That hearty whole-grain bagel might seem like a healthy morning choice, but today’s monster-sized orbs might just land carb lovers in the hole. While bagels do offer a small boost of iron, fiber, and protein, at up to 360 calories a pop, they’re packing roughly 100 more calories and twice the carbs of the average doughnut— frosting and all.
Slow Your Roll — The Need-To-Know
Rather than bagels, muffins, and doughnuts,healthier sources of carbohydrates include fiber-rich whole-grain cereals, vegetables, legumes, and fruits
Getting A-round — Your Action Plan
But bagels aren’t all evil when ordered strategically. Look for whole-wheat options, which pack a healthy dose of filling dietary fiber. Just don’t take all “wheat” bagels at face value. Some are actually white flour bagels dressed up with food coloring and a few whole grains mixed in. They can also pack just as many calories and added sugar (hint hint, cinnamon raisin bagels!), so if nutrition facts are available, take a closer look. And when the rounds start looking a bit bigger than normal, there’s always the option to order it “scooped” (with the bready middle removed) to reduce the carb-overload. Or split it with a friend!
And while pre-packaged varieties aren’t necessarily as fresh and tasty as the bagel shop’s, portions tend to stay on the smaller side. Mini bagels are a great option too, sneaking in at about 70 calories each.
A final word to the wise: “schmear” with caution. While traditional spreads like cream cheese, whitefish salad, and smoked salmon might make a bagel feel complete, many restaurants slather on 2 ounces or more (that’s 4 times the recommended serving size), adding on an extra dose of unnecessary fat and calories.
Updated January 2012