Bread has been demonized as the enemy of a healthy diet. It comes as a surprise to no one that more and more health-conscious individuals are taking bread completely off their diets. ‘Gluten is bad for you’ has become the new motto for a health-conscious lifestyle. But in reality, gluten has been a staple food for millennia. Is it as bad as we make it sound?
There is no denying that for some individuals, gluten can lead to painful health reactions. If you are gluten-intolerant, it’s fair to say that bread should not be part of your daily diet. But the percentage of gluten intolerance and sensitivity in the U.S. is around 7% of the population. So why do the rest of us still try to avoid bread? Because it’s full of carbs, you say. The truth is, your body needs carbs to function. As part of a balanced diet, bread could be a good source of nutrients. Here’s how to make peace with bread:
As part of a Mediterranean feast
Bread is a staple of a Mediterranean diet. But, more importantly, the diet has been praised by doctors for years because of its health benefits. In short, you can have bread without putting your health at risk, especially if you consume it as part of a Mediterranean meal. A homemade bowl of hummus, for instance, goes great with warm pita bread and some crunchy vegetables. In this example, you need to make sure the pita bread is not the main part of the meal. Ultimately, pita brings the carb element to the meal, which is why it’s essential to balance quantities smartly. Ideally, you want a lot of fresh vegetables, such as carrots and celery sticks, a generous bowl of hummus to share, and only a little plate of pita bread as a side.
Make it into your homemade pizza
If you’re one to order a pizza before you don’t feel like cooking, you may want to make your own quick pizza on the go instead. When you think about it, the pizza base is bread. You can even find pizza bread bases in shops or use large slices of naan or ciabatta bread instead. How do you make a quick and healthy pizza in a matter of minutes? Use fresh tomato sauce to spread on the bread, and focus on raw and unprocessed ingredients. A healthy and simple pizza could combine tomato sauce, a few slices of fresh tomato, some basil leaves, and mozzarella chunks, and tada, you’ve made a Margherita pizza! For a heartier flavor, add some sliced mushrooms and walnuts.
Making your burger is not as fattening as you think
Finally, the best way to enjoy your bread is to make it part of a burger meal. You can make your own healthy burger at home using lean meat and whole-grain bread. However, avoid fries if you want to keep it healthy. As the bread brings the carbs in the meal, you will need to add vegetables as your side, such as fried zucchini and carrot sticks, for instance.
Is bread as bad as we pretend it is? No, seeded and whole-grain bread is full of nutrients. Additionally, even white bread can be part of a balanced diet as long as you don’t add extra carbs to your meal.