Even if you haven’t bought full-fat mayo or sugary soda since blue eye shadow was in style (the first time), you may be getting duped into less-than-stellar food choices at the supermarket.
The culprit? The “health halo.” “From a distance, some foods seem like healthful choices because of the way they’re packaged or labeled,” says Janel Ovrut, MS, RD, a Boston-based dietitian. “But just because a product’s marketing gives it an aura of health doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you.” Here, 11 health-food impostors, plus smarter swaps that up the nutritional ante and still give you the flavor you crave.
1. Baked potato chips
Yes, they’re lower in fat. But they’re still high in calories and low in nutrients, with little fiber to fill you up.
Smarter sub: Popcorn. You’ll get the salt and crunch of chips plus fiber, and around 65% fewer calories per cup. Look for oil-free microwave popcorn or brands that are air-popped or popped in healthful oils such as olive or canola.
Health bonus: Heart-healthy whole grains. Adults who eat popcorn take in as much as 2 ½ times more whole grains than people who do not, according to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Try: Good Health Half Naked Popcorn, made with olive oil; one serving (4 cups) has 120 calories, 0 g sat fat, 4 g fiber.
2. Gummy fruit snacks
Although these products may contain some juice, they’re usually nothing more than candy infused with vitamins. They also contain high fructose corn syrup, which is linked with obesity, and heart-unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils.
Smarter sub: Fresh or dried fruit. Both are packed with filling fiber, which you’ll miss if you opt for gummy snacks.
Health bonus: Cancer-fighting antioxidants. Real fruit is loaded with immune-boosting nutrients that fruit-flavored snacks could never mimic. A Greek study found that women who ate the most fruits and veggies were the least likely to develop any type of cancer.
Try: Peeled Snacks Fruit Picks dried fruit; one serving (one bag) of Go-Mango-Man-Go has 120 calories, 0 g sat fat, 2 g fiber.
3. “Calorie-free” sprays
Even though some spray margarines claim to be “calorie-free,” labeling laws allow products with fewer than 5 calories per serving to claim to have zero calories. So, while one spritz may be inconsequential, the whole bottle could have as much as 900 calories.
Smarter sub: Spray-it-yourself olive oil. In this case, a bit of real fat is more healthful and flavorful—and within a reasonable calorie range if you watch your portions. Investing in an olive oil mister ensures you don’t put on too much.
Health bonus: Decreased inflammation. Olive oil lessens inflammation throughout the body, which helps your heart and lowers cancer risk, thanks to monounsaturated fatty acids. (Try one of these 10 inflammation fighting foodsat your next meal.)
Try: Misto olive oil sprayer. Find one at any kitchen store for around $10.
4. Light ice cream
Photo by Tailor Tang/Getty Images
Light ice cream can have fewer calories than regular, but there’s no guarantee. Take a common grocery-store brand of light ice cream: With 220 calories per ½ cup serving, it’s still higher in calories than the average full-fat ice cream, which has around 140 calories per serving. What’s more, some light ice creams can lack the rich taste you crave, so you’re less satisfied and may be inclined to eat more than one serving.
Smarter sub: Dairy-free ice cream. Soy and coconut milk ice creams may save you a few calories, and they have a creamy, satisfying texture.
Health bonus: Digestion-friendly fiber. Some dairy-free ice creams are made with chicory root, a natural source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that can increase healthy bacteria in the gut and help the body absorb calcium and iron.
Try: Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent. One serving (½ cup) of vanilla has 150 calories, 7 g sat fat, and 6 g fiber. It’s made with coconut milk, but studies show that the saturated fat in coconut may not raise cholesterol like the saturated fat in butter and meat.
5. Nonfat salad dressing
Fat-free salad dressings are often packed with sugar—so your dressing may be loaded with calories. Ironically, a salad without fat is not living up to its potential. “You need a little fat to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K and other nutrients,” says Katherine Tallmadge, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Smarter sub: Oil-based salad dressings. You’ll get good-for-you fats instead of the saturated fat found in some creamy dressings. Look for ingredients like olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
Health bonus: Vision protection. As many as five times more carotenoids—antioxidants that are essential for eyesight—are absorbed when salads are consumed with fat rather than with no fat.
Try: Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing; two tablespoons have 150 calories, 2.5 g sat fat, 0 g fiber.
6. Low-fat cookies
Low-fat cookies are still popular, and many dieters think they can indulge guilt-free. The problem is that most of these snacks are made with extra sugar, which means they often have just as many calories as the full-fat version, if not more.
