Using Bread Wisely With Meals

If you're trying to use bread responsibly as part of a health-conscious diet plan, the following tips might prove useful.

A love of bread seems universal. Travel to any culture and you are likely to find plentiful uses of this tasty staple. Flat, round, long, sliced, white, dark, heavy, or light, bread has been around for ages and is likely to be with us for a long time.

But if you're trying not to overdo your bread consumption and you want to enjoy it in moderation, here are a few tips that may help.

1. Eat less bread. Some folks eat one or two slices of store bought bread with every meal. Then they wonder why they can't lose weight. While most bread is healthy, eating too much of it, especially the processed variety, may help to keep the pounds on due to its significant amount of carbohydrates and starches. If you want to modify your consumption of bread, try eating less of it. Opt for one slice with each meal. Then you may want to cut back to a half slice at dinner, since eating less later in the day is a healthy technique that aids digestion and helps restrict weight gain. You may even want to skip bread with meals that include starches such as pasta or other grains, like rice. After a while, you won't even miss it.

2. Eat lighter versions. Try having your toast with half the normal amount of butter or jelly. Then have it with no topping at all. Pretty soon you may decide you can do without bread occasionally in favor of another carbohydrate or meal item. When you do eat bread, buy the low-calorie brand, which sometimes is no more than a smaller or thinner slice! Instead of processed bread, choose wheat, bran, or another fiber-loaded variety that will be healthier for your digestive tract.

3. Try different forms. If you're used to the same type of bread each day, experiment with different flavors that are good for you. Avoid processed bread in favor of homemade varieties or at least those that claim to be natural, thus lacking preservatives and additives. Flavors like basil tomato, parmesan cheese, or country French may be available in lower-calorie versions, so opt for these when you can get them. Instead of sliced bread, you may want to substitute bread sticks, bran or applesauce muffins, or crackers that will satisfy your appetite for filling carbohydrates without necessarily compromising your daily calorie regime.

4. Serve bread less often. Instead of putting out bread with each meal, experiment with other support items or appetizers, such as popcorn, peanuts or seeds, fresh veggies with low-fat dip, or sweet fruits, freshly peeled. Your guests will not even notice if bread if not on the table when you offer delicious options like these. You can always add a few croutons to the soup or salad, or make tiny watercress sandwiches as appetizers if you must offer some type of bread.

5. Make bread a rare treat. Serve fresh-baked bread, dinner rolls, or biscuits as a snack rather than with a meal. That way your family will have just one starch enter their system at a time. Try delicious or special varieties as a dessert, like warm cinnamon bread or blueberry muffins. Gradually your family may come to see bread less as a staple and more as a treat.

Bread is one of those comfort foods that it can be difficult to live without. Try methods like these to reduce your family's dependence on bread items, which will help them enjoy it more over the long haul.

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