5 healthy alternatives to bread

Written by: Editors

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Eat less bread

For many people, wheat bread is a staple food. A sandwich takes only a couple of minutes to make – all you need is bread and the right toppings. So it’s not surprising that eating less bread is something that takes getting used to. Bread is also a good source of fibre, vitamins B, iodine and iron. If you decide to replace bread, you should make sure all these nutrients are incorporated into your diet. Here are five alternatives to bread to help you on your way.

What are alternatives to bread?

Here is a list of easy ways to replace conventional bread.

1. Buckwheat pancakes and rye bread

Why not replace wheat bread with bread made with other types of grains such as spelt, oat or rye? There are plenty of breads available that are packed with fibre and vitamins and are more nutritious than regular bread. Keep in mind that spelt bread contains some gluten, so it’s not an option for those on a gluten-free diet. Many irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients eat spelt bread with any problems.

For those who want to try something completely different, silverskin rice and grains such as quinoa, millet and buckwheat make an excellent and tasty substitute for bread. Banana buckwheat or oatmeal pancakes are healthy, absolutely delicious and very easy to make.

2. Porridge, yoghurt, quark and smoothies

It’s really quite easy to have a lovely breakfast without bread. For a healthy breakfast, simply have a bowl of yoghurt or plain quark. Yoghurt and quark are ridiculously high in protein. And because protein is the most satiating food type, it’s an effective way to reduce hunger. If you add fruit or gluten-free muesli to your yoghurt for a flavour boost, you’ll get a vitamin boost as well.

Another good alternative to bread is porridge. Simply boil some milk, add oats, give the whole thing a good stir and voilà – breakfast is ready! A milk or yoghurt smoothie with fruit and oatmeal is great for an energy punch and perfect for people in a rush in the morning. What’s more, oats are naturally gluten free.

Eggs are high in protein, which means they are a high-energy way to start the day. Eggs also contain iodine and go well with vegetables. Looking for a breadless lunch? Simply add some chopped tomato, mushroom and spring onion and top with cheese. The more eggs you put in, the more filling your omelette will be.

A thick, stodgy soup like minestrone soup or lentil soup is a great alternative to ‘boring’ bread and is guaranteed to fill you up, especially if you add beans, quinoa or rice. Don’t forget to put in plenty of vegetables for a fibre and vitamin boost.

Leafy greens are great substitutions for bread. One way to effortlessly integrate more vegetables into your diet is to have salads at other times of the day: not only for dinner, but for breakfast or lunch. Before you know it, you’ll eat more veggies than the recommended minimum amount of 250 grams.

If you add beans (chickpeas, white beans or kidney beans) you’ll even increase your intake of legumes, as recommended by the new food pyramid. What’s more, legumes will help you feel satiated. Instead of beans, you can also use quinoa, silverskin rice or whole-wheat pasta.

Reasons to cut back on bread

There may be many reasons for cutting down from two daily bread meals or even replacing bread altogether. Many people decide to substitute bread for health reasons, because they are intolerant to gluten or want to cut back on carbohydrates. Others simply want to add some variety to their diet.

Bread is a widely consumed product worldwide and wheat bread is the most popular. Wheat bread contains gluten, a protein composite found in wheat, barley and other grains. Gluten is not tolerated by everyone. In fact, it is estimated that one percent of the population cannot tolerate any gluten at all. In people with coeliac disease, gluten causes the lining of the small intestine to become inflamed. People with gluten sensitivity (also known as gluten intolerance) may have symptoms such as bloating or abdominal pain. Eating less or no wheat bread can help reduce these symptoms. Wheat also contains certain carbohydrates that can cause bowel irritation.

Low-carb diets have become increasingly popular in the past few years. Carbohydrates are often said to be a chief source of energy to power your body, but they can also make you fat. This is especially true if your diet contains products that are high on fast carbs and low on fibre, such as white bread. This, too, can be a reason to avoid bread.

Don’t forget iodine in your diet

If you want or need to go breadless altogether, be sure that your diet contains enough iodine. In some countries iodine is added to bread to address the problem of iodine deficiency. Iodine can be found in several foods including seaweed and seafood (e.g., scallops, cod and shrimp). Iodine is also added to kitchen salt, although the percentage of iodised salt in bread is higher. If your diet does not provide enough iodine, you can also turn to iodine supplements but make sure the iodine isn’t too high – excessive levels of iodine can also have health consequences.

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