Are Waffles a Healthy Food?

Belgium waffles with strawberries and mint on white plate
Waffles with fresh strawberries horizontal. (Image: Elena_Danileiko/iStock/Getty Images)

Decadent Belgian waffles covered with syrup, berries and whipped cream are the foods that dreams are made of; but are they healthy? People often convince themselves that certain foods are good for them then their nutritional content is at best dubious. But waffles, when prepared correctly, might actually make the cut.

Considerations

According to the American Dietetic Association, a healthy diet has a balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat, lean protein and healthy dairy options. This diet gives you the calories, fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein that you need sustain a healthy lifestyle. Other foods may be eaten and you can still maintain a healthy diet as long as foods that are less healthy are eaten in moderation.

Whole Grain Intake

White flour has little nutritional value. It has low fiber content and can clog up your system, leading to digestive problems, eventually resulting in major disease if used as a staple in your diet for a prolonged period. Whole grains, on the other hand, are packed with fiber and help your digestive system work at full capacity, according to MayoClinic.com. Waffles made of white flour may be more detrimental than anything else, but waffles made with whole grain flour are an excellent source of fiber and a healthy choice for your daily carbohydrate allotment.

Other Ingredients

A typical waffle recipe has eggs, milk, oil and salt in addition to flour. Eggs are a valuable source of protein and milk is an essential component of a healthy diet. Oils with low saturated fat such as canola oil and oils with high omega-3 fatty acid levels can be part of a healthy diet as well, so waffles can have nutritional value. Salt must be always kept to a minimum, but the salt amount per whole recipe, about 1/4 tsp. for 6 waffles, is within that amount.

As Part of a Daily Diet

Waffles that are made with whole grains and high benefit oils, or no oil, are a wholesome food and could be included in a healthy diet. Additions such as berries and yogurt add to their nutritional value and complete a healthy breakfast. Plain waffles with high-sugar syrup are not healthy, and you should ideally get your protein and dairy doses from other sources. However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in an overall healthy eating plan you can still eat a moderate amount of white flour and sugar.

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