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Fit or Flop: Are Bagels and Cream Cheese Healthy as Pre-Workout Fuel?

A toasted bagel with cream cheese is a popular breakfast option, but are bagels and cream cheese healthy? Bagels are rich in carbohydrates, while cream cheese is high in calories and fat. But if you make wise decisions, a toasted bagel with cream cheese can be included in a balanced diet. Select a whole wheat bagel and place fresh fruit and low-fat cream cheese on top.

Bagel and Cream Cheese Nutrition Facts


Nutritional Facts

Cream Cheese (2 tbsp)



Total fat


Saturated Fats






2-Seconds Summary

To summarize, bagels with cream cheese can make a nutritious meal for a well-balanced diet. However, choose the appropriate bagel (with more fiber content) and cream cheese (with low-fat content). Lastly, remember to add fresh veggies and lean meats as top-ons. Doing so can make bagels a part of a joyful, healthy lifestyle.

Are Bagels and Cream Cheese Healthy for Workout Enthusiasts?


Are Bagels and Cream Cheese Healthy for Workout Enthusiasts
Source: livestrong.com

When considering pre-workout snacks, a common question arises: Are Bagels and Cream Cheese Healthy?

The answer isn’t straightforward and depends mainly on your choice of toppings and portion control. A plain bagel typically contains around 70 grams of carbs, which can be a good energy source for your workout.

Plain Bagel Nutritional Facts


Nutrition Facts

Plain Bagel (Medium sized)











However, the nutritional content of bagels can vary widely depending on their size and the ingredients used. Whole grain or whole wheat bagels can be healthier, providing more fiber and nutrients than white flour bagels. The concern mainly lies in the toppings. Cream cheese is a popular choice for spreading on bagels but can be high in fat and calories.

Even just two teaspoons of bagel with cream cheese calories contains approximately 98 calories and 10 grams of fat, with only a modest 2 grams of protein. This high fat-to-protein ratio might not be better for those looking to fuel their workouts effectively or manage their weight.

Calories in a Bagel with Cream Cheese

The answer to how many calories is a bagel with cream cheese has, is not straightforward. Calculating the total caloric intake of a bagel with cream cheese can be eye-opening. A plain toasted bagel with cream cheese can amount to around 436 calories per serving, with 66g net carbs, 8g fat, and 14g protein.

This bagel with cream cheese calories count can significantly vary based on the amount and type of cream cheese used. Lower-fat or whipped cream cheese options may reduce the calorie count, but it’s still important to be mindful of portion sizes.

While bagels and cream cheese can be part of a balanced diet, their suitability as a pre-workout snack depends on your overall dietary needs, workout intensity, and health goals. Opting for low calorie bagels and being mindful of the amount and type of toppings can make this classic combination a more health-conscious choice. For those closely monitoring their calorie intake or looking for optimal workout fuel, considering alternative snacks with a better balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats might be beneficial.

Is Cream Cheese on a Bagel a Good Breakfast Option?

Cream cheese-covered bagels are amazing, but this may not be the best way to start if you’re an early bird. Try a whole grain bagel with reduced fat cream cheese on top to eat healthy while cutting calories; if not, try a nut butter spread.

In addition to being rich in vitamins and complex carbs, bagels have the potential to be an energy source. Whole grain bagels are fiber-rich, are a carbohydrate with no calories, and promote weight loss. Additionally, a serving of bagels could provide a lot of protein. 8 to 11 grams of protein can be found in a whole-wheat or egg bagel, depending on its size and contents. Bagels have less fat than other high-fat breakfast pastries like croissants and donuts. You may increase your breakfast bagel’s protein content by adding one or two scrambled eggs inside.

The Health Concerns of Eating Too Many Cream Cheese Bagels


The Health Concerns of Eating Too Many Cream Cheese Bagels
Source: livestrong.com

What would happen if you began having cream cheese on a bagel every morning for breakfast? Here are a few possible health hazards associated with consuming too much cream cheese and bagels:

Weight Gain: Cream cheese and bagels are heavy in fat and calories. Overindulging in them could eventually result in excessive calorie consumption and weight gain. Before cream cheese is added, even “healthy” whole-grain bagels have about 300 calories.

Blood sugar spikes: Bagels made with refined flour break down quickly to produce glucose. Insulin resistance may get worse, and blood sugar levels may surge as a result. Those with diabetes or prediabetes should avoid large bagels made of flour.

Increased inflammation: Refined grains and dairy products can raise the body’s inflammatory response when fed in excess. Conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are associated with chronic inflammation.

High LDL cholesterol: The high saturated fat content of cream cheese might increase LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL are linked to artery-clogging plaque.

Nutrient deficiency: Excessively processed bagels lack the fiber, vitamins, and minerals ordinarily present in whole grains. Nutrient content is also low in cream cheese. Deficits in some micronutrients may result from this.

Food sensitivities: Certain individuals have sensitivity to dairy or wheat. For those who are sensitive, eating bagels with cream cheese regularly may cause exhaustion, headaches, skin concerns, or digestive problems.

