Who among us doesn’t love a bagel for breakfast? Unfortunately, bagels are an exceptionally calorie and carb-dense morning treat. Do you know how many slices of bread actually equal a single bagel? The correct answer is six.
Now that I have your attention, here are a few bagel facts that you should keep in mind before you plan your next bread-based breakfast. A modest, medium-sized plain (white bread) bagel (about 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter) contains about 300 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. But the bagels that you buy at your local bakery or bagel shop are much larger and usually weigh in at 500 to 600 calories a pop. And when you slather on a healthy dollop of regular cream cheese (at 50 calories and 5 grams of fat per tablespoon), you’ve polished off more than a third of an average 2,000-calories-a-day diet.
As is usually the case, portion size is most important. Opt for smaller bagels and stick to just a half. A single-ounce portion of a bagel (about the size of one of those mini-bagels) has 80 calories. Instead of globs of full-fat cream cheese, use the light version and cut the calories and fat by almost 50%. Better yet, choose other high-protein toppings such as peanut butter, smoked salmon, hummus or a scrambled egg.