It's Not the Bagel
Whole grain bagels are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. You can even get some of your protein for the day in good bagels and they typically are less then 200 calories. But just like the lowly potato, it's not the bagel that's bad for you, it's what you put on top of it. Depending on what meal you are having, you can choose healthy toppings that are both nutritious and taste good. The bagel provides a great surface for any meal.
Start the Day with a Bagel
Bagels are most often eaten for breakfast and that's where so much fat and calories get piled on the great whole grains. Look for spreads made of soy or canola oil that are low in fat. Cream cheese, the basic bagel topping, now comes in low fat and non-fat versions. Get your calcium with a nonfat cream cheese and if it's too tasteless, top the cheese with some sugar-free fruit topping. Eggs go great on bagels. Scramble an egg in a nonstick pan and slide it on the bagel. One piece of turkey sausage can be cut in slices to fill the top of a half bagel. You can fool yourself into thinking you've had a whole plate of the meat.
Peanut butter is a super snack staple, full of protein to bolster energy. One tablespoon has only about 50 calories and spreads nicely on half a whole wheat bagel. Add half of a banana for some extra potassium. Swiss, goat and mozzarella cheese melts just a bit when put on a toasted bagel. Any kind of fruit spread made from real fruit and fruit juice is nice on a bagel, though you may not get as much energy.
You can put a complete meal on a whole grain bagel for lunch or dinner. Lean chicken with low fat mayonnaise is a tasty meal. Top it with low fat cheese, some lettuce and a tomato slice and you've got sandwich that has to be eaten in halves it will be so thick. Make a bagel pizza with tomato sauce and cheese. You'll get your pizza fix without the high calorie, low nutrition of white pizza dough. Thin slices of ham or roast beef are great for meat lovers. Get your deli meat sliced extra thin and roll it up when putting it on a bagel to make it look like you're splurging.