Bagels are a popular type of bread that is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner depending on what you serve with it. While many people make bagels a part of their regular diet, they’re sometimes not the most nutritious choice you can make. Luckily, there are many types of bagels with different ways to increase their nutritional value and make them a healthier part of your meal.
About Types of Bagels Nutritional Value
The nutritional value of bagels varies wildly from bagel to bagel. Some savory bagels such as cheese-based bagels tend to be higher in fat than plain bagels. On the other hand, sweet bagels like cinnamon raisin or blueberry bagels will have more sugar in them.
Types of Bagels Nutrition Facts
Bagels generally get a bad rap for nutrition. Their unhealthy reputation is generally because they are made of simple carbohydrates and can feature a variety of high-fat toppings like cream cheese. It doesn’t help that bagels are typically associated with decadent buffet-style meals like brunch.
A medium-sized plain bagel features the following nutritional values:
- 9 grams of protein
- 1 gram of fat
- 45 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of sugar
- 229 calories
While a plain bagel by itself isn’t that high in fat, it is high in calories and carbohydrates. Bagels are also paired with high-fat toppings that jump up their fat and calorie content significantly.
Why Bagels Are not the Healthiest Choice
Here are a few of the nutritional downfalls of types of bagels:
- Heavy in calories: Plain bagels are over 220 calories a piece, and this calorie count only goes up if other ingredients are included in the bagels like cheese or fruit. This makes them a heavy addition to any meal. Toppings add even more calories. The same goes for the tendency of many people to eat more than one bagel at once.
- High-fat toppings: While there are several healthy ingredients for topping bagels, the most popular toppings are spreadable dairy products such as cream cheese and salted butter. Bagels can also include high-fat mix-ins like grated cheese or chocolate chips.
- Simple carbohydrates: If bagels are made from plain white flour, this can leave them nutritionally barren since this type of flour doesn’t have much nutritional value on its own. Simple carbohydrates are also associated with increased appetite and poor blood sugar regulation.
There’s no doubt that bagels aren’t exactly a diet food. However, not all bagels have to be unhealthy.
In fact, there are several varieties of bagels that feature health benefits based on their secondary ingredients.
Health Benefits of Certain Types of Bagels
Not all bagels have to be nutritionally deficient. One of the biggest advantages of bagels is that they come in so many different types. But some bagels are much more nutritious than others.
Here are a few health benefits associated with certain varieties of bagels:
- Antioxidants: Bagels that feature fruit like blueberries are packed full of the antioxidants associated with that fruit. The blueberries in blueberry bagels can help contribute to the prevention of degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
- Vitamins: Even though the white flour in plain bagels isn’t that healthy for you, the other additions to bagels such as eggs, fruit, cheese, and spices can add much-needed vitamins and minerals to your diet. This is especially true if the bagel is topped with healthy ingredients like salmon or sliced avocado.
- Fiber: White bagels aren’t the best source of fiber. However, making whole wheat bagels instead can be a much better option. Dietary fiber is important for maintaining your digestive system and helping weight loss by making you feel full on smaller amounts of food.
Just because bagels are naturally a little unhealthy for you doesn’t mean they have to be a “bad” snack for health or weight loss. There are ways you can accentuate the healthy aspects of bagels while downplaying the unhealthy parts.
How to Get the Most Nutritional Value of Bagels
Even though bagels aren’t the most nutritious or healthy meal you can make, there are ways you can get the most nutritional value out of your bagels by adjusting how you make them.
These are some ways you can ramp up the nutritional value of your bagels without losing out on any flavor:
- Eat half a bagel. One of the biggest nutritional gripes of bagels is that they have a high amount of calories. This is especially true with the large oversized bagels that are usually seen in pastry shops and stores. Use a medium bagel and cut it in half, making up the difference with healthy toppings.
- Eat whole-grain bagels. Whole wheat bagels are much more nutritionally sound than white bagels. Pairing wheat bagels with a healthy topping is a better option than eating a plain bagel with cream cheese alone.
- Change up your spread. A lot of bagels’ bad reputation comes from spreads. Some spreads like cream cheese and butter that can pack on the pounds over time. Swap these out for a more nutritious spread like mashed avocados, nut butter, or smoked salmon.
- Top your bagel with vegetables. A little cream cheese won’t kill you, but it’s a good idea to add in some fresh veggies like arugula or tomatoes to your bagel spread. That way you can get some extra nutrition. This also helps reduce the amount of pure cream cheese you’re spreading on your bagel, too.
Bagels are a little heavy for breakfast or lunch if you add ingredients like chocolate chips or cream cheese. But they don’t have to be. Lighten them up with healthier ingredients.
Or you could go with a wheat bagel and be confident in having a bagel as part of your well-balanced diet.
15 Different Types of Bagels
1. Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
For a sweet bagel variety that is rich, chewy, and full of healthy ingredients like raisins and cinnamon, try a cinnamon and raisin bagel. These bagels are a good option if you want a sweeter variety instead of bagels that are more savory.
