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Healthy alternatives to white bread

We found nutritious—and tasty—bagels, buns and rolls, flatbreads, pitas, and more

Consumer Reports magazine: September 2012

Think outside of the bread box.

When white bread is too boring for that turkey sandwich, what’s a healthful alternative? We looked at nutrition stats for 33 bagels, croissants, flatbreads, pitas, rolls, and tortillas, and scored each based on calories, fats, sodium, sugars, iron, calcium, and fiber. We found Very Good products in most categories.

Scoring just Fair, generally because they’re relatively high in fat: Udi’s Gluten Free Plain Bagels, Trader Giotto’s Focaccini (Trader Joe’s), Nature’s Promise White Flour Tortillas, and Kirkland Signature Butter Croissants (Costco). Four flatbreads our testers checked all received a score of Good. By comparison, sliced wheat bread (Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat) rates a Very Good; sliced white bread (Wonder), a Good.

Bottom line. Even among the Very Good breads, nutrition and weight vary, so check the numbers. Usually 100 percent whole-wheat breads or those with whole-wheat flour as their first ingredient are more healthful than others.

If turkey is a sandwich favorite of yours, read "Best Sliced Turkey" to liven up work, school, or home lunches.

Photo: Elizabeth Watt

The nutrition of a sandwich depends largely on what’s between the bread.

Sliced turkey: 60 calories, 1 gram of fat

Peanut butter and jelly: 250 calories, 16 grams of fat

Beef bologna and cheese: 280 calories, 25 grams of fat

Tuna (light, in water) and mayo: 165 calories, 12 grams of fat


Editor's Note: A version of this article appeared in the September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "Bread Nutrition: Bagel or Croissant?"
   

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