It’s a habit that’s long left me puzzled: scooping out a bagel’s delicious innards in an attempt to save some calories, leaving it a literal shell of what it once was. I actually saw a woman doing this on the New York City subway once, which left me both horrified (I mean, who messes with an NYC bagel? On a germ-filled subway car no less?) and intrigued.
That kind of dedication got me thinking, is it really worth it? I set off to find out.
Scooping out a typical bagel saves you 75 to 100 calories, says Jessica Levinson, RD, nutritionist at Nutricioulicious. Not a huge savings, but it’s the equivalent of a slice of bread. And because most bagels are low in protein and fiber, and high in carbs and sodium, you really won’t be missing out on any awesome nutrients if you do scoop.
Plus, if you plan to load your bagel with deli meat, lettuce, and tomatoes, then a scooped bagel may actually be superior—it holds in fillings better, preventing them from being squeezed out the sides when you take a bite.
But if bagels are an occasional indulgence that you thoroughly enjoy, there’s really no need to dissect your bagel. Sweating over every calorie will just suck the joy from what should be a pleasurable eating experience.
The biggest problem with scooping, however, is the waste! Instead of just throwing out your bagel’s insides, get creative. Levinson recommends using your leftovers to make croutons, bread crumbs, baked French toast, or stuffing.
All that being said, try not to scoop in public—you’ll look like a crazy person.