What’s the Best Healthy Bread You Can Find at the Grocery Store?

Philadelphia nutritionists share their favorite healthy breads.

Photograph by iStock/Nastco

To put it bluntly, the grocery store bread aisle is a hot mess. There’s eight bajillion varieties — whole grain, multi grain, whole wheat, ancient grain, sprouted grain, super-healthy-awesome grain, you name it. If sitting in the grocery store for two hours reading bread labels *isn’t* your thing, we feel ya.

That’s why we decided to save us all the headache and reached out to our network of Philadelphia nutritionists and dietitians to ask: What kind of bread is best?

While we wouldn’t have been shocked if they’d all had different favorites for different reasons, their responses were surprisingly uniform. Uniform enough to declare two real winners of the Great Bread Battle: Ezekiel bread and Dave’s Killer Bread.

What’s so special about these breads? Here’s a little explainer on each.

Ezekiel Bread by Food for Life

The big deal with Ezekiel bread is it’s made from all-organic sprouted grains — which are supposed to make them easier to digest and increase the nutrients your body gets out of them. It also has no added sugar; the bread’s natural sweetness comes from barley.

“I always choose this brand because, unlike most processed store-bought breads, sprouted grain products use the entire kernel, meaning all the nutritious parts of the wheat kernel are saved, making sprouted grain breads higher in nutrients such as protein, fiber, niacin, B6, and folate,” says registered dietitian Theresa Shank of Philly Dietitian.

Registered Sheena Pradhan of Nutritious Balance says she also recommends the bread due to its high protein-to-carbohydrates ratio, and Ivy Eliff of OnPoint Nutrition is a fan for the absorbable minerals in the bread.

Food for Life Brand is one of my favorites,” says Katelan Glutz of OnPoint Nutrition. “They’re made from sprouted grains and contain all nine essential amino acids! They’re also bursting with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and natural fiber with no added fat — none of their products include oils!”

Sooo…Ezekiel bread is naturally low fat, low sugar, and helps ensure your body gets more nutrients out of every slice. I think that pretty much covers why nutritionists are nuts for the stuff. While you may not find in every grocery store, a bit of advice: you’ll want to look for it in the freezer aisle, not the bread aisle.

Dave’s Killer Bread

Now here’s the thing about “healthy” bread. It doesn’t always taste *amazing.* Take the fat and the sugar away and, well, you’re losing a lot of what makes bread so dang delicious.

But that’s where Dave’s Killer Bread comes in. It’s organic, it’s packed with whole grains, and it tastes really freakin’ great. And nutritionists love it: It’s relatively high in protein, high in fiber, and low in sugar.

“I love bread,” says OnPoint Nutrition founder Britney Kennedy. “The items I always scope out on the nutrition facts label are the fiber content and the ingredient list. The first ingredient in any high quality bread should be whole wheat. When it comes to fiber, five grams or more per slice is ideal. I love Dave’s Killer Bread.  Their Powerseed bread is to die for.” 

The Powerseed flavor, registered dietitian Liz Smith of Two Hungry Work Wives points out, also uses natural sources for sweetness.

“It uses fruit juice for sweetness as opposed to sugar or high fructose corn syrup,” says Smith. 

Dave’s Killer Bread also makes a thin-sliced version, which is good if you’re looking to curb your calories. Registered dietitian Kelly Strogen of Wayne Nutrition likes the 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Thin-Sliced for the fact that it’s just 60 calories a slice, but packed with healthy grains. And pro tip: The Powerseed flavor also comes in thin-sliced.

Once again, since this is a specialty, organic bread, you may not find it in every store (though I’ve seen it on the shelves of my local Acme — so it’s definitely not exclusive to Whole Foods). That said, if these breads aren’t available, you can also try making your own — which Emily Pierce of OnPoint Nutrition is a fan of — or picking some up from a local bakery (like Melissa Bailey of Two Hungry Work Wives does). Because ultimately, the more you can control the ingredients you’re eating, the better.

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: