Bagels have been a favorite food at breakfast and as snacks. But they earned a bad reputation due to their high carbs content and relation with high blood sugar. 

Are these baked foods really unhealthy? How can one make them healthy?

What are bagels?

Bagels are rolled breads made from yeasted wheat dough. They originated in Poland amongst the Jew community. And they are shaped by hand into a ring form. Often, they are first boiled in water for a short time before the baking process. 

The baked food is chewy and dense inside. It is brown and crisp on the outside. It is a common practice to add poppy or sesame seeds to the crust. These are common in North America, Poland and other regions where Jews are residing.

Bagels (Source: Live and Lemons)

The hole in the center allows even baking and it helps to gather them for handling, display or transportation. These are favorite st breakfast, as snacks and even with lunch and dinner. 

Nutritional facts

The nutritive value varies depending on the ingredients and size of these baked food. Most commonly, they are made from wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. Some have added sugars, herbs, spices, and also dried fruits. 

A medium sized bagel with weight of 105 grand has 289 calories. It has 11 grams of protein and 2 grams of fats. The carbs content is 56 grams with 3 grams of dietary fiber. 

Besides, it has minerals and vitamins. It contains thiamine, zinc, copper, iron, calcium and manganese. In the USA, they enrich the flour with B complex vitamins and iron.

Bagels (Source: Sally’s baking addiction)

Due to their high carbs content and high calories, they are not ideally a healthy choice. But they are most unhealthy if consumed in excess and daily or frequently. 

How to use them optimally?

Bagel is a comfort food. People like it and are upset to give it up. But one can wisely consume them by adhering to the following points.

1. Opt for whole grain varieties

Most of the bagels are made from refined flour. Replacing the refined flour which is less nutritious with whole wheat or whole grain flour makes it healthier. The whole wheat flour has more minerals and vitamins and also more protein. Thus, it can prevent constipation, control blood sugar, and improve gut health. 

2. Portion control

Anything in excess is bad. The same applies to bagel. Do not have it in excess or daily. Have them in moderation. Opt for smaller sized bagel or if the bagel is larger in size, eat only half of it. Save the remaining half for next breakfast time. Or share it with someone.

Bagels topped with different foods (Source: Weelicious)

So e brands have miniature bagels or bevel thins. Purchase those if you are worried about calories and weight and even otherwise to control portion size for health reasons. 

3. Choose low salt ones

Check the labels and see the salt content in them. Choose the ones that have lesser quantities of salt in them. 

Also, read The UK government and its salt content limits for breads: is it effective?

4. Choose toppings wisely

Many people like them topped with cream cheese, jam or butter. These have high calories and high sugars. Hence go for hummus, nut butters or avocados for toppings. These have healthy fats in them.