The Truth behind Enriched Breads
As a parent with a young child in school, you may be faced with the issue of providing healthy lunches for your child to enjoy at school. The tried and true option will always be a classic sandwich, but the bread you use to prepare your child’s daily lunch may not be as healthy as you think. We have come up with some helpful ways of telling the difference between what is really healthy and the clever marketing tactics that may confuse you to believe otherwise.
Enriched or Fortified bread is often advertised as being ideal for children because it looks, tastes and smells like classic white bread, but additional vitamins and nutrients have been added during the baking process. This process is intended to reassure parents that their children are not missing out on any of the benefits of consuming whole grain bread. However, when bread is processed in such a way, the body does not as readily absorb the added nutrients. Although you may think you are providing your children with a healthy and delicious lunch, the reality may be very different. Denmark was one of the first countries to ban many products with added vitamins and nutrients, as children can potentially consume toxic levels leading to liver and kidney damage.
When considering options for your child’s lunchtime sandwich, whole grain is really the only option. Whole grain breads are made using flour that has not had the germ or bran removed from the kernel. When this removal process is skipped, the bread does not lose any valuable fibre, vitamins or minerals. When shopping for whole grain bread, be aware that whole wheat bread may still have gone through the process in which up to 5% of the kernel can be removed under Canadian Food and Drug regulations. Although whole wheat products may be healthier than refined or white products, the act of processing degrades the kernel and prevents your child from receiving the maximum health benefits from consumption.
The Whole Grain Lifestyle
Bread is just one option for parents looking to incorporate more whole grains into their child’s diet. Brown rice, wild rice, oats, barley, corn, rye, quinoa and buckwheat are all great whole grains readily available in your supermarket. It’s one thing to be aware of these products, but getting your child to enjoy eating them is something completely different. Moderation is key when you are first introducing these new foods into your child’s diet and the gradual addition of more whole grains is a great first step. For the particularly fussy eaters, sneaking these products into their favourite foods will help to camouflage their presence.
Health Canada – Whole Grains