But keep an eye on the amount of butter you add to cinnamon raisin bagels if you want to keep them healthy. Learn how to make your own at Sally’s Baking Addiction.
2. Onion Bagels
For a savory, warm flavor in your bagel instead of a sugary flavor, onion bagels are a good match. Onion bagels are made with chopped or dehydrated onions. They can be used as a savory base for sandwiches at breakfast or lunch.
It’s a good idea to rehydrate the dehydrated onions you use to top your bagels before baking them. Doing so will prevent the minced onions from burning. Try this recipe over at Cinnamon Schtick.
3. Asiago Cheese Bagels
There’s nothing better than hot, fresh bread paired with the salty smooth flavor of cheese, and these asiago bagels at Pastry Chef Online are no exception to the rule. Incorporating Asiago cheese in both the bagel mix and a crunchy baked topping, an asiago bagel is so satisfying it doesn’t even need any other toppings.
If you do want to add toppings, try going with microgreens or other fresh ingredients to lighten things up.
4. Chocolate Chip Bagels
Chocolate chip bagels like these at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings aren’t the healthiest options when it comes to choosing your morning bagel. However, there are a few ways you can help dress these bagels up to make them a more nutritious choice.
Try topping these bagels with nut butter, chopped nuts, or fresh strawberries to add vitamins and minerals to the mix.
5. Blueberry Bagels
Blueberries are a good way to bulk up the nutrition in a plain bagel. They can be added to either white or wheat bagels to help give them some tangy sweetness. This version over at Bakerita takes less than two hours to prepare.
6. Pumpernickel Bagels
Pumpernickel is a type of sandwich loaf that features dark coarsely ground rye flour and a savory flavor. If you’re looking for a dark, chewy bagel that has all the flavor of a good slice of pumpernickel bread, this is the bagel for you.
A recipe for baking pumpernickel bagels that is simple enough to be made on a weekday morning can be found at Girl Versus Dough.
7. Poppy Seed Bagels
If you’re looking for a little more crunch with your morning bagel, a homemade poppy seed bagel like these from Amanda Frederickson is always a good choice. Adding poppy seeds to your bagels can help increase their nutritional value. In fact, poppy seeds are known for aiding the immune system as well as overall digestive health.
The crunchy topping on poppy seed bagels pairs well with cold ingredients like cream cheese and vegetables.
8. French Toast Bagel
Many bagels lean more towards the savory side of breakfast than sweet. But these French toast bagels are the perfect way to evoke the cinnamon-sugar goodness of traditional French toast in an easy-to-go package for your commute.
Pair these French toast bagels at Girl Versus Dough with a rich cup of coffee for the picture-perfect start to your morning.
9. Jalapeno Cheddar Bagels
Craving some spice with your morning bagel? Jalapeno cheddar bagels are a fun savory choice with a little bit of extra spicy heat to wake you up.
Along with adding tons of flavor, jalapenos can help ramp up the nutritional value of your bagel. Jalapenos add vitamins and minerals to your meal with a serving of vegetables and dairy. Try this version of cheddar bagels from I Wash You Dry and top it with sharp cheddar cheese for some extra zing.
10. Everything Bagels
One of the most popular varieties of bagels out there is the everything bagel like these bagels at Chef Savvy. Everything bagels are white bagels topped with tons of different seeds. Some of these seed varieties include sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, garlic flakes, and caraway seeds.
This crunchy layer of toppings goes well with a creamy filling. So these types of bagels are often matched with a classic cream cheese spread. Try a scallion cream cheese instead to add even more flavor.
11. Sesame Bagels
If you like a crunchy topping on your bagel but you aren’t a fan of poppy seeds or dried onion, a sesame bagel is another delicious option. Paired with cream cheese or salted butter, these savory bagels are plain enough in their flavor to support a wide variety of fresh toppings.
A popular pairing for sesame bagels is smoked salmon with capers. Get the recipe from Edible Woman and experiment with some favorites of your own.
12. Garlic Bagels
Sweet breakfast items can be front-loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, so savory bagels like these at Culinary Chronicles often end up being slightly more healthy for you than sweet ones.
The garlic included in these garlic bagels adds a nutritional boost to your breakfast or lunch without weighing you down. Just be sure to brush your teeth if you don’t want garlic breath afterward.
13. Salt Bagels
A salt bagel might be one of the more uncommon versions you’ll find on offer in a bakery. In fact, these savory bagels are easy to make at home, and they’re a great vehicle for toppings as long as you aren’t watching your sodium intake.
Try using these bagels from I Am Baker as sandwich bread for some light toppings like turkey and sliced tomato.
14. Rye Bagels
Made with medium rye flour and caraway seeds, rye bagels are another bagel type like salt bagels that makes a good base for sandwiches. Rye pairs especially well with cream cheese, BLTs, and Rueben sandwiches. If you want a traditional rye bagel for making sandwiches, try this recipe over at The Practical Kitchen.
