Pair bagels with fresh fruit for a filling breakfast.

Breakfast Bagels & Fresh Fruit

by Maggie McCormick

With their crunchy outside and soft inside, bagels are often a favorite comfort food for breakfast. By pairing them with nutritious fruit, you can prepare a simple week-day breakfast for the whole family or a week-end brunch for a larger crowd. Large deli bagels, though, can be high in calories and the toppings can contain a lot of fat, so make sure that you know what you're eating.

1. Enjoying at Home

When you're enjoying your bagel and fruit breakfast at home, the sky's the limit. You can use bakery bagels or a cheaper store-bought variety. Enjoy your bagel with a simple topping such as butter or cream cheese, or create a bagel sandwich with egg or tuna. Add additional flavor to your sandwich by seasoning the egg with ranch dressing mix or the tuna with a creamy dressing. Fruits like melon or grapes pair well alongside a bagel, but you can also thinly slice strawberries and kiwi to place on top of the bagel.

2. Preparing a Spread

When buying for a group, choose a variety of bagels, including sweet and savory ones, and a few types of toppings, like cream cheese, flavored spreads, butter and jam. For a simple flavored spread, combine a container of cream cheese with a package of salad dressing mix. Setting the bagels out whole will preserve their freshness, but cutting them in half makes them easier for guests to prepare and encourages people to eat less. Prepare a fruit salad in a large bowl to place next to the bagels. Mix in some savory blue cheese or creamy buttermilk dressing for a delicious fruit salad. Or keep fruits separate with a fruit platter, allowing guests to select only their favorite fruits. Have a cutting board on hand if you want guests to cut the bagels themselves and place a knife by each of your toppings so that several people can prepare their bagels at once. If your guests include small children, have some pre-cut bagels ready for their little fingers.

3. Variety

Varying your bagels and fruits not only helps keep you from getting bored with your meals, it also allows you to get a variety of nutrients. Use whatever fruits you have in your refrigerator and shop the sales at the store. In-season fruits are usually the cheapest. Bagels come in a wide variety of flavors, such as onion, garlic, everything, salt, plain, blueberry, cinnamon raisin and sugar. You can top these with a flavored or plain cream cheese, butter, jam or peanut butter. Note which flavors go well together. For example, a ranch-flavored cream cheese would work well with a garlic bagel while a strawberry cream cheese and garlic bagel pairing will seem off.

4. Lowering Calories

Though delicious, a bagel can have more than 300 calories on its own, and the toppings can add an additional 100 calories or more. If you're watching your weight, this is dangerous territory. Some companies manufacture "thin bagels" which have the same bagel taste, but fewer calories. You can also switch to mini bagels when you need a bagel fix. Reduced fat cream cheese has fewer calories, but you should still spread only a thin layer. If you prefer a thick layer of cream cheese, consider whipped cream cheese, which has air added to bulk it up. Jam is often the lowest calorie topping and if you choose an all-fruit variety, it's healthy as well.

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