19/09/2013 10:47 BST | Updated 19/09/2013 10:47 BST

Bread, A Friend to Parents!

Bread. Not the monetary kind, but the food kind. It was something I grew up eating a lot of every single day. Then we start to hear about carbs being not so good for us and that they can contribute towards obesity (although information on this varies). However carbs are still a vital part of our diet according to the NHS. And as a parent with two growing children, bread is part of their varied, but everyday diet. Providing fibre, iron and a range of B vitamins, it isn't a food excluded in our house.

White bread is probably the most popular (one study suggests), but this isn't so in our house. We are granary all the way. With various cancers in the family, we make extra efforts to eat a higher fibre diet than we used too, and some bread is an excellent source of this.

With two kids, packed lunches are made every day. They can become dull and repetitive if we aren't careful thankfully, there are bagels, bread, wraps, pita and so on, so a huge variety of bread products out there to choose from. I just mix up the fillings and bread type. In the grand scheme of things, breads probably pretty low on the agenda, but in day to day life its actually quite prominent (for us anyway). With the amount of clubs the kids have just after school, bread is a quick and easy "go to" food. Not to mention it makes part of a healthy packed lunch on busy days. We also love big family meals, where bread is part of the table spread. Its a social thing as well as food.

A recent study has shown that 9% of children don't eat bread. White bread is the most common and I can see why. Budgets are tight and granary loaves tend to be more expensive in general than white bread. I grew up on plain white bread and loved it though (you still can't beat the treat of a plain Scottish loaf). Kids need energy (because lets face it, they only stop when they sleep), and bread is a really simple source of it. This study showed that 35% of 6 year olds, who didn't eat bread, didn't meet their daily energy needs. But this jumped to over 60% of children actually meeting their daily energy intake need when they did include bread in their daily diet.

The study also showed that children eating bread were not only more likely to meet their overall daily energy requirement, but also their daily intake of selenium (which is good for our immune system). So from all I have read, bread is like everything else. As part of a varied and mixed diet, it is good for you. Everything in proportion, is a message I want to give to my kids. It also means I get to still have tea and toast without feeling guilty about it!


"An exploration of bread consumption and dietary quality in children". Dr Charlotte EL Evans, Dr Jayne Hutchinson, Dr Neil Hancock. University of Leeds, School of Food Science & Nutrition.