Many traditional breakfast foods are packed with calories, fat and sodium, making them poor meal choices except on special occasions. If you are trying to follow a low- or moderate-calorie diet, you should cut these foods. The American Heart Association recommends that you replace them with fresh, low-calorie options such as fresh fruit, whole-grain cereal, lean meat and egg whites scrambled with veggies and low-fat cheese.
Fatty Breakfast Meats
Fatty meats, such as fried bacon, breakfast sausage and smoked sausage, often find their way onto breakfast plates. However, they contain copious amounts of calories, sodium, fat and preservatives and offer no real nutritional value. According to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, one strip of pan-fried bacon contains about 40 calories. One sausage patty contains about 80 calories, and two small sausage links contain about 180 calories. One 2.67-oz. serving of smoked pork sausage offers up about 230 calories.
Breakfast pastries, such as doughnuts, muffins, danishes and bagels, are notoriously high-calorie, and contain empty simple carbohydrates. One medium-sized glazed yeast doughnut has an average of 250 calories, as does one small blueberry muffin. An average fruit-filled danish has about 260 calories and a large, plain New York-style bagel contains about 330 calories. Adding 2 oz. of cream cheese to that bagel will tack on about 200 extra calories.
Waffles, French Toast and Pancakes
Many traditional waffle, french toast and pancake recipes are fairly high in calories because they contain eggs, milk, melted butter and quite a bit of sugar. Their traditional maple syrup topping also drives up the calorie count. The USDA reports that one round, 7-inch-diameter waffle contains an average of 220 calories, one slice of French toast prepared with 2-percent milk contains about 150 calories, and one 6-inch-diameter buttermilk pancake has 175 calories. When it comes to toppings, 1/4 cup of real maple syrup adds about 200 calories to the meal.
- American Heart Association: Tips for Eating Breakfast
- "Secrets of Fat-Free Cooking"; Sandra L. Woodruff; 1995
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference