For lots of people, a household without a decent loaf of wheat-based bread would be an unthinkable thing. It’s an easy go-to option for morning toast, or a quick sandwich in your lunch hour. Convenient as it is, if you rely on bread for energy, you might feel that inevitable energy slump that comes after scoffing a few slices in whatever form. Read on for some awesome and healthy alternatives to bread.
Awesome bread alternatives
Most people agree that the upside to swapping starchy sugary white bread for a wholesome wholegrain (or other) alternative is huge – more info on those precious benefits later. But what exactly do your options look like? Well we’ve lined up a few for you to have a browse through! Here’s the shortlist, scroll down for more info on each:
- Wholegrain Crackers
- Lettuce leaves
- Cabbage leaves
- Collard leaves
- Oat pancakes
- Karelian pastries
- Almond bread
- Cauliflower bread
Let's start with the oats. Oatcakes, Flatbreads, and Wholegrain Crackers all make fantastic substitutes for bread.
Oatcakes & wholegrain crackers
Made with Scottish oats, they’re a convenient way to hit that recommended daily 30g intake of fibre for a start. Fibre is not digested by our bodies but it does help keep our gut healthy. Not only that but these products are rich in vitamins and minerals (magnesium, iron, vitamins B and E) and are incredibly versatile in the kitchen too.
This is especially true when you consider there are so many different textures (rough, fine, crisp and crunchy flatbreads) and flavours (everything from cheese to fruit and seed) to choose from. Whether you’re topping them with your favourite spread, fresh veg or a slice of cheese and dollop of chutney… they’ll help give you a nice slow release of energy to keep you going for longer. Did you know that much of our range is certified gluten free too? That means we meet ELISA standards and everything!
Just to explain a bit about how Flatbreads differ from oatcakes – for a start they offer you a bigger space upon which to top with your chosen ingredients. That’s a big win in our book! In terms of texture they’re slightly lighter and crispier than their round oatcake cousins, but don’t be fooled, there’s plenty of substantial eating with a few of these on your plate.
Veggie wrap superstars
If wrapping is your thing, a crisp, fresh leaf of lettuce works perfectly for that coronation chicken you’ve got in the fridge… just snap the stem of a nice head of romaine lettuce, add your favourite ingredients and roll it up as you would a normal wrap.
Cabbage leaves work just as well, and anyone into their gut health will know that it’s a fantastic food for supporting your gut health. Not to forget collard leaves!
We’re big fans of rolling up a nutrient-packed combo of grated carrot, avocado, quinoa and beetroot in a few of these for a healthy, refreshing lunch – hold the energy slump.
Or if you’re looking for something a bit more similar to bread to wrap up with, why not whip up a couple of pancakes? Did you know that oat pancakes are a thing? Yup. And they’re very tasty too. Just grab a bag of Nairn’s Porridge Oats and add half a cup into your go-to pancake recipe. It’ll bulk it up somewhat, so you might want to use a little more liquid than usual to compensate.
Maybe you’re open to a bread alternative that’s a bit ‘out of the norm’? Keep reading if that's you!
Karalian pastries, originating from the Baltic region, are traditionally made with rye bread, butter and rice and will add instant variety to your lunch hour whilst dodging any white flour-related foods. You can experiment with the filling too… traditional recipes add things like diced egg, cheese, grated carrot or chopped egg to bring a different dimension to the crunchy rye crust.
Or maybe you’d like to try your hand at baking up some lovely, low-carb almond bread? Great for those following the Paleo diet or if you need some gluten free sustenance. One bonus of almond bread is that it’s actually fairly close in texture and taste to ‘real’ bread! You’ll be able to find almond flour for the mix at your nearest health food store.
Cauliflower bread comes with a similar set of nutritious credentials (low carb, keto-friendly and gluten free), plus it tastes great. Terrific when toasted, or used in a sandwich it’s a simple way to score some easy ‘health points’. Top tip; use for toasted cheese!
Avoid the post-lunch energy slump
Although it doesn't taste ‘sweet’, white bread can be very quickly digested and the starch within it converted to sugar. That ‘slump’ that we mentioned earlier is caused by a sudden rush, or spike, of blood sugar (and energy) which then quickly vanishes from our bloodstream leaving us feeling tired and unfocussed. Switching up to one or more of the alternatives we’ve listed makes a world of difference. Here are some of the benefits that you might find:
- Sugar cravings seem to drop off somewhat. Less temptation to reach for that chocolate bar!
- Your blood sugar levels are steadier, meaning better concentration and general mood.
- Your gut health improves thanks to less sugar (and more fibre) passing through it.
- Oat-based products have a higher wholegrain content meaning more essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) than you’d usually get with refined grains like those in white bread.
- You can even reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity through regularly consuming wholegrains like oats.
- Wholegrains help keep you fuller for longer thanks to the fact that they’re absorbed by our bodies that bit slower than refined grains.
So, as you can tell… there’s no need to continue ‘loafing’ around with white bread when there are so many delicious alternatives out there. Switch and ditch! You might just find you like it.