What to Spread on Your Bread?

Bread is a central food in the American diet. Consequently, I am often asked for advice about what type to eat as well as what to spread on it.

My first recommendation is to choose whole grain bread. Typically, bread made of whole grains - such as whole wheat, rye, or spelt - contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are typically removed from processed, refined bread products.

One of my favorite foods to use as a spread, one that many may not have thought of, is avocado. Avocado is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and contains specific phytonutrients, which lower cholesterol and protect against cancer. It also provides vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber. Try avocado in place of mayonnaise for a potato salad as well.

Natural nut butters make nutritious, delicious spreads, albeit high in calories. Therefore, spread nut butters, including cashew, almond, and macadamia, thinly. Nut butters can be eaten on whole grain crackers, pancakes, waffles, and fruit. Make sure to select nut butters that do not contain hydrogenated oils, and be sure to keep them refrigerated.

Middle Eastern spreads, such as techina, chumus, and babaganush, are good sources of fiber and protein. Choose homemade recipes or store bought brands that don’t use hydrogenated oils or mayonnaise, and again, use them sparingly due to their high caloric content.

Fruit spreads abound, ranging from apple butter to strawberry preserves, but the trick is to avoid fruit spreads that contain corn syrup, added sugar, or artificial sweeteners. Individuals with blood sugar disorders should use these cautiously.

Finally, I would like to comment on butter and margarine, the two most controversial spreads. A new generation of margarines has emerged, which do not contain hydrogenated oils, making them preferable to butter or regular margarine. Organic butter used sparingly would also be a good option. The best approach would be to lightly pour or spray cold-pressed olive oil on bread or potatoes in place of either butter or margarine.

So choose wholesome, whole-grain breads and a nutritious spread!