We all know that eating breakfast is essential to weight loss and maintenance and that consuming a healthy breakfast is better than eating any fat-laden pastry or donut. Sometimes its hard to decipher which breakfast foods are healthier for us. For instance, is it better to make a stop by your favorite bagel shop for a raisin bagel with cream cheese or to swing through McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin? Since we don't really associate McDonald's with healthy food, you might be surprised to learn that the Egg McMuffin is the healthier option. Here's why.
Protein is Important
Any healthy breakfast should contain some kind of protein. While lean protein is preferable, the more fattening kinds of protein (like those found in sausage or bacon) are preferable to no protein at all--as long as they are consumed in large quantities. Consuming protein in the morning can help to curb your appetite during the remainder of the day. Both a raisin bagel with cream cheese and an Egg McMuffin contain protein. However, the McMuffin, with its combination of egg, cheese, Canadian bacon and an English muffin, contains 18 grams of protein while the average raisin bagel with plain cream cheese spread contains only 13 grams, making it the more preferable breakfast in a healthy diet.
Carbohydrates are Important in Smaller Quantities
Truly, the healthiest breakfast option combines lean protein with complex carbohydrates. The combination revs up your metabolism so that you burn calories more efficiently. It also will work to keep your stomach from growling for several hours. A raisin bagel with cream cheese is very heavy in carbohydrates--as is any kind of bagel or bread-based breakfast. An Egg McMuffin, on the other hand, has a more balanced ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Furthermore, the kind of carbs found in a raisin bagel are not complex and will leave you feeling hungry again shortly after consuming the bagel. Ironically enough, breads that contain complex carbohydrates, like sprouted whole grain bread (a good example is Ezekiel brand bread), contain a greater amount of protein. If you want a bagel for breakfast, you're better off eating a bagel with peanut butter on top. You'll get more protein that way.
The Less Sugar, the Better
An Egg McMuffin contains only three grams of sugar while a raisin bagel with cream cheese contains about 12 grams. While 12 grams isn't an overwhelming amount, it's four times as much sugar as the McMuffin. Finding ways to cut out sugar in every meal is important for overall health and weight loss. Studies show that the less sugar you consume, the less likely you are to crave it. Stick with the McMuffin.
All things considered, the Egg McMuffin is a healthier breakfast than a raisin bagel with cream cheese. In overall calorie count, the McMuffin also comes out on top--it contains approximately 300 calories, while the raisin bagel with cream cheese contains anywhere from 350-400 calories. You could wash the McMuffin down with some skim milk and still come out consuming fewer calories than the bagel.