When I moved to Pittsburgh, I discovered Bruegger’s Bagels, and found a little slice of heaven. I started kicking off my mornings with a sesame bagel with (light) cream cheese, and never thought to consider how many calories were in that bagel. I should have.
How Many Calories Are In A Bagel?
I’ve mentioned before that I never really started having weight problems until I started graduate school. Grad school was a time for me to spend a tremendous number of hours in a laboratory, and virtually none exercising. My sleep patterns were inconsistent at best, and my eating habits were terrible. Then I discovered bagels.
There weren’t any bagel shops in my home town growing up, and if the local grocery stores carried bagels, I had no clue. Even after 4 years of college, I had never eaten a bagel. But when I moved to Pittsburgh, I found bagel shops on nearly every street corner. Eventually I discovered bagels, and loved them. Then I discovered they’re made by boiling them in water.
I told myself they must be healthier than regular bread or biscuits. And there was a Bruegger’s right down the road. Quick and easy stop in the morning for a mid-morning snack. That started a love affair with bagels that likely contributed to my spiraling weight problem. Since then, I’ve taken the time to learn how many calories are in some of the foods I love so much, I understand how my daily stop at the bagel shop was definitely not part of a healthy diet. Add a daily dose of sesame bagel, cream cheese, and another Coke to my diet, without giving up anything else, and the calories started to add up fast.
The table below shows the number of calories in a variety of different bagels. They include bagels from different makers, both store bought and restaurant.
You can see that a typical restaurant bagel ranges from 300-360 calories. Toss in a serving of cream cheese, which most restaurants figure at 100-calories for reduced fat, or 150-calories for the straight hooch, and you’re in for about 500 calories, before you add a drink. That, in and of itself, isn’t too bad, as long as its all you eat. Of course, in my case, I was having a large soda, and eating my regular breakfast to boot. Not exactly a healthy diet.
And I was doing it every single day.
We also know that going the route of a store-bought bagel, such as the Lenders bagels, saves about one-third of the calories over a traditional restaurant bagel. This appears to be directly related to the serving size, as the typical Lenders bagels are slightly smaller than most restaurant bagels. So this trend doesn’t hold true with all store bought bagels.
Hopefully this helps out in the decision-making process. If you truly love bagels, they’re not really that bad for you. Particularly if you go for something like the Lender’s Plain Wheat bagel. At 210-calories, 6 grams of fiber, and 10-grams of protein, they include more fiber than many breakfast cereals. When you slather it with cream cheese or peanut butter though, you get a downward spiral on calories and nutrition goes out the window.