While only a few recipes on this blog will call for bread crumbs, this ingredient deserves special attention. More specifically, have you ever read the detailed ingredients that make up your store bought bread crumbs? Well, I hadn't until last year and when I did, I was taken aback to discover that the second main ingredient in my bread crumbs was high fructose corn syrup. In bread crumbs??!! For those of you not familiar with this ingredient, it is a corn derived sweetener and is subject to much debate. Whether or not you believe that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you, hopefully we can all agree that it is wise to eat sweeteners in moderation. Unfortunately, this becomes difficult when it is unnecessarily added to our store bought foods.
Following the above discovery, I set out to find bread crumbs that did not contain what I call "hidden sweeteners". This is when I learned that many store bought breads and bread crumbs contain additives that we wouldn't include if baking these ourselves. My general philosophy is, if an ingredient doesn't belong in the homemade version, it doesn't belong in the store bought one either. This leaves us with two options: make your own bread crumbs from scratch or purchase the healthiest store bought brand possible. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of options on the market and the time it takes to read nutritional labels? I may have found a solution! A site and application I recently discovered called Fooducate. The website allows you to search food products and assigns each brand a grade (A through F) based on ingredients and nutritional value. Comparing their bread crumb ratings against my own product assessments, their rating system appears accurate. In addition to the website, the mobile application (which is free) allows you to scan product barcodes and view corresponding ratings while at the store. Ultimately, nothing can replace educating yourself about ingredients and reading nutritional labels. Thankfully Fooducate.com may help with the process.