Smarter sub: Oatmeal cookies. These are a great way to indulge a cookie craving while also getting whole grains. Not all are created equal, though: Skip those made with high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and butter in favor of varieties made with honey or cane juice, whole wheat flour, and oil.
Health bonus: Lower cholesterol. The fiber found in oatmeal keeps your body from absorbing bad cholesterol.
Try: Kashi TLC Cookies; one cookie has 130 calories, 1.5 g sat fat, 4 g fiber.
7. Diet soda
Photo by Mitch Mandel
In a 2008 study, researchers linked drinking just one diet soda a day with metabolic syndrome—the collection of symptoms including belly fat that puts you at high risk of heart disease. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s an ingredient in diet soda or the drinkers’ eating habits that caused the association. (Need more convincing? Check out how diet soda affects your body.)
Smarter sub: Flavored seltzer water. It has zero calories and is free of artificial sweeteners but provides fizz and flavor. Beware of clear sparkling beverages that look like seltzer yet contain artificial sweeteners—they’re no better than diet soda. Or try a sparkling juice; we recommend watering it down with seltzer to stretch your calories even further.
Health bonus: Hydration (without chemicals). Water is essential for nearly every body process.
Try: Your supermarket’s low-cost seltzer brand. The taste is the same as the bigger name brands.
8. 100-calorie snack packs
You might want to skip these if you’re trying to lose weight. A recent study showed that people may eat more food and calories if the portions are presented in small sizes and packages. With smaller serving sizes, study participants didn’t feel the need to regulate their intake, so they ate more than one portion before feeling satisfied.
Smarter sub: A small serving of almonds. Their healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, and protein will tide you over until your next meal.
Health bonus: Stronger bones. Almonds are an excellent source of bone-building magnesium, as well as the immune-boosting antioxidant vitamin E.
Try: Blue Diamond Natural Oven Roasted Almonds; a 1 oz serving has 160 calories, 1 g sat fat, 3 g fiber.
The label may shout fat free and they may seem like a better alternative to chips, but they’re made with refined white flour stripped of its vitamins and antioxidants. They’re also dense so they pack a ton of carb calories for a small amount that isn’t filling. Think of it this way: One 15-ounce bag contains the equivalent of 24 slices of white bread.
Smarter sub: A whole grain snack chip with seeds. Crackers made with organic grains and sunflower, sesame, and other seeds provide a satisfying crunch along with a healthy dose of fiber and protein.
Health bonus: A flat belly. Sunflower and sesame seeds make this a MUFA-rich meal if you’re following the Flat Belly Diet.
Try: Dr. Kracker Seeded Spelt Snack Chips; a 1-ounce single-serving package contains 120 calories, 4 g fiber, and 5 g protein.
10. Spinach wraps
It looks green and good for you, but spinach powder is a scant ingredient. These wraps are typically made from refined white flour, and the green hue primarily comes from food colorings (Blue No. 1 and Yellow No. 5.). Not only does this not count as a veggie serving, you won’t find the same immune-boosting vitamins A and C found in fresh spinach.
Smarter sub: 100% whole grain breads. Choose whole grain wraps, pitas, English muffins, or bread. Look for 100% whole grain on the label.
Health bonus: Reduced risk of disease. Research shows whole grains are linked to a reduced risk of nearly everything you’re trying to prevent: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Try: Rudi’s Organic Bakery Multigrain Bagels; one bagel contains 160 calories, 0 g sat fat, 3 g fiber, and 5 g protein.
11. Flavored water
Yes, it has vitamins, but at up to 200 calories per bottle, just one of these a day can cause a 20-pound weight gain in a year’s time if the calories aren’t burned off.
Smarter Sub: Calorie-free flavored waters. Instead of added sugar and artificial sweeteners, a few bottled brands contain just a hint of natural flavoring to entertain your tastebuds.
Health Bonus: Hydration. Water is the most important nutrient in your body, regulating temperature and filtering out waste.
Try: Ayala’s, Hint, Metromint, or Wateroos; each bottle is free of sugar, sweeteners, preservatives and—best of all—calories.
MORE: 10 Slimming Sassy Water Recipes
- Are Subway’s New Wraps Healthier Than the Subs?
- How to choose wraps
- What’s available
- How to choose
- Are Sandwich Wraps Healthier Than a Regular Sandwich?
- Bread Versus Wrap
- Why a Wrap is Considered Bread
- Why Wraps are Not Considered Bread
- Ingredients of the Wrap
- How to Make a Healthy Wrap
- Wrap vs. bread: Which one’s healthier?
