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Nutritious Bread
Bread forms a staple part of our diet in the UK. We all have our favourite kinds, but it's worth remembering that all bread is good for you.
Low in fat, a good source of fibre (especially the wholemeal varieties) and full of complex carbohydrates to give our bodies energy - it also contains calcium, iron and vitamins. There is a vast range that can help in a healthy diet and some breads come fortified with extra vitamins and minerals.

This section helps to explain how bread fits into a healthy lifestyle
  • Why bread is good for you
  • Bread for your life stage
Why Bread Can Be Good For You
Bread has many healthy properties. It may be a 'basic' food but it delivers an enormous range of nutritional benefits...
Energy - bread helps to fuel our bodies. To meet our energy needs, nutritionists say we should cut down on fat and eat more foods rich in complex carbohydrates, like starch, which the body is able to convert into fuel.

High fibre - bread, especially wholemeal, is a very important source of fibre: six slices a day provide nearly one-third of an adult's daily requirement. Fibre helps keep our digestive system healthy.

Protein - is essential for the growth, maintenance and repair of our bodies and unlike meat, bread is a low fat source of protein.

Low fat - bread is a low fat food. Check for varying amounts of fat and what type is used.

Low sugar - bread is low in sugar (the energy it provides is, in the main, taken from complex carbohydrates rather than refined sugars).

Calcium - essential for healthy bones, strong teeth and to help nerves and muscles work effectively. Six slices of bread a day provide one-third of your daily calcium needs.

Vitamins - the vitamins in bread (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid) help us to release energy from carbohydrates, and ensure our skin, eyes, blood and nervous system are fit and healthy.

Iron - this mineral is required for healthy blood and good circulation.
You will absorb the iron in bread more easily by eating or drinking something rich in vitamin C.
Bread Of Life

Whatever your age or the demands of your lifestyle, bread is good for you - and it has an important role to play in a healthy, balanced diet. Here are some pointers for different age groups.

  • Kids use more energy for their size than adults do because they are very active and growing rapidly.
  • The complex carbohydrates in bread provide sustained energy.
  • The calcium and protein in bread also promotes growth.
  • If appetites are small, make sure the bread or sandwiches are dainty, and using cutters for interesting shapes can make mealtimes fun - try a Milk Roll or trimming the crust as this can help you make tasty and nutritious sandwiches.
School Children
Many school kids prefer white bread to brown or wholemeal - it may have less fibre but it is still an excellent source of the carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals that growing children need.
  • White bread also contains twice as much calcium as wholemeal bread, essential for healthy bones and strong teeth - have a look at Farmhouse and Danish breads and try the good health range which includes added vitamins and minerals.
Boys, especially, can have hearty appetites and often lead active lives. Bread is a fantastic (and an inexpensive) source of energy. Teenage girls may avoid bread because they think it's fattening; however, bread is a low fat, low sugar food.
  • It's important at this age to ensure calcium is in the diet to promote bone development (and possibly reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life). Bread is a good source of both calcium and iron.
Students often have little time or money to devote to healthy eating, and little interest in nutrition.
  • However, bread can be fantastic - penny for penny, it contains more nutrients than most other food, so it's useful for tight budgets.
  • Toast and Toasties are firm favourites with students.
  • A little care over fillings, and serving bread with other relatively inexpensive foods like soup and beans, means students can have nutritious food at very little cost.
Our lives are becoming busier and for people who don't always have time to sit down to a cooked meal, a quick and delicious sandwich or roll can provide the energy you need to get through the day.
  • Always aim for a balanced diet through eating a variety of fillings, together with salad, vegetables and fruit.
  • If you're dieting or just watching your calorie intake, the many weight watching breads can really help.
Older people
The high nutritional values found in bread are beneficial to older people who may not be able to eat regular cooked meals and sometimes find it more convenient to make a sandwich or roll.
  • And as the digestive system slows with age, it's important to eat lots of fibre - so wholemeal bread is particularly recommended.

It's all about making a well-informed choice on the part bread plays in a balanced diet - whatever the demands of your lifestyle.