I am a lover of toast, but let’s be honest, toast does not always love me.
Even if I’m opting for a gluten-free loaf, most bread on the market is still highly processed and typically contains white flours that spike blood sugar as well as binders and oils that can lead to inflammation and gut distress.
And that’s not even including the toppings, which are often void in nutrients but loaded with added sugar (especially jams and most store-bought condiments).
BUT, if you know me, you know I’m always looking for new ways to optimize the foods I love, so that I can still enjoy them AND feel good afterwards. And toast is no exception, especially now that we’re transitioning into fall — it just sounds extra cozy, nourishing and delicious.
So, if you’re looking for ways to enjoy this classic while still feeling and looking your best, then you’ve come to the right place my friend. Read on for my fave healthy toast upgrades, and do not leave without snagging the recipe for this Apple Cinnamon Crunch Toast, aka your new fave fall recipe staple.
Natural food enthusiasts like Michael Pollan maintain that most supermarket breads and other glutenous packaged foods are a product of a food processing that has deviated so far from the old world baking process, it hardly resembles the bread of our ancestors. In his Netflix documentary series, Cooked, he explains that hours of fermenting helps break down the grains used in bread, which in turn making it easier for us to digest and process.
For some people, the fermentation and/or sprouting of gluten can make a big difference in how people digest and react to it, but others (especially if Celiac) can still have an immune response. I personally have a gluten-intolerance and have a harder time digesting grains in general, but I notice I feel best when eating sourdough bread that’s fermented with gluten-free grains (such as quinoa, millet, etc.)
Try checking out your local farmers market (which is where I was able to my gluten-free sourdough) or researching local bakers using old-world fermentation techniques.
Also please be mindful of whether or not you have a certain hormonal imbalance, genetic predisposition or autoimmune disease (such as Hashimoto’s, Celiac or the AMI-1 gene) that may lead to an intolerance in grains. If you do check out Tip #4 for other options!
No matter the kind of loaf you choose, bread is still primarily made up of carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar unless paired with a stabilizer, like a quality protein.
Adding a protein to your toast ensures your blood sugar levels stay more stable, which is crucial for energy, sustained hunger levels, mental clarity and balanced hormones (among other benefits).
Try opting for pasture-raised eggs, wild smoked salmon, roast or poached chicken, sardines or tuna, hemp hearts or a nut/seed butter.
Just like protein, adding a quality fat will help to keep your blood sugar and hunger in check. Consuming fats is also necessary in order for your body to effectively digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K (found in many toast topping options), which play an important role in hormone regulation and fertility.
Not only does adding a fat come with some amazing health benefits, but it adds SO much flavor. My favorite healthy fats include a generous smear of grass-fed ghee or nut/seed butter, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or mashed avocado.
Many toast options contain little to no plants/vegetables, which are rich in powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals and micronutrients that prevent inflammation, optimize hormone function and boost gut health. In order to feel healthy, happy and thriving we need to be eating an abundance of plant foods, so it’s crucial to sneak them into our diet wherever possible.
My favorite easy way to sneak in veggies is by topping my toast with a roasted vegetable hummus, but you can also try layering it like an open faced sandwich with a variety of fresh or roasted vegetables like cucumber, onion, mushrooms or squash.
Sprouts are another preferred option, particularly broccoli sprouts, which are rich in nutrients and sulforaphane, a potent chemical that stimulates liver detoxification and aids in hormone balance.
Lastly, you could try swapping your bread for a veg instead! Toasted sweet potato is probably the most common (and delicious) option, but you could also play around with other sturdier veggies like eggplant, or make a cauliflower flatbread.
This is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to upgrade the health benefits of your toast. Spices and herbs are loaded with powerful phytochemicals that fight inflammation and reduce damage to your body’s cells, helping to keep you feeling young, vibrant, high-performing and energized.
Try topping savory toasts with fresh herbs like basil, cilantro or rosemary, or sprinkling turmeric, cardamom cinnamon and cacao on sweeter versions.
An upgraded take on a childhood classic, this toast is elevated in both flavor and nutrient-density to help you balance your hormones and feel your best (without sacrificing the foods you love).
Author: Lauren Chambers
Recipe Type: entree, dessert, snack
For The Apple Pie Compote:
For The Toast:
I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.