15. Plain Bagels
If you aren’t in the mood to have anything in or on your bagel, you can’t go wrong with a plain bagel recipe. These plain bagels at I Am Baker are easy to dress up any way you want and can be as healthy or unhealthy as you like depending on what you decide to dress them with.
Types of Toppings for Bagels
The types of toppings you put on your bagels can make a big difference in how healthy or unhealthy they are. While many people don’t go beyond cream cheese or salted butter when it comes to bagel toppings, there are many more options available.
Here are a few meat toppings for some extra protein:
Tuna or chicken salad: It’s tempting to add a creamy topping to bagels, but cream cheese alone doesn’t add much nutritional value. To make your bagel more substantial, add tuna salad or chicken salad with a bunch of vegetables like celery chopped in for a satisfying lunch option. Try pairing tuna or chicken salad with rye bagels or pumpernickel bagels for an even more nutty, savory flavor.
Smoked salmon: Smoked salmon (lox) and whipped cream cheese are some of the most classic toppings for breakfast and lunch bagels. Smoked salmon is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. These can help prevent degenerative health diseases like cancer, dementia, and heart disease.
Turkey and Swiss cheese: Because they’re such a dense type of bread, bagels are a practical option for portable sandwiches at a picnic or company lunch. Turkey and Swiss cheese are a classic pairing that is satisfying but dry enough to help keep your bagel from getting soggy halfway through your sandwich.
Bacon and cheese: If you’re in the mood for a savory sandwich for breakfast or lunch, bacon, egg, and cheese bagels are a delicious choice. Adding piping hot bacon and cheddar cheese to your bagel top is a satisfying way to start your morning that will help keep you full all morning long.
Here are a few other things you can put on your bagels to pump up their nutritional value and flavor:
Eggs: Either scrambled or poached eggs can add a wallop of protein to your bagel breakfast, and the creamy texture of eggs pairs well with the savory, chewy flavor of the bagel. Adding eggs to your bagel can also help keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Avocado: Avocado is full of essential minerals and vitamins and makes a good spread to replace cream cheese for holding vegetables or other toppings on your bagel. Try adding some sprouts or microgreens to your avocado bagel for even more nutrition.
Nut butter and granola: Peanut butter or some other delicious nut butter like hazelnut spread can be a high-calorie addition to your bagel. Using a thin layer and pairing it with crunchy granola can sweeten things up while still keeping your bagel breakfast light.
Pizza toppings: For those who are craving pizza and don’t have the time or energy to make a full pizza pie, sprinkling mozzarella and sliced pepperoni over a bagel slice before baking can help curb your pizza craving without causing you to go overboard.
Fruit preserves: If you want a sweeter topping for your bagel, going with jam or jelly gives you a dazzling array of options to choose from. You can top bagels with preserves alone if you’re trying to keep things light. Or you can add a layer of plain cream cheese to help add some salt and balance things out.
These are only a few of the toppings you can use to dress up your bagels. Bagels are never a boring meal option since they’re so versatile. There are so many bagel flavors that your taste buds will never get tired of them.
Types of Bagels FAQ
Is a Bagel a Type of Bread?
A bagel is a type of bread because it contains flour and yeast that is boiled and baked into a round. Even though there are a few preparation steps that set bagels apart from other baking products, such as the boiling step, they are still categorized as bread and found in grocery store bakeries.
Like other bread varieties, bagels can be either savory or sweet.
How Many Different Types of Bagels Are There?
There are over twenty different kinds of bagels that can be commonly found in bakeries or baked at home. No matter what flavors you prefer, you’re sure to find a bagel that goes well with your palate or your nutritional needs.
What Is the Most Common Type of Bagel?
You might think that the most common type of bagel would be plain bagels since they’re so easy to add ingredients to, but you’d be wrong. The most common type of bagel sold is cinnamon raisin bagels.
What Types of Bagels Are the Healthiest?
Plain bagels might be considered the healthiest bagel. This is especially true when you see what kinds of high-calorie toppings are added to the rest of them. But some toppings and mix-ins actually add nutrition to your bagel.
Nutritionists recommend bagels that are topped with seeds like everyday bagels and sesame bagels. These bagels can actually increase your fiber intake and your intake of essential nutrients. Whole wheat bagels and rye bagels are also considered a healthier options than bagels made of white flour.
What Type of Bagel Has the Least Calories?
Types of bagels with the lowest number of calories are “thin” or “mini” varieties of bagels. One of the biggest mistakes people make when including bagels in a reduced-calorie diet is buying oversized or full-size bagels. These pack in a lot of calories.
Going with a smaller version can help reduce your caloric intake while still letting you experience the satisfying taste of a bagel for breakfast or lunch.
Different Types of Bagels Are Delicious and Versatile
Bagels aren’t always associated with the healthiest of breakfast options, but that doesn’t mean different types of bagels can’t be part of a nutritious and balanced diet. Some may prefer a classic blueberry bagel or a more unusual bagel flavor like onion. But there are plenty of healthy and delicious ways to include bagels as part of your breakfast.