What's The Healthiest Bread For Your Sandwich?

Here's how to decide which slice is right for you.

September 30, 2016

With countless supposedly healthy breads hitting grocery store shelves, choosing the ideal base for your avocado toast has never been so difficult. So, with the help of two of our favorite nutritionists—Jen McDaniel, RDN, founder of McDaniel Nutrition Therapy, and Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating In Color—we give you the nutritional lowdown on six popular bread varieties, so you can decide which slice is right for you.

This article was originally published by our partners at Prevention.

whole wheat bread
1/6 mama_mia/Shutterstock
Whole Wheat

Best For: Most people, as long as they're not gluten sensitive 

Nutritionist's Take: This is the healthy pick for most folks, as it contains a decent amount of both protein and fiber, but make sure you read the label—the first ingredient should be "whole wheat flour," and high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners shouldn't be near the top of the list, says Largeman-Roth.

Brand We Love: Dave's Killer Bread Organic 100% Whole Wheat

Calories: 100 
Carbs: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g

Related: 4 Foods That Burn Belly Fat

sprouted grains
2/6 Chamille White/Shutterstock
Sprouted Grain

Best For: People who may be mildly gluten-sensitive or have difficulty digesting regular wheat bread

Nutritionist's Take: The process of sprouting grains before they're ground into flour seems to minimize the presence of phytic acid, which may make it a bit easier to absorb minerals like iron and calcium from your bread, says McDaniel. They also contain a bit less gluten. But overall, the nutritional differences compared to whole wheat are minor. Be prepared, though, to pay up to $2 more per loaf.

A Brand We Love: Food for Life 7 Sprouted Grains Bread

Calories: 80
Carbs: 15 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g

gluten free bread
3/6 agcuesta/shutterstock

Best For: People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity

Nutritionist's Take: Read ingredient lists carefully. Most gluten-free breads are made from corn or rice starch and have a low fiber content, along with added fats and sugar to improve taste, says McDaniel. Look instead for one made with chickpea flour, oat flour, or whole gluten-free grains like millet and quinoa, which pack a filling fiber punch. (Beware of these 4 gluten-free ingredients that sabotage weight loss.)

A Brand We Love: Happy Campers Gluten-Free Classy Slice

Calories: 77
Carbs: 14 g
Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 2 g

Related: The 6 Healthiest Protein Powders For Your Smoothie

grain free bread
4/6 iryna melnyk/shutterstock

Best For: People with celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity, or those following a Paleo diet

Nutritionist's Take: The health profile of these breads will depend on their ingredients. Seek out those that contain at least 2 to 3 g of fiber—which is more likely to occur with grain-free breads made from almonds and flaxseeds, says McDaniel. Steer clear if you have an egg or nut allergy, advises Largeman-Roth.

A Brand We Love: Barely Bread 100% Grain-Free Sliced Loaf

Calories: 90
Carbs: 6 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 3 g

sourdough bread
5/6 Sea Wave/Shutterstock

Best For: People who may be mildly gluten-sensitive or have difficulty digesting regular wheat bread

Nutritionist's Take: Quality sourdough bread is made from a sourdough starter culture and has undergone a long fermentation process, which may help make it easier to digest, says McDaniel. A recent study also finds that sourdough and sprouted grain breads help keep blood glucose levels more stable than other types of bread. 

A Brand We Love: Rudi's Rocky Mountain Sourdough

Calories: 100
Carbs: 20 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 3 g

Related: 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar

rye bread
6/6 zadorozhnyi viktor/shutterstock

Best For: People who want a bread with an extra filling edge

Nutritionist's Take: Most conventionally sold rye bread is a bit of a nutritional dud, containing refined wheat flour and only around a gram of fiber, says McDaniel. However, if you can get your hands on a quality rye with "whole rye" near the top of the ingredient list, it may be worth it—rye contains resistant starch, type of carb that acts like fiber, filling you up and helping you feel satisfied longer, says Largeman-Roth.

A Brand We Love: Mestemacher Natural Whole Rye Bread

Calories: 120
Carbs: 25 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 4 g