Affordability of Grain Foods for Family Meals Month

Inflation and rising gas prices have done a number on grocery prices, but one pantry staple that remains inexpensive – especially given the nutrition you reap from it – is the humble sandwich bread loaf. A quick check of local supermarket prices found that most sandwich bread loaves are less than a quarter per ounce (and each slice of bread is considered an ounce-equivalent, according to MyPlate).  

There’s a reason we say: “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Grains and grain-based foods as a category are the largest source of dietary fiber – a nutrient that 95% of Americans are lacking. Grains also deliver almost 1/3 (31%) of Americans’ daily intake of:

  • folate – a B vitamin that’s fortified in enriched grain products 
  • iron – a mineral that helps blood cells carry oxygen 
  • thiamin – a B vitamin that helps convert food to energy to fuel cells of the body. 

Looking at breads, rolls, and tortillas specifically, those foods are responsible for approximately: 

  • 12-13% of total dietary fiber 
  • 15-16% of folate 
  • 12-13% of iron 
  • 8-9% of calcium, and  
  • 7-8% of magnesium per day 

…all of which are identified as shortfall nutrients in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Not to mention – sandwiches are fun! Keeping a loaf of bread in the pantry is like having a blank canvas on which to make a delicious creation. You can keep costs low by shopping the sales and buying in-season veggies, using canned tuna or chicken, or even mashing up canned chickpeas to make your own hummus.  

So next time you are at the store, make sure to pick up some grain-based foods – your body and wallet will thank you!

The above information was contributed by Elana Natker, MS, RD.