on a cut!

    • veracity5

      actually all bread is bad unless the grain has been broken down properly in a fermentation process aka real sourdough bread. white bread is made from grains that are pulverized to nothing and stripped completely of all nutritional content. It is also bleached which is completely toxic, bleach is toxic just in fumes alone. seeds in general all come with their own form of “security” measures to ensure their survival. this is a way condensed version of a long explanation but worth knowing. you can find much about fermented bread and wild yeast starters on the internet. the only way eating grains can actually be healthy for our bodies is through fermentation or sprouting. it tricks the seed into a state of what it interprets as germination, which then releases all of it’s goodness and not all that phytic acid that wreaks havoc on our internal system, causing things like cancer, gluten intolerances, celiacs etc. this method was in continual practice in generations past and was all but lost with the advent of “quick rise yeast” and a high demand for bread in general. any yeast dough should go through a minimum of a 10 hour rise, longer is always better. the high grain breads are just as awful for you as the white breads and maybe even more so in some senses. additionally, bread should mold within two days, not last on the counter for weeks…that lends credence to the amount of preservatives we are ingesting as well. you would also be amazed to find out how much of the wheat grown and on the market is genetically modified.

      i make my own bread, pizza dough etc now through fermentation, sprout my own flour for quick breads, pastas etc. one of my children is gluten intolerant. half of the junk in the gluten free aisles are just as toxic or even more so (when dealing with gm corn alternatives). my son can eat bread and have no reaction at all when it has been sprouted or fermented. i think this speaks volumes in and of itself. on top of that, i still eat bread and pasta regularly and losing weight every week. no matter what the professionals like to parrot, you can absolutely eat carbs and get results. there are more rules to follow when it comes to eating things like soy, etc, but that is a post for another day as this one is already quite windy, lol.

      good rules (imho) to live by is always eating in moderation…whole foods particularly, get rid of the processed crap and look up soy, it is an estrogen mimicker (makes you fat and is in EVERYTHING). if eaten, it should be fermented as well, any fish should be wild caught, meat from ruminants should be grassfed, exercise with a big focus on cardio/strength training (more muscle made the more fat it burns)…these are the big keys to weight loss (that will last).

      the obesity epidemic isn’t just simply because people have gotten lazy, a large percentage of the problem can easily be attributed to the poisons being sold to us in grocery stores labeled as “food”.

      • sue

        great points!!!!

  • Techno Spice

    ERMAGERD Do one for flatbreads or tortillas now.

  • Chris

    I really like Sara Lee’s 45 Calories & Delightful Healthy Multi-Grain bread. It’s first ingredient is Whole Wheat Flour. Serving size is 2 slices – Calories 90, Total Fat 1g, Sodium 170mg, Total Carb 18g, Fiber 5g, Protein 6g

    • Amy

      I love that variety, though I go for the whole wheat.

    • Erica

      That’s my favorite bread too

    • Elsa

      Our favorite bread too – my teenager even loves it! He says the other breads are too thick now. I have only heard of one of the brands on this list.

    • PatriotMom

      That’s my choice too.

  • Jennifer Melendez

    I always buy Publix seeded whole wheat bread. No preservatives , no cholesterol or oils . 70 cal 2 g fiber, 105mg sodium and 3gm sugar per slice with only 9 ingredients. Whole wheat, water, honey, wheat gluten, yeast, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and salt. They also have it just honey wheat and cinammon raising as well. Delicious and a much better choice if you have a publix near you.

  • Lee Evans

    I’m in the UK and I must admit I thought the added sugar thing was a USA thing, I’ve always noticed how sweet almost cake like bread tastes there. But I’ve check what I thought was a healthy or lower calorie ‘Hovis Wholemeal Nimble’ bread and it has added caramelized sugar! 2.2g of sugar a slice and only 1.5g of fiber a slice.

    Any recommendations for the UK market would be useful – bread is my biggest weakness and guaranteed to break my diet plans. The idea of a ‘healthier’ bread appeals – I’m happy to make my own but have no idea how to get it down to 50 calories a slice but with 5g of fibre.

