Whether you're whipping up a sandwich or a couple of slices of toast, most breads will only add inches to your waistline. Next time you're in the mood for some (healthy) carbs, keep these simple guidelines in mind.
White bread is never the best choice, but a darker hue doesn't mean the loaf is better, either. "That's very easy for companies to fake with food coloring," says Cynthia Harriman of the Whole Grains Council.
GO FOR WHOLE
You want a bread that's made with 100% whole wheat, oats, barley, or other grains, says Jennifer Nelson, R.D., a Mayo Clinic nutritionist. Whatever flour is on the ingredient list, it should always come from a 100% whole grain.
CHECK THE FIBER
A good loaf should have at least two grams of the stuff per slice.
DON'T FALL FOR "HEALTHY" PHRASES
Terms such as "stone-ground," "multi-grain," and "bran" don't mean the bread is better. Neither do lots of nuts and seeds. Buy the loaf if you like the taste, but don't let marketing be the deciding factor.