How Many Calories in a Bagel with Cream Cheese?


There are many correct answers to the seemingly simple question “how many calories are in a bagel with cream cheese?’ Peaking in popularity from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s, bagels were widely consumed as a healthy ‘on-the-go’ breakfast alternative to doughnuts. Bagel sales have steadily declined since 2004-05, due largely to negative publicity regarding their high-calorie/carbohydrate content and poor nutritive value. The calories in a bagel with cream cheese depends upon factors such as the bagel size and type; the fat content of the cream cheese; and cream cheese portion size.

Calories in a bagel with Cream Cheese: Average

The original bagels available for purchase in grocery stores, manufactured by Lender’s®, Sara Lee®, etc., considered to be ‘normal-sized’ were small; 3-inches in diameter and 69 grams. For some varieties, such as oat bran and cinnamon-raisin, a 3.5-inch bagel (71 g) is comparable. An onion, seeded or plain 3-inch or oat bran/cinnamon-raisin 3.5-inch bagel offers 170 to 194 calories, 5 to 7 g protein, 35 to 38 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 1 g fat and ~ 350 mg sodium.

The Cream Cheese Factor

Smearing 1 tbsp. regular cream cheese on your bagel adds an extra 50 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat and 47 mg sodium. This adds up to 220 to 240 calories in/for a bagel with cream cheese. The macronutrient distribution for this bagel with cream cheese, derives, on average, 64% of its calories from carbohydrate, 12% from protein and 23% from fat. To add to the confusion, cream cheese is available in many varieties, including flavored, plain fat-free, low-fat, reduced-fat and full-fat or ‘regular.’

Size Matters

Deli or coffee shop bagels always were, and still are, much larger than 69 g. Now, ‘mini-bagels’ are available in most grocery stores (2.5-inches in diameter or 26 g). Of course, size does matter as, the larger the bagel, the more calories it provides. The largest bagels are 4.5-inches in diameter, 118 g. Type impacts calorie count as well. Egg and cinnamon-sugar bagels are higher in calories than plain bagels.

Calories in a Bagel with Cream Cheese: Least to Greatest

You can take in a modest amount of calories in a bagel with cream cheese by going ‘small and light.’ Choosing a mini-bagel and topping it with 1 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese provides about 100 calories (70 calories for the bagel and 30 calories for the cream cheese), 7 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate and only 1 g fat. On the other hand, if you select a large bakery-style bagel (4.5-inches diameter and 118 to 130 g) and spread it with 2 tbsp. regular cream cheese, you’ll take in roughly 460 calories, 16 g protein, 70 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (6 g saturated) and over 800 mg sodium!

While the ‘typical’ 4.5-inch bagel weighs 118 g, a Starbuck’s specialty bagel (any variety) is denser/larger at 142 g. One bagel provides 440 calories, 13 g protein, 96 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 g fat and about 600 mg sodium, without cream cheese. Add 2 tbsp. (a ‘standard’ serving) of cream cheese for a breakfast providing 540 calories, 15 g protein (not high-quality protein), 96 g carbohydrates and 11 g fat (half saturated).


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