Are Subway’s New Wraps Healthier Than the Subs?
If you usually opt for building your own Subway sandwich come lunchtime, you’re going to love the chain’s new option. Subway recently rolled out its Signature Wraps Collection, featuring savory wraps in three different flavors: spinach, habanero, and tomato basil.
But how does the hoagie shop’s new offering stack up against its original loaves of bread? According to Subway’s nutrition, each wrap contains 300 calories, eight grams of fat (three and a half grams saturated), 690–780 milligrams sodium, 48–50 grams of carbs (0 to two grams of fiber, one gram of sugar), and eight to nine grams of protein.
For comparison, a six-inch portion of the 9-grain wheat bread contains 210 calories, two grams of fat (a half gram saturated), 270 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbs (four grams of fiber, five grams of sugar), and eight grams of protein.
So if you’re opting for the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki on a tomato basil wrap, you’re looking at 180 more calories, eight more grams of fat, 860 milligrams more sodium, and 13 grams more carbs than if you were to order it on the six-inch 9-grain wheat bread. And you’re only getting more protein in the wrap because Subway packs its tortilla options with double the meat of an average six-inch sub.
The bottom line: If you’re watching your waistline, going for the classic bread ‘wich is the better option — as the fresh loaves (namely, the 9-grain wheat, 9-grain honey oat, rye, multigrain flatbread, and harvest) offer more fiber than the Subway wraps as well as less fat and sodium. To keep the muscle-building protein content high, opt for ordering double meat on your six-inch sub. For more go-to picks that won’t show up on your love handles, go for these diet expert-approved orders at Subway.
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How to choose wraps
The wraps we see today are not a new concept; unleavened bread has been around since ancient times. We take a look at the options.
Note: It’s not just the wrap that’s important — it’s what we put in it! Load it up with lots of vegetables and some lean protein to create a healthy meal.
Wraps are a fantastic substitute for a sandwich — in fact, you can often get more filling (especially vegetables) into a wrap than in a sandwich, making them a healthy alternative. Wraps come in many other guises: tortillas, Lebanese bread, mountain bread and roti. Essentially, a wrap is a flat bread that can be rolled. With all this variety available, what should we be looking out for when buying wraps?
Even though wraps look thin, they may contain more energy (kilojoules) than you think. Two sandwich slices of grainy or wholemeal bread provide around 540—690kJ. The wraps we looked at varied from 285kJ for a Mountain Bread Rice Wrap to 964kJ for a Pams Jumbo Tortilla. So your choice of wrap will depend on your needs. If you’re watching your weight, a lower-energy wrap like any of the Mountain Bread wraps would be a good option. But if you need more energy or need to gain weight, a larger wrap such as the Jabal Lebanese Bread Wheatmeal, at 896kJ, would be suitable.
Fibre is important for our bowel health so we need to include it where we can. While some wraps are lower in fibre than others, it’s easy to boost the content by adding high-fibre fillings. Spinach, carrot, avocado, tomato, pumpkin, capsicum, hummus, beans, nuts and seeds are all good high-fibre options. The fibre content also depends on the size of the wrap. We recommend choosing wraps with more than 2.5g fibre per wrap.
The sodium content of wraps is something else we need to watch. While the sodium content of those we sampled wasn’t too high, it did depend on the size of the wrap. The range was from 12mg in Pams Naan Garlic Flat Breads to 427mg in Old El Paso Jumbo Tortillas. We recommend choosing wraps with no more than 325mg sodium per wrap.
How to choose
Use the criteria below to compare wraps.
Q: Are wraps healthier than sandwiches?
A: That depends. Some tortilla wraps contain more calories and carbohydrates than two slices of bread. For example, if you are making lunch at home, a typical 10-inch tortilla contains about 170 to 200 calories. Two slices of bread could contain anywhere between 70 and 280 calories, depending on which type of bread you use.
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Many delis and restaurants use tortilla wraps that are around 300 calories — just for the wrap itself! And once you add in the calories from the fillings and condiments (not to mention that side of chips), you may end up with a very high-calorie lunch.
The best way to decide on a sandwich versus a wrap? Read the nutrition facts label. If you’re eating out, ask for nutrition facts before ordering, or look them up online. Compare your options, focusing on Serving Size, Calories, Total Carbohydrates, and Total Fiber.
Finally, choose 100% whole grain whenever available. Although spinach wraps may look and sound healthier, they contain only trace amounts of spinach and are typically made with refined grains — meaning no calorie or carb savings, and no added fiber. Instead, when choosing a sandwich or a wrap, load it up with real, fresh vegetables for real added health benefits.
— Dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD
When lunchtime rolls around, many turn to cafe-made salad and protein wraps. Bundled up in their cling wrap coverings, they seem like healthier, lighter options than a sandwich – but are they?
Not always, says Melanie McGrice, accredited practising dietitian and author of the The Live Well Plan.
“Wraps aren’t necessarily healthier than sliced bread, but they do save you kilojoules because usually you need two slices of bread for a sandwich, whereas you only need one wrap – so you can consume half the kilojoules,” McGrice tells ninemsn Coach.
“Wraps are also often lower in sodium, which is good, but also lower in fibre.”
Kilojoules are the key
While a standard wrap from a cafe is probably a smaller hit of kilojoules than two slices of thick-cut bread, it’s a different story when it comes to wraps purchased the supermarket.
For example, if you were to eat a “healthy style” wrap like Mission’s Wholegrain Wraps, you would consume 944 kilojoules (226 calories), comprising 33g of carbohydrates and 6.7g of fat.
To make a fair comparison, if you took a wholemeal bread loaf with roughly the same market positioning – like Helga’s Wholemeal Grain Bread – then two slices would set you back 884 kilojoules, comprising 37.8g of carbohydrates and just 2.4g of fat.
While this is an analysis of just two brands, overall, pre-packaged wraps are generally slightly higher in kilojoules and total fat than bread, but lower in carbohydrates overall.
Susie Burrell, accredited practising dietitian and founder of Shape Me, says some wraps contain a higher kilojoule content because of the flour used to make them.
“Sure, there are some lighter options in which a single wrap is equivalent to less than a slice of regular bread in terms of both carbohydrate content and calorie load, but these options are rarer,” says Burrell.
“They are much more likely to fall apart when you make a decent sandwich out of them and they cannot be guaranteed to taste as good as a hearty sandwich would.”
RELATED: How to spice up your boring healthy lunches
Wraps are more likely to be highly refined
Putting the calorie count aside, different foods have different effects on our energy levels – something to consider at lunchtime if you need your brain and body to keep firing until 5pm knockoff.
The way this is measured is using the glycaemic index (or GI rating). The higher a food’s rating, the higher the energy peak that you receive, but the shorter time it lasts. This is why high-GI sugary lollies give you an instant energy hit, followed by a crash.
Burrell argues that many commercial wraps may not leave you feeling clear-headed and focused well into the afternoon.
“Many of the commonly purchased wraps have a high GI the nature of processing means that the flour used to make wraps is heavily refined,” says Burrell.
“This leaves a bread product that is digested quickly and results in a subsequent quick rise in blood glucose levels. Long term, this is a big issue for insulin levels and weight control.”
RELATED: Supercharge your energy levels with these 10 low GI foods
Weigh up quality and quantity
So now you’re stuck at the counter, still trying to figure out whether you should opt for a potentially smaller but also potentially more refined wrap, or simply bite the bullet and have a classic sandwich.
McGrice says that if the rest of your diet is fairly on-point, the choice is pretty much negligible – but the wrap may still come out slightly ahead.
“If you’re comparing a wrap to an open sandwich with only one slice of bread, then no, it doesn’t make any difference, but if your sandwiches have two slices of bread, then you may be saving kilojoules,” says McGrice.
“If you’re buying wraps at the supermarket, then compare the nutrition panels of a couple of brands and look for the one which has the highest amounts of fibre.”
For both McGrice and Burrell, the bottom line is that just because your favourite sandwich fillings come in a wrap, this doesn’t automatically make it a healthier option.
But provided you’re aware of what you’re eating, both low-cal wraps and slices of bread are excellent (and convenient ways) of eating a filling, nutritious lunch.
RELATED: How to pick the best midday feasts for weight loss or muscle gain
By Rachael Derr, RD
If you’re a fan of Mexican food and tune in to our regular tips on how to choose healthier Mexican food at restaurants, you may notice a theme when it comes to tortillas. We just about always recommend choosing corn tortillas over flour tortillas – but why?
Corn tortillas contain corn, which is considered a whole grain. By choosing a corn tortilla over a white flour tortilla, you are consuming whole grains. Whole grains are generally higher in fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals that make them a healthier choice than refined grains. Corn tortillas are also, typically, much smaller than flour tortillas. Because of this, corn tortillas are usually lower in calories than their white flour tortilla counterparts. This can be especially helpful if weight loss is your goal.
