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Wednesday Wonders: BLT vs. Bagel with Cream Cheese

December 2, 2009

Q: Dear Jessica,

I enjoy your blog! I am writing because I often find myself with limited choices when I am “on the run,” so my eating habits come down to “which is the better of the two.” Case in point, for lunch today, I ate a “kosher BLT” — some kosher sliced bacon-type meat (beef, not pig), with mayo, lettuce, and tomato on whole wheat bread. There were 10 grams of fat per 3 slices and I had 7 slices (they are small once they are fried up in olive oil). The other choice was a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese. Did I make the right choice? I think I did because I had protein, but my wife doesn’t think so (although my stomach says I did!!) — On the Run

A: Dear On the Run,

Thanks for your question and for reading the blog! Eating on the run is always tough, as it’s hard to find the best choices when you’re not at home. I commend you for looking for the better of two choices — it’s great that it’s on your radar! The choices you present here are not the most nutritious, but sometimes that happens. I’ve analyzed the two options and here is the breakdown:

Beef Bacon on Whole Wheat Bread with Mayonnaise (1 tbsp)

Whole Wheat Bagel with Cream Cheese (2 Tbsp)

Calories

523

525

Total Fat (g)

30

12
Saturated Fat (g)

12

6
Cholesterol (mg)

74

32
Sodium (mg)

1415

842

Carbohydrates (g) 44 97
Fiber (g) 6 5
Protein (g) 22

16

As you can see, your two options come out almost the same calorically, and pretty close on the protein side (bagels have a fair amount of protein in them). The main difference is in the fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrate content. Too much fat, cholesterol, and sodium can all lead to cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Excess carbohydrates are also not ideal, as they can turn into fat if not burned off. However, you have more leeway with the amount of carbs you can have in a day than in the amount of fat (generally I recommend a calorie breakdown of 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat).

I’m sorry to say, your wife was right!

Do you have a Wednesday Wonder you’d like answered? If so, email me at jessica@nutritioulicious.com!

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  1. I think that BLT was probably even more calories since that bacon was “fried up” in EVOO. Cream cheese has protein too and if it’s low fat, even better for you (not great but better).

    1. Elina, you’re right…the BLT was definitely more calories than what I posted because of the olive oil. I didn’t add the olive oil because it is hard to know how much someone would use. But good catch!

      Also, regarding the cream cheese, the amount of protein is minimal – not like the amount of protein in real cheese. But it’s definitely the better option, and if it’s low-fat, like you said, it’s even better!