Waking up early to cook breakfast isn't always a realistic option to start your day. Sometimes you just need to microwave a bagel, eat it and run out the door. There are several ways to warm this quick snack, depending on how much time you have.
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Bagel Nutrition Facts
A bagel by itself isn't the most impressive breakfast food. It's mostly made of starch, which means it is high in carbohydrates. Depending on what spread you use, there might not be any fruits or vegetables in your breakfast.
A regular bagel has 277 calories, according to the USDA. It also contains 11 grams of protein, a little over 1 gram of fat and 55 grams of carbohydrates. If you're looking for a balanced breakfast, you can see why bagels aren't a great option.
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Grains are one of the main categories in the USDA ChooseMyPlate's food groups. Bagels belong to this food group, but there are two kinds of grains, according to the USDA's classifications: whole grains and refined grains.
Whole grains include the entire kernel of the grain, whereas refined grains have the bran and germ removed. Ideally, you should eat bagels made from whole grains. They contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to those made with white flour.
Heating Up Your Bagel
While there might be more balanced options for breakfast, like oatmeal or eggs with vegetables, bagels are very convenient. Most other foods require cooking and clean-up. Depending on how you prepare your bagel, it can be ready in minutes.
You can buy frozen bagels from the store or fresh bagels from a bakery. These products can stay in a refrigerator after thawing for one to two weeks, according to the Food Marketing Institute. However, you can refrigerate it for up to two months. If your bagel is frozen, it will take a little longer to heat up.
You may use a toaster to heat bagels up. Depending on how long it stays in the toaster, you can char the surface to make it crispy. This trick also gives more flavor to the bagel. You can also toast a bagel in the oven to get a similar texture, although it takes longer to heat up your oven than the toaster.
Read more: Calories in a Bagel With Cream Cheese & Lox
How to Microwave a Bagel
You can microwave a bagel, but you won't get the same crispiness as with a toaster oven. Microwaves can be more energy-efficient and cook food faster than other methods, notes the Food and Drug Administration. That makes them particularly useful if your bagel is frozen.
Some microwave bagel tips including the following: Before you microwave a bagel, cut it in half first. That way, each half will cook faster than trying to heat up the entire bagel at once. If you're going to freeze your bagels, it can help to cut them in half first.
After your bagel is heated, you can put on whatever spread you want to use. Peanut butter and cream cheese are delicious but high in fat. One tablespoon of cream cheese has 50 calories and 5 grams of fat, compared to 95 calories and 8 grams of fat in the same amount of peanut butter.
You can opt for low-fat cream cheese to cut calories, or you may use a spread like this easy LIVESTRONG.com recipe for Classic Hummus, which has less fat and more carbs. A tablespoon of hummus boasts 26 calories, a little over 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of carbohydrates.
Read more: 9 Healthy Hummus Dips Worth Making Yourself