“But flour tortillas are better for burritos!” you may be thinking.
We understand that it can be tough to fit all those burrito fixings into a little corn tortilla! If the restaurant offers a whole grain or whole wheat flour tortilla option – this can also be a great choice. You will be getting whole grains from these just like the corn tortillas, keeping you fuller for longer. When whole wheat flour isn’t an option, request “protein-style” with a lettuce wrap or opt for a taco or “bowl” instead.
Are Sandwich Wraps Healthier Than a Regular Sandwich?
There’s nothing better than that happy feeling of ordering a dish you feel is both healthy and delicious-it’s like you can almost feel the angels singing for your virtuous decision. But sometimes that health halo leads us to buy things that aren’t actually as healthy as we think. Take, for example, humble sandwich wraps. Without those hunks of bread, your lunch is basically a salad (wrapped in a different tasty carb blanket) so it’s totally good for you, right? It’s definitely better than having a regular sandwich or a slice of pizza.
Actually, though, it’s not: Wraps, fillings included, contain at least 267 calories, but up to 1,000-as many as a personal 12-inch pizza or super-size fast food meal, according to a recent survey by food safety organization SafeFood. Researchers checked out the nutritional content of 240 takeout sandwich wraps from over 80 stores. They found that despite the fact that the average tortilla wrap at 149 calories (sans fillings) had similar calorie content to two regular slices of white bread at 158 calories, one in three people still say they believe wraps are a healthier choice. (Gonna go for the bread? Try one of these 10 Tasty Sandwiches Under 300 Calories.)
Futhermore, because people think they’re saving calories on the outside, people often load up on condiments and toppings loaded with fat, salt, and sugar moreso than they would in a sandwich.
Well what if you opt for the spinach or sun-dried tomato wrap? Even “healthy” whole-grain or vegetable-flavored options are still highly caloric and white flour is often still the main ingredient.
But if you forget the health halo and focus on picking healthy toppings you can still make it a healthy meal, the researchers said. They advise going for lean meats, lots of veggies and low-calorie spreads. And to save about 200 calories while getting an extra serving of vegetables, swap the tortilla for a lettuce wrap. (Learn how in Wrap Sheet: Your Guide to Satisfying Green Wraps.) That should put a little shine back in your halo!
- By Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Wraps have become a popular lunch product in the U.S. The term ‘wrap’ is used to describe the outer shell and finished product of a food item.
They are typically made of flour and come in a few different varieties. Some of them have a flavor or color added to them like spinach or tomato, and they are usually available in either whole wheat or gluten-free options. While these products are similar to sandwiches, many wonder if a wrap is considered bread?
Bread Versus Wrap
Both a slice of bread and a wrap hold the same nutritional values. They contain many of the same ingredients except a loaf of bread has a leavening agent called yeast and a wrap is flat.
Checking the nutrition facts label on both of these items, you will notice they show similar nutritional benefits:
One large whole-wheat wrap contains:
6 grams of protein
5 grams of fat
450 mg of sodium
5 grams of fiber
Two slices of whole-wheat bread contain:
12 grams of protein
4 grams of fat
240 mg of sodium
6 grams of fiber
Why a Wrap is Considered Bread
Wraps are made round and contain carbohydrates that will vary from one type to another. The wrap bread does not contain yeast, which is one argument against it being classified as a bread. But the lack of yeast is what makes it appealing to some as a bread. The tortilla wrap has been deemed a bread by many due to it being made from whole grain much the same way as a loaf of bread is made.
Another argument for a wrap being considered a bread is its history. Ancient bread, which is almost identical to the current-day wrap, was prepared by the Spanish people. To this day, these people consider the wrap-like product a bread. With a background going back so far into history has some people fully believing the wrap is bread.
Why Wraps are Not Considered Bread
Many claim the defining ingredient in bread is the leavening agent. Wraps do not contain this ingredient; therefore, it cannot be bread.
Just because they have the same remaining ingredients does not qualify a wrap as bread any more than pasta can be considered bread.
Pasta products too have the same ingredients as bread without the leavening agent. For this reason, it is the belief by some that wraps are wraps, bread is bread, and pasta is pasta.
It appears through the different arguments that knowing if a wrap is considered a bread comes down to personal belief. There are arguments on both sides, which make complete sense; it is just a matter of opinion whether or not you feel the leavening agent, yeast, defines a difference between the two products.
Some people can make wraps with all sorts of ingredients but not with flour.
