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Bagel with Cream Cheese vs. Acai Bowl: Which Is Better for Breakfast?
What you eat for breakfast can make or break your day in terms of energy, endurance, mood, and satiation.
Some breakfast go-tos are obvious diet disasters—we’re looking at you Pop-Tarts—but what about popular options like a bagel with cream cheese or an acai bowl? In this article, we’ll be comparing the nutritional value of these two breakfast staples, as well as sharing a delicious, well-balanced recipe that you’re sure to turn to again and again.
The Nutritional Value of a Bagel with Cream Cheese vs. an Acai Bowl
Two popular breakfast options are bagels with cream cheese and acai bowls. A bagel with cream cheese is pretty straightforward, but for those who don’t know what an acai bowl is, it’s a thick puree of frozen acai berries and other fruits, topped with goodies like sliced fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, and granola.
Both of these breakfast options have positive attributes, however, they also have some drawbacks. Let’s break this down:
Bagel with Cream Cheese
The nutritional content of bagels can vary widely, as there are several varieties and sizes, however, a typical, medium-sized bagel (134 grams) with cream cheese contains roughly:[*]
- Calories: 436
- Protein: 14 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
- Carbs: 70 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sugar: 5 grams
As you can see, your average bagel with cream cheese is high in carbohydrates (carbs), moderate in protein, and low in fat, fiber, and sugar.
While carbs are the body’s primary energy source, bagels are usually made with refined flour. Refined flours offer a quick source of energy, however, the refining process removes important dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In general, nutrition experts recommend limiting your intake of refined grains.
If you’re in the mood for a bagel with cream cheese, it’s best to choose a whole-grain bagel. Whole-grain bagels contain the same amount of carbs as a white bagel, yet contain higher amounts of health-promoting fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can make your bagel even healthier by replacing the cream cheese with hummus or avocado and topping it with some tomato and greens.
The nutritional profile of an acai bowl depends on the ingredients and amount of ingredients used, however, your average acai bowl contains roughly:[*]
- Calories: 378
- Protein: 9.6 grams
- Fat: 17 grams
- Carbs: 57 grams
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Sugar: 34 grams
Acai bowls tend to be high in carbs and sugar, moderate in fat (depending on the ingredients), and low in protein. This macronutrient profile will provide a good energy boost, but it won’t supply you with adequate amounts of protein, which is needed to keep you energized and full until lunch.
On the plus side, most acai bowls are filled with healthy plant-based ingredients that are high in fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients like vitamin C.
How to Boost Your Breakfast with Extra Protein
While bagels and acai bowls can certainly be a part of a healthy diet, they’re both lacking in one important area: protein. Protein fuels your cells and powers your body. In fact, it plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of every cell in your body. It regulates hormones, increases muscle mass, and supports bone health, just to name a few things.[*]
It also plays a major role in controlling hunger. One study found that eating a high-protein breakfast is more satiating than eating a high-carb one, which means you'll stay fuller for longer.[*] As such, having a protein-rich breakfast is especially important for those trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
One easy way to boost your protein intake is by consuming a high-quality protein powder, such as FitFormula Pro Vegan Protein Blend. Add a scoop of this delicious plant-based protein powder to water or your milk of choice for an easy, creamy protein shake that you can enjoy alongside your bagel or other breakfast foods. You could even add a scoop of protein to an acai bowl or use it in a recipe.
A Well-Balanced Breakfast Recipe: Protein Pancakes
What kind of recipes can you make with protein powder? Great question! These whole-grain, protein-rich pancakes are one of our favorite breakfast options. They’re nutritionally balanced, super tasty, and easy to make.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Kodiak Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack and Waffle Mix
- FitFormula Pro Vegan Formula Blend (Vanilla Flavor)
- Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips
- Nonstick cooking spray
- To a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of Kodiak Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack and Waffle Mix, one scoop of FitFormula Pro Vegan Protein Blend (Vanilla Flavor), and approximately 30 chips (or 7 grams) of Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips.
- Add 1-1.5 cups of water and mix thoroughly until well combined.
- Spray a medium nonstick pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pour or scoop the pancake mix into the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
- When bubbles form on top of the pancake, flip it.
- Remove the pancake from the pan when it’s golden on both sides.
- Serve and enjoy!
Now, how do these pancakes stack up nutritionally? Let’s take a look:
Nutritional Content Per Serving (makes two servings):
- Calories: 162.5
- Protein: 16.75 grams
- Fat: 3.5 grams
- Carbs: 17.5 grams
- Fiber: 4.25 grams
- Sugar: 1.5 grams
These protein pancakes are very low in sugar and fat, moderate in carbs, and high in protein, making for a great breakfast option. Adults and children alike are sure to enjoy them.
Healthy Breakfast Options
Not all breakfast foods are created equal. A bagel with cream cheese or an acai bowl are perfectly fine to enjoy in your breakfast rotation, but they should ideally be accompanied by a good source of protein, such as a protein shake made with FitFormula Pro Vegan Protein Blend.
If you’re looking for a well-balanced breakfast option, be sure to try the protein pancake recipe in this article. These pancakes are delicious and will provide you with a hearty dose of protein to start your day off on the right foot.