    • beejay

      Unfortunately, most of the high-fiber bread in the US anyway is made with added “cellulose.” That’s pretty much sawdust. Get your fiber (fibre) from veggies : )

      • Lee Evans

        Thank you Beejay, that is reassuring. I do remember how much corn syrup was in things in the states and when i was staying with a friend was amazed to find out the internal walls of his house were actually made the the bits of corn people couldn’t (or wouldn’t) eat. Perhaps it can be converted into fibre for food.

        Yes agree veggies are best as the filler. I’ll give up the hunt for a mythical ‘healthy’ bread.

        • Deb

          “All plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds contain cellulose. Whole foods, with the skin and seeds intact, have more cellulose than foods that have these removed. While juices do contain types of dietary fiber, they do not provide any cellulose.”

          Cellulose is actually good for us and Beejay must not realize that it is probably in a lot of food he eats. It benefits the colon and might help prevent colon cancer. Please do some research- you might be surprised.

  • guest

    How to navigate the bread aisle: ignore dietitians who want you to think your quality of life hinges on every little thing because it make it seem like you need their advice. Dude, it’s just bread. Eat the kind you like and move on with life.

    • guest

      Amen, I am in excellent health and eat what break I like. I just don’t eat an entire loaf.

  • Amanda

    I choose natures own 100% whole grain sugar free bread

    • Stacy

      A healthy lifestyle does depend on all the little choices we make each day. What’s the hurt in an article from a pro to help us with that?

  • Abby

    I love SilverHills Little Big Bread, it’s my favourite type of theirs, but the company’s whole selection is delectable and is made from 100% sprouted grains. They also have gluten free options.

  • Jim P

    Pepperidge Farms has a Carb Style 7 grain bread that I prefer. 60 calories for 1 slice, 1.5g fat, 150mg sodium, 8g total carbs, 0g sugar, 3g fiber, 5g protein.

  • guest

    I eat Nature’s Own sugar free bread……it tastes as good as any other bread…

  • Alexia

    So one thing that I think this chart doesn’t take into account is the size / weight of each “slice”. In this list, it ranges from 34-45 grams. So 5g of fiber for a 45 gram bread is as high fiber as a 4g of fiber in a 34 gram slice of bread. Both are about 11% of the weight of the bread (4/34 & 5/45).

    My favorite bread is the Alpine Valley Oragnic 21 Whole Grain Bread. One slice = 28 grams by weight and 4g of fiber per slice. 4/28 = 14+% fiber by weight. So 2 slices of this bread which is only 11 grams more than a single slice of any of the listed double fiber breads (56 vs 45) nets me *8g* of fiber and fewer calories.

  • Chad Wood

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but I highly recommend Alpine Valley brand loaves.

  • Begg

    I love your articles and find the advice very helpful.

    However, please remember that although MFP is obviously American – there are thousands of members in the UK who cannot buy the loaves you mention. For example, please read the some of the comments posted before mine. Thank you.

  • Begg

    PS – I avoid bread!

  • Kate

    Can we have an Australian product list too ??

  • Tonja

    Sara Lee whole wheat is a hit at our house. I was looking for a low calorie bread that still had a decent amount of fiber. At 45 calories a slice and five grams of fiber it fits our needs. My husband and kids both like it. It’s not a heavy tasting wheat bread-very light.

  • Esther

    I eat Sara Lee 45 cal multigrain bread, serving size is 2 slices.

  • Donnalea

    I live in the Pacific Northwest so it’s Dave’s Killer Bread- love all their varieties!

  • Kaerys

    I like Nature’s Own Double Fiber whole wheat bread. Its 50 calories a slice, only 11 carbs, has 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein!

    • Kaerys

      And only 1g of sugar per slice!

  • Julie Fitzpatrick

    Interesting chart, but I wish it included a column for whether or not the breads contained meat, dairy or egg.