Ingredients of the Wrap
An area to look at on the wrap package is the ingredient list. Wraps without hydrogenated oil or other trans-fat will be your healthier choice.
The whole-wheat variety tends to contain a more nutritional value than a plain flour wrap. You want to look for wraps which are 100% stone-ground wheat, 100% whole wheat, or just whole wheat.
You are not going to receive any additional nutritional benefits from the wraps made with a colorful tomato or spinach. These wraps are made with a negligible amount of spinach powder or tomato powder and are just intended to give you a hint of a different flavor.
These wraps have only a trace of spinach or tomato and are typically made from refined grains. You will not save on calories or carbs, and they do not have additional fiber. Load a wrap with fresh spinach and tomatoes if you are looking for real nutrition and flavor.
How to Make a Healthy Wrap
Many people are mistaken with the idea of ordering a wrap versus a sandwich as being a healthier choice because they do not have large slices of bread holding their food inside.
This idea can lead one down the wrong nutritional path. The wrap is definitely more beneficial to your health than a slice of pizza or a regular sandwich, but you can find yourself with an unhealthy wrap just as easily as with a bad sandwich choice.
It is not the wrap itself, which is unhealthy; it is the fillings inside. A survey done on comparing wrap-style sandwiches to other lunchtime favorites showed a wrap contained on average over 250 calories, and run as high as 1,000. These calorie counts would be equal to having a twelve-inch pizza, or a super-sized fast food meal.
During the study, researchers checked more than 200 takeout wrap sandwiches from more than 80 stores. What they discovered were the wraps themselves contained only about 140 calories, which is similar to two slices of white bread at 150 calories.
Even with these numbers, people are convinced the wrap makes a healthier choice than bread for a lunch sandwich. Results from this study do reflect the truth that it is not the wrap or the bread; it is what you put inside.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the nutritional value of the wrap will depend on whether it is made from whole grains and healthy fats. Instead of using wraps made purely from enriched flour, look for ones made from whole grain options such as whole wheat or corn.
Just as a slice of bread will give you more fiber and the necessary nutrient package, a wrap can also provide all the same health-protecting plant compounds.
If you are looking to create a healthier wrap, start by not loading them with high-calorie fillings. Packing them with leafy greens and colorful vegetables will make a healthier meal than if packed with oil, mayo, or cheeses.
If you are ordering one from a restaurant, choose one made with grilled chicken instead of tuna. You can also reduce the fat in your wrap by asking for half or no cheese. Swapping out the french fries for a green leafy salad will complement the healthier wrap.
Wrap vs. bread: Which one’s healthier?
Unless you’ve been hibernating for the past few decades, you’re sure to know the flack that carbs cop. And with every other weight-loss and wellness guru chipping in their own two cents, it’s easy to see how so many people are confused about carbs.
But let me tell you: there’s no need to be scared of carbs. Instead, I think you should make carbs your friend. How? Include the right types in balanced portions throughout the day. Simple.
To get you up to speed, the right types of carbs are usually those that are low GI, like brown, grainy bread. But there’s a plethora of options in the bakery section, and it can be hard to choose the best one. So, let’s take a look at two common staples: bread and wraps.
You probably know the types of bread I’d say are ‘less healthy’ (read: the white stuff). Instead, I think it’s important to have a good quality, wholegrain loaf (that’s a brown bread with visible grains) as your go-to. That’ll provide you with much more fibre and micronutrients than its white counterpart.
The nutritionals per slice of a wholegrain bread look something like this: around 440kJ (roughly 100 calories), 0.4g saturated fat, 12.8g carbohydrates, 2.7g fibre and 160mg sodium.
How to make a cauliflower pizza base
How to make a cauliflower pizza base
As with bread, the same rule still applies: look for wholegrains.
By comparison, one plain wrap with grains will have around 900kJ (about 220 calories), 1.7g saturated fat, 33.9g carbs, 2.1g fibre and 610mg sodium.
In terms of energy content, I tend to recommend people consider one wrap as two slices of bread, but that’s not the only thing to pay attention to.
In general, wraps usually have less fibre and more carbs, saturated fat and sodium than bread – but they can still be a healthy option for lunch.
I think it’s more important to take into account what goes with your bread or wrap. You see, if you’re loading your lunch with lean protein and lots of veggies, either option is a good choice. On the other hand, if your wrap or sandwich is filled with processed meats or deep-fried fillings, that’s something more crucial to work on.
And there you have it! My quick comparison of wraps vs. bread.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.
For more like this, is bread or pasta healthier? And fish oil or flaxseed: which one is better for you?