Moderation is the key. You won’t get sick from having a bagel with cream cheese occasionally. However, making it a regular practice could raise your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and inflammation-related illnesses.

Read more: Are Bagels Dairy Free?

Scrumptious Substitutes for Cream Cheese and Bagels

Try these healthier options for breakfast instead of bagels and cream cheese if you want to up your nutritional intake:

  • Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and almonds
  • Avocado toast on whole-grain bread
  • Smoked salmon and capers on whole wheat toast
  • Oatmeal topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, and milk or yogurt
  • Whole grain toast with a veggie omelet
  • Cottage cheese with avocado and tomato slices
  • A protein powder, milk, yogurt, fruit, and greens smoothie
  • Peanut butter on whole wheat English muffins
  • Apple slices spread with raw almond butter
  • Nut butter on a banana

Compared to bagels with cream cheese, these choices include more fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Other suggestions could be full-grain cereal with milk, chia seed pudding, or an acai bowl. Use your culinary skills and select wholesome items that you love to eat! Protein, fiber, and good fats will help you feel full throughout the morning.

Can You Have a Bagel with Cream Cheese, If You’re on a Diet?

Let’s start by defining what constitutes a healthy diet. It all boils down to two fundamental components: moderation and balance. Fresh, wholesome foods that can provide you with energy and a full, satisfied sensation should be a part of the strategy. A combination of complete grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and healthy fats should be included in each meal.

The answer to the query, “Can I eat a bagel with cream cheese on a diet?” is yes, but only under specific restrictions. As long as you manage the quantity size and topping, a bagel may be a component of a healthy diet.

Let’s start by discussing portion size. A small, plain bagel is the healthiest choice and won’t ruin your diet, but it still contains a lot of carbohydrates. About 110–120 calories, 15-20 grams of carbohydrates, and 3–4 grams of protein are found in a small bagel. A third of a regular-sized bagel is what you should eat if you like your bagel with cream cheese. This will add roughly 120 extra calories and a small amount of fat to your diet.

What is the healthiest type of cream cheese topping right now? You must be wondering. Since cream cheeses are all heavy in fat and calories, monitoring your consumption levels is imperative. Select fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese or a veggie-based cream cheese topping, like bean dip or hummus. Another intelligent alternative is reduced-fat cream cheese, which has fewer calories but enough protein and healthy fats to satisfy your hunger for longer.

Add tomato or avocado slices to your bagel sandwich to increase nutritional value. This will improve the fiber content of your food and provide it with extra vitamins and minerals. Additionally, you might include some leafy greens like arugula or baby spinach. That will give some more taste and make it healthier.

If you want something healthier than cream cheese, consider nut butter, such as almond butter. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to up your daily protein intake and include some good fats in your diet.

Final Word

Although bagels and cream cheese can be consumed for breakfast, they shouldn’t be a regular dietary habit. The reason is that refined flour bagels cause blood sugar to rise and are deficient in nutrients. Apart from that, cream cheese has a lot of saturated fat and calories. They can cause nutrient deficits, inflammation, high cholesterol, and weight gain.

The healthiest strategy is to periodically treat yourself to a whole-grain bagel and some low-fat cream cheese in moderate portions. Better nutrition can be obtained by making an omelet with veggies, avocado toast, or oatmeal made with whole grains on most days of the week.

Cream cheese on bagels is a great combination, but a healthy variety of breakfast menus is the key to optimal health.

Frequently Asked Questions

You need flour, sugar, yeast, and water to make bagels. All of these components don’t include dairy. However, certain bagel brands could contain dairy or animal-based ingredients, such as honey or eggs. To know if a bagel is dairy-free, study the label carefully.

A standard plain bagel typically contains around 280 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 2 grams of sugar. It also provides about 10 grams of protein and 55 grams of carbohydrates. Bagels are a good energy source due to their high carbohydrate content, but they are relatively low in fat. However, toppings like cream cheese can significantly impact their nutritional profile. It’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes and choose whole-grain options for added fiber. Enjoying bagels as part of a balanced diet can contribute to your daily energy needs.


Lox is a smoked salmon fillet that has been brined. Lox is commonly topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped onions, and capers and served with cream cheese on a bagel.

Wheat flour is the primary ingredient in bagels, a refined form of carbohydrates. In addition, many bagels include a lot of sugar, another type of carb.

Amount Per Serving:

  • Total Carbohydrate 55g – 20%
  • Dietary Fiber 2g – 6%
  • Sugars 9g – 0%
  • Protein 11g – 22%

A medium-sized plain bagel contains approximately 271 calories. Some bakeries’ larger bagels have a lot more. French breakfast, chocolate chip, and cinnamon crunch flavors offer significantly more calories. Spreads and toppings offer even more flavor.

A whole-grain bagel is the healthiest type. Choose rye or whole wheat bagels if you’re looking for a healthy bagel choice. Since sourdough bread variations are more nutrient-dense than white bread options, sourdough bagels are healthy. Cream cheese is a dairy product made from cream and milk, offering a rich and smooth texture. While delicious as a spread or ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes, it should be consumed in moderation due to its higher fat content.

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