I confess, I’m rather fond of bread – perhaps a little too fond. I grew up making bread with my mother and it’s still one of my favorite culinary pastimes, especially as it makes my house smell wonderful! But while I love bread, it’s not something I should be eating all the time, which has led me to wonder, what are some creative and healthy bread swaps?
Eating less bread opens you up to enjoy a more varied and nutritious diet. In addition to crowding out many more nutrient-rich foods, even whole wheat bread can be high on the glycemic index, putting a demand on insulin production.**
High-gluten bread can also pose something of a challenge to people who are sensitive to gluten and wheat. Sourdough bread (where the flour is already partially digested through fermentation) may be a good option for some people who struggle to digest other types of bread, but who still want their bread fix.
6 Healthy and Simple Bread Swaps
If you’re like me and are a little too reliant on bread as a dietary staple, try the following six ideas to help cut down on bread and improve your nutrient intake:
1. Corn Tortillas
A fantastic wheat-free replacement for bread, and much lower in calories, corn tortillas can be used to make salad and vegetable wraps, burritos, and even burgers! Corn tortillas are so versatile, you can even transform them into oven-baked tortilla chips, perfect for dipping in hummus and salsa.
2. Sweet Potatoes
In a pinch, two slices of baked sweet potato can be used in place of a burger bun, providing a healthy dose of the antioxidant beta-carotene in the process. You could also use sweet potatoes and oat, or rice flour to make delicious wheat-free bread.
3. Cucumber Halves
Slicing an English cucumber lengthways and then scooping out the flesh leaves you with an excellent vessel into which all your typical sandwich fixings fit perfectly. Pop the halves of the cucumber together and you have a refreshing sandwich!
4. Leafy Greens
Large leaves of iceberg lettuce, romaine, little gem, flat kale, or cabbage can make an excellent alternative to slices of bread when making a sandwich or wrap, significantly cutting calories and carbohydrates.
5. Stuffed Veggies
Eggplant, bell pepper, and large mushrooms, such as portobellos, are excellent bread alternatives and can be easily stuffed with mashed pesto tofu; rice or quinoa and veggies; a mixture of ground nuts, herbs, and onions; or chickpea and tahini mash as a rustic hummus filling.
6. Overnight Oats or Savory Oatmeal
If toast is your go-to breakfast food, it can be hard to think of alternatives that are just as easy, delicious and filling first thing in the morning. Don’t worry! Overnight oats offer a simple, tasty and nutritious breakfast that you make the night before and can grab on the way out the door. Here’s how:
- Mix a half cup of oats with a cup of almond milk
- Add a tablespoon of chia seeds, a mashed banana, and a dash of cinnamon and maple syrup for extra sweetness
- Leave in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight
Savory oatmeal, with bok choi, sesame oil, sliced carrots, tamari, puffed tofu, garlic and ginger is also a delicious alternative to a full English breakfast with toast.
For a true bread-like option, you might consider making Ezekiel bread using sprouted grains and legumes, including millet, spelt, and lentils. Not only do the sprouted ingredients add extra nutrients and beneficial bacteria, they’re also more easily digested. Some bakeries and grocery stores carry sprouted bread, or you can make your own!
** This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.