Breakfast is one meal of the day where you can indulge a little. Sweet breakfasts such as french toast are an excellent breakfast treat, but how healthy are they?
When you are young, your body's metabolism is a bit forgiving of the occasional treat. You're growing, and your body needs that extra bit of energy, so you can get away with eating most things. As you grow older, you'll start to notice everything you eat sticking around in obvious places such as your stomach and hips.
In this article, we will look at what is in french toast to determine if they are a healthy breakfast option and some healthy alternatives just in case you decide you need to switch it up.
Making French Toast
French toast recipes vary depending on the region. The most basic version of this recipe involves dousing bread into a dairy and egg soaking mixture and then frying it in a grill or pan on medium heat. Some people add other ingredients such as cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg, and when ready, add a drizzle of maple syrup, honey, powdered sugar, or even more butter.
You can't use regular bread slices for this recipe because it will become a soggy mess when you soak it in the milk-egg mixture. Making French toast requires a special thick bread like Texas toast or brioche. The most important factor is that the slices should be a bit stale or dried in the oven to lose a bit of moisture content, allowing them to be absorbed more.
What Makes Texas Toast or Brioche Special?
Both Texas toast and brioche are significantly thicker than the standard sliced bread at about ¾ and 1 inch thick. Because of their thickness, these bread slices can withstand the long 5-minute soak and still come out crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.
Making these kinds of bread requires a lot of butter and eggs making the bread airy and able to absorb the milk-egg mixture without crumbling.
These kinds of dipped breads allow the French toast to cook evenly, slightly reducing the butter into a sweet brown-butter flavor without burning the bread. To maintain the nutty brown-butter flavor, use unflavored oils such as vegetable or canola oil, so that it only enhances the other flavors and lets them pop up more.
Is French Toast Bad for You?
Whether French toast is bad for you depends on your recipe. According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, toasting bread lowers its glycemic index, but toasting the bread to make French toast is quite different.
When soaked into the bread, the milk-egg liquid adds protein to the bread. The problem is that eating both milk and egg regularly can be dangerous to your health.
For example, eggs are very high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to medical complications such as kidney disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism.
Over time, having high cholesterol levels also lead to plaque which is essentially a build-up of cholesterol in arteries. Plaque causes the arteries to become narrower, increasing your chances of getting a stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Remember that most foods are healthy when you eat them in moderation.
French Toast Nutrition Facts
If you're watching your weight, you're familiar with calories, and you are probably trying to watch how many calories you eat. Did you know that your body changes calories into energy?
Even though you need energy to live, the problem starts when you consume more calories than your body can burn as energy. Two slices of french toast can contain 300 to 500 calories. To maintain a healthy weight, follow up your french toast with more low-calorie meals to keep a normal daily caloric intake.
Brioche and Texas toast are made from wheat which is a source of carbohydrates. These act as an energy booster and a source of fiber which can help your indigestion.
French toast is accompanied mostly by bacon, which is another cause for concern. Bacon has a lot of preservatives such as nitrates and nitrites, which can be toxic for use, and it also adds to your daily caloric intake.
Healthy Breakfast Options
If you have decided that you might want to take french toast out of your breakfast rotation, consider a couple things first.
You can substitute a few things in your french toast recipe to make the original recipe healthier.
Whole wheat bread, for instance, is a healthier choice than white bread. Also, removing the egg yolks cuts down the amount of cholesterol you're eating.
Another way to do this is to reduce the amount of sugar you add to your french toast.
If your breakfast has a lot of sugar, then you're risking raising your blood sugar levels. Sugar spikes can give you that quick energy boost, but the higher the spike, the bigger your energy crash will be afterwards. Instead, fill your breakfast with good-quality proteins and fats.
Start with something sugar-free like oats with greek yogurt. If you must eat an egg, avoid frying it and instead eat it boiled or poached. You can try eggs on toast instead of french toast or a full English breakfast for brunch. The list is endless.
Healthy French Toast Recipe
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- Egg whites from 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 liter 2% reduced-fat milk
- 100 g fresh berries of your choice
- Honey or maple syrup
- Vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- Whisk the egg whites, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Take your bread slices, dip them into your milk-egg recipe, and soak for 5 minutes.
- Spray vegetable oil in a large non-stick grill or pan, and place your loaded slices on it. Give each side 3 minutes to cook.
- Serve with a healthy serving of berries and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.
Some say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we agree. So you should start your day with a healthy and filling breakfast so that you can handle all the stresses each day brings with the energy you deserve. Maintaining a healthy weight and body is important so that you can live a quality life free from life-threatening diseases.
It's normal to crave sweet foods such as pancakes and french toast. French toast isn't bad for you, but you can still make these meals tasty, but with more health-conscious recipe alterations.
Start small and find even more interesting more nutritious ingredient supplements so you can enjoy your favorite breakfast treat to the fullest!