How many calories are there in a bagel with cream cheese?
Bagels vary in size, which means that the number of calories that they contain also varies. On average, a bagel that is 3 inches in diameter has 146 calories, whereas one that is 4.5 inches in diameter has 283 calories.
The type and amount of cream cheese used also largely affects calorie numbers. A tablespoon of ordinary cream cheese has 50 calories and most people tend to eat roughly two tablespoons with each bagel.
This means that whilst the actual number can vary greatly, a bagel with cream cheese will on average have around 300 calories. The majority of these calories will be from carbohydrates, with a much smaller amount coming from protein and fat.
Are bagels with cream cheese healthy?
There is no denying that a nicely toasted bagel with a fresh spread of cream cheese is an extremely delicious way to start off the morning. Because of this, bagels are a very popular breakfast option.
They also provide the body with decent amounts of vital nutrients, including some of the B vitamins, iron, manganese and selenium.
It is important to keep in mind however that bagels made from ordinary flour (aka white bagels) are not particularly filling. In this study, thirty women aged 25 to 60 consumed either an egg or bagel breakfast. The results showed that the egg breakfast resulted in a greater feeling of fullness and lead to a decrease in short term food intake.
The primary reason for this is because eggs contain large amounts of protein, whereas bagels do not. Protein satisfies one’s appetite much more than fat or carbohydrates do. For this reason, it is easy to consume more calories from a bagel based breakfast, in an attempt to feel full.
There are a number of ways that you can make a bagel based breakfast both filling and healthier.
Add in some protein. For example, you could spread some scrambled eggs or salmon on top of the cream cheese in the bagel. These will help to make the bagel much more filling, which in turn will reduce your overall food intake and also keep you feeling satisfied for longer.
Add in some fruits and vegetables. An excellent example is thin avocado slices. Despite their high fat content (which is the healthy kind by the way), avocados are very nutritious foods because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Their high fiber content also makes them incredibly filling.
You can also spread half of your bagel with cream cheese and the other half with a nut butter, like almond butter. The latter is high in protein & fiber.
Opt for whole wheat bagels. White bagels are made from refined white flour, which is low in fiber and lacks many vital nutrients. For this reason, whole wheat bagels are generally the better option; the flour that they are made from has been processed much less.
Should you eat bagels with cream cheese when trying to lose weight?
Numerous studies have shown that reducing carbohydrate intake is an efficient strategy to use for weight management. Ordinary bagels are rich in processed carbohydrates, which means that they are not the best breakfast option when watching your waistline.
This however does not mean that you need to avoid them entirely. If they fit within your caloric needs (you can use the tool below to calculate this) and you feel that they satisfy your appetite without you having to overindulge, then they are perfectly fine to eat every now and again.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
If however you feel that you need to eat 600+ calories worth of bagels and cream cheese just so that you don’t feel hungry soon after, it would be recommended that you eat them only occasionally and opt for another breakfast option for the most part.
For example, two large boiled eggs, a cup of oatmeal and a medium size banana have roughly 550 calories in total. Eating these three foods for breakfast will keep you feeling satisfied until lunch time and the high protein & fiber content may help you to eat less food later on in the day.
If you opt for a bagel based breakfast, your best option would be to prepare your own at home. Most packaged food products are required by law to include nutritional information, which is great because you can control portion sizes and know just how many calories you are consuming.
Another important benefit of preparing your own breakfast and eating it at home is that you are able to be more mindful about the food that you are eating.
Grabbing a bagel from a coffee shop and eating it on your commute to work will most likely mean that you don’t pay attention to the food that you are eating. Studies have shown that mindful eating is an effective method to reduce food intake and assist weight loss.
Bagels with cream cheese are not too high in calories, but on their own they do lack protein and fiber. Your best option would be to enjoy them together with other nutrient dense foods, and do so in moderation.