The next time you’re grocery shopping, take a look at the ingredients list on a loaf of bread. It’s loaded with sweeteners like honey, brown sugar and molasses, along with additives meant to extend the shelf life. Eating that kind of bread can be a quick way to sabotage your healthy eating. However, you can make a version of the store-bought stuff that is loaded with good-for-you ingredients.
Bread, as a base, is only made with four items: flour, yeast, salt, sugar. You don’t need a breadmaker in order to make your own bread. However, to make homemade bread – like this tasty wheat bread from Smitten Kitchen – there are few tricks you can implement:
Use whole-wheat flour
Because it is less processed, whole-wheat flour offers a grittier texture – making it feel more filling than its white counterpart. That texture also lets you know that you’re getting more fiber in your diet, which you need to keep you focused through your afternoon meetings without crashing. According to The Huffington Post, not only does an extra dose of whole grains help level off sugar highs, but it can also lower bad cholesterol when part of a healthy diet.
Add slivered almonds
Adding peanut butter to homemade bread can mess with the texture. Instead, you can top your bread with almonds, pumpkin seeds or any other nut of your choice. This additional protein boost can help you feel full so you aren’t craving the snacks in the closest vending machine at 3 p.m. In addition, you’ll also get a dose of healthy fats, which can help your hair stay shiny, noted United Healthcare. Or, if you want a bigger boost of protein, you can swap one quarter cup of conventional flour for almond flour. You won’t notice the difference in taste!
You can add chopped nuts to your bread for an extra dose of protein.
Cut the salt
Depending on the brand, some breads use high amounts of salt to make them last longer in your pantry. However, you may not need to add that much salt. In your own recipes, you can experiment with how much salt you want to include. Smitten Kitchen’s recipe keeps it low at one tablespoon. While you can reduce the levels of salt, it’s important to include some in your bread recipes. Salt helps gluten bind, which gives your bread structure. You can experiment with adding Himalayan pink sea salt or grey sea salt for depth of flavor.
It’s not just about what you put in the bread – it’s also about what you put on it. Mash up avocados and spread on a slice fresh from the oven. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the avocados, then add chopped tomatoes for a savory take on breakfast or a tasty lunch option.
You don’t have to cut gluten out of your diet to stay healthy this year. Instead, make small changes that will add a dose of extra vitamins and nutrients. Healthy bread has so many uses for breakfast or lunch – enjoy experimenting to find your favorite combination.