  • Ellen Drake

    When I go down the bread aisle, there’s this funky smell. Sometimes, when I take a loaf home (even Nature’s Own), the smell comes with the bread. What is this? I’ve stopped buying most brands (except Martin’s 100% whole wheat potato bread, because it doesn’t smell). I’ll also buy from the Publix bakery.

  • beejay

    We LOVED Dave’s Killer Bread while we were traveling in the west, but it’s not available in the east. Next best is the Food For Life breads. Our favorite is the sprouted grain and seed bread (blue label) available at a lot of groceries in the freezer section and fresh at Trader Joe’s nationwide. Interesting that GMOs didn’t even enter the criteria here. That and sprouting are our two main criteria in buying bread. As Dave says, “Don’t eat bread on drugs!”

  • marmee

    Here on the West Coast of Canada, the only bread I eat is Silver Hills, sprouted grain. My choice is the 90 calorie a slice. in a blue wrapper I think it is called big and little (dont have any on hand at moment)

  • ron

    Dr. Davis say’s we should not eat wheat, not even whole grain. Just read one of his books, “Wheat Belly” He was also on Dr. Oz a couple weeks ago.

    • paola

      This is just another fad … wheat is the main staple of mediterranean countries – are they all dead?

      • ron

        I think the fad has been, “eat whole grains”. So get fat on whole grains if you prefer

  • louie

    Sara Lee has some great healthy options for 45 calories a slice also.

  • Earl L.

    I don’t eat much bread but when I do I eat Food for Life Ezeikeil Whole Wheat Sprouted Grain Bread

    • Krystina Bair

      Me too. I am wheat/gluten sensitive…it works & digests well for me. Plus it makes GREAT toast!

  • Makemac

    Any suggestions for hi fibre, low cal?
    Wt watchers and Dempsters’ Thins (multigrain) are 50 cals and 2g fibre.
    Btw white “breadlova” I think wt watchers is pretty good for you in white…

  • Analisa

    What about OroWheat? That is a great bread with all-natural ingredients.

  • jan jordan

    Silver Hills Canada has a Little Big Bread that is 110 calories for two slices and has 5 grams of fiber,s sugar is 1 gram made with sprouted wheat

  • marissa

    7 grain Ezekiel bread is just delicious!

  • paola

    As usual there so much to improve in the datas: why not put calories per weight? How much does a slice weigh? A 5 mm slice of sprouted bread is probably much heavier than a 5 mm of plain wholewheat. I know in the US people do not use scales a lot, but the world population is not made of US citizen only….
    Basic real bread is made out of 4 ingredients: flour, water, salt (and not always) and yeast (or sourdough starter – which again is flour and water) – so really there should be no need to add sugar, the only reason it is done by big companies is that it makes the production much faster (with all the other issues around how our digestion is affected by mass produced bread compared to artisan slow rise ones)

  • what1233456

    Pepperidge Farm has a Lt. Wheat that is only 45 calories per slice and whole wheat is the first ingredient.

  • William Junger

    Doesn’t MyFitnessPal support Canadians? We make a lot of bread — what about our brands?

  • Barbara

    I grind a combination of hard red wheat and hard white wheat immediately before I make my own bread. Since I add ground flax seed as well I feel it is quite healthy. And everyone who tastes it thinks it is great! I am addicted to it.

  • HtD

    Any New Zealand equivalents you could list?

  • Tan

    Ive not heard or bought any of these breads. I usually by Hovis or Kingsmill 50/50…

  • rose

    I buy healthy life bread. Only 35 calories per slice. I can make a tasty and filling sandwich that logs in under 150 calories!

  • loumiii

    I only buy bread labeled usda organic…

  • Candace Lee

    YEAH – JOIN THE CONVERSATION – I tried three times

  • Candace Lee

    Berlin Bakery Spelt Breads – NON-GMO – Limited ingredients – NO chemicals
    Sourdough has the least: Whole Grain Spelt flour, water, sea salt

  • Karen

    I was told to eat multigrain by a dietician to increase my fibre while losing weight