White bread - No nutrition for growing bodies and minds

Parentree-editors 2008-08-15 04:05:43

Bread in the form of sandwiches or toast are among the favourite foods of children everywhere. Sandwiches are also a great way of ensuring that our children eat veggies. To get the most out of this habit, skip white bread. Use whole grain bread for all your sandwiches and toast.

White bread in India, is made from maida. Maida is made by grinding the least nutritious parts of the wheat and primarily consists of starchy carbohydrates with none of the good proteins and other supplements that are so vital to growing children.

Every wheat grain consists of three parts.

  • Bran - This is the high fibre brownish outer skin of wheat
  • Endosperm - This is the part that is the largest amongst the three and is inside the bran. It also envelopes the germ.
  • Germ -  This is the innermost part of the wheat grain and is at its core. This is the part that can grow into a new wheat plant. It contains a lot of vitamins.

Maida is made by removing the bran and the germ from wheat grains and then grinding the endosperm into a fine flour. This takes the fiber (bran) and the vitamins (germ) out of the wheat flour.  Bread made out of maida only provides energy and empty calories to our children.

What is the alternative?

Often the alternative is called brown bread. This is supposed to be bread that is made from whole grains thus giving it a brown color. Be careful. Unscrupulous manufacturers make brown bread by adding food colouring to ordinary maida based bread.

What you need is whole wheat  or whole grain bread. This is bread that is made from the whole grain - bran, endosperm and germ. Find a bread that contains whole wheat flour.

If you buy from your local bakery, ask the owner what ingredients are used. In our larger cities, small bakers are starting to popup and they make real whole grain breads.

If you buy a off-the-shelf packaged bread, check the ingredients before buying.  You need to buy a loaf that is made from only whole wheat flour or other whole grains. Some manufacturers list both whole wheat flour and wheat flour as ingredients. In these cases, it is hard to tell what the proportion is between whole wheat flour and the maida.

Some bread manufacturers list Atta as an ingredient. Traditional Indian atta is healthy, as it is made by stone milling the entire wheat grain and is the same as whole wheat flour.

If you have questions, call the manufacturer's helpline and ask them. If not, find a small and reliable bakery near your home which you can trust.

Start giving children whole grain bread at an en early age and the rich nutrients in whole grain will keep them healthy.


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