Kitchen Hack: Bread and Portion Control

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Bakery and artisan bread are simply delicious.

Boudin and Acme are two famous companies here in the Bay area whose breads are fantastic, but more grocery stores are adding fresh-baked artisan breads to their shelves. The smell of freshly-baked bread, along with its light texture and the amazing crust, makes it a memorable food.

The only downside, of course, is the calorie density.

One large slice of bread that is about 4 ounces can go down fast and carry 360 calories with it. That's the size of a small meal! That also means that it's not just the calories per ounce that you have to think about, but also how much of this bread you want to eat.

I find that artisan or bakery bread, like sourdough, raisin, or walnut with olive, is a delicious part of a meal... even if all you're serving is soup or salad. But it is tricky to cut thin slices by hand. It's also a challenge to store it to preserve freshness. Do you cut it up and store chunks in bags in the freezer? Or do you just slice it to order and keep the rest wrapped up?

Here's my solution -- I ask the store to cut it for me!

Just because they sell whole loaves does not mean that you have to take the bread home that way. Most stores even have a machine that will cut the loaf of bread for you.

One loaf that I purchased is a one pound loaf of cranberry walnut artisan bread. It's a whole grain loaf, and it's hard to cut. I estimate that I would get 9-10 slices out of it using my best bread knife. But the store’s machine cut it into 16 thin pieces. At one pound, that's about one ounce per slice. Since bread contains 90-100 calories per ounce (on average), having it pre-sliced is a great way to gain portion control and lower food cost and waste. Just use a thin slice and freeze the rest!

Now here are a few ideas for tasty and healthful bread spreads that you might not have thought of before...

  • Apple or pear sauce
  • Spiced pumpkin puree
  • Mashed berries
  • Mashed sweet potatoes

How will you make the most of this kitchen hack?

By Judy Doherty, PC II, AOS, BS

Here are some other resources that might prove helpful as you guide your audiences into healthful eating patterns...

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