Back to School and Beyond: When Wheat Bread Isn't Really Wheat Bread...

My last post focused on lunch options for kids who get sick of sandwiches everyday. Today's post is geared towards those of us who, like my daughter, could eat a sandwich day after day (after day after day...). If that's you (or your kiddos) choosing the best bread is essential to getting the best nutritional bang for your buck.

But it's not as simple as choosing wheat over white.

See, there's this dirty little secret lurking in the bread aisle that I'm going to let you in on. You might not have really noticed it before but take a look at the two specimens for our comparison today. One label says "100% Whole Wheat" while the other just says "Wheat."

I know what you're thinking...what?! Isn't wheat bread just wheat bread?

They sit right next to each other on the grocery store shelf but they are far from the same thing. If you take a look at the ingredients on the 100% Whole Wheat side, you see the first ingredient is stone ground whole wheat flour. Good.

But let's look at the Wheat Sandwich Bread. You'd probably expect to see the same ingredients listed- except the first ingredient here is unbleached enriched flour. Not good.

It's basically the same stuff they make white bread from.

So why does this really matter?

When you decide to buy wheat bread over white bread, the WHOLE wheat flour is the stuff that makes the nutritional difference. Buying white bread that has stuff added to it so they can call it wheat bread probably isn't what you had in mind- but that's what's happening with the Wheat Sandwich Bread.

How can you tell?

When we think about what's going to keep us full throughout the day, quality carbohydrates that have lots of fiber play a big role. And at first glance, these two breads seem to have the same amount of fiber at 2 grams per serving.

Problem is the serving sizes on the labels are not the same.

  • Serving 100% Whole Wheat Bread-    1 Slice
  • Serving Wheat Sandwich Bread-         2 Slices

Tricky tricky!

Not only is the Wheat Sandwich Bread lower in beneficial fiber and protein, it's higher in fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates when you compare it to an equal portion of 100% Whole Wheat Bread.

Today's back to school takeaway: Look for WHOLE wheat ingredients to know you're getting the real thing to help your kids stay full and focused.. And watch for a new sandwich recipe in a few weeks that will be sure to end up in your sandwich rotation!