White flour is bad. There, I said it. Go have your cry then come back when you're ready.
Here's the thing about white flour. White flour is what's left after stripping virtually all the nutrients and fiber out of a whole grain of wheat. Then companies "enrich" the flour with synthetic ingredients to make it "healthier". Your body basically turns those white carbs right into sugar. Not good, people. Not good at all.
Simply switching to healthier flours when you bake (and in the bread/grain products you buy) will make a huge impact in the healthiness of your food! Imagine eating carbs and not feeling guilty about it!! Yay!
Which flours should you use? I'm so glad you asked! Here are the ones I use the most.
Whole Wheat, for obvious reasons. When using whole wheat flour in baking though, look for a whole wheat pastry flour. It is lighter than regular whole wheat flour, but still maintains the goodness of the whole wheat. If I substitute whole wheat flour when baking I usually add more liquid than the recipe calls for so it doesn't turn out too dry.
Half and Half - My husband is not a fan of wheat. He refuses to eat wheat pasta and I just got him to accept the fact that I'm not buying white bread anymore. Once in awhile I will make him a loaf of white bread though, just because I love him. So sometimes, as a compromise, I will use half white flour, half whole wheat flour. Or half regular pasta and half whole wheat or multi-grain pasta. Because I'm nice like that.
-Spelt Flour, an all natural grain that is high in protein. This flour makes great pie crusts and is an all around good for you multi-grain flour.
Other Multi-Grain Flours - Buckwheat, Oat Flour and Brown Rice Flour. Note: these flours are gluten free, which means that you have to use special recipes to use them in baking. More about non-wheat flours here.
White Flour - If you are going to buy white flour, be sure to buy it unbleached and unenriched. It's the lesser of two evils as far as white flour goes.
This one small step can increase your family's fiber intake by so much. You'll feel better and your body will love you for it!