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Is French Toast Healthy? Nutrition, Calories
Nutrition

Is French Toast Healthy? Nutrition, Calories

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on November 6, 2022
247 Views
7 min

French toast is a popular breakfast favorite, often topped with maple syrup and fruit. However, many often wondered about its nutritional value.

is french toast healthy

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French toast is a starchy breakfast dish many around the world love to enjoy. It is a comforting, tasty dessert-like meal. 

Many eat French toast with an abundance of maple syrup, chocolate sauces, and whipped cream.

Therefore, you may understand it can be high in sugar and fat, especially due to some of the sweet toppings. However, you might wonder if there are ways to make your French toast more nutritious and decrease the caloric value?

Read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of eating French toast!

Is French Toast Healthy?

Yes and no, French toast is high in calories, carbohydrates, and added sugar. To make your toast healthier, substitute wheat bread instead of white bread, fresh or frozen fruit instead of maple syrup, and more.

Is French Toast Good for Weight Loss? 

Since French toast is made primarily of white bread, it is high in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. Therefore, this meal is not the best breakfast option for weight loss. 

However, there are some substitutes you can make to increase the nutrition of the breakfast meal – more on this below! Healthy French toast can be a filling breakfast option for those looking to lose weight. 

Healthy French Toast Recipe 

Let’s break down how to make a healthy French toast recipe. 

French toast is bread soaked in an egg and milk mixture and then fried in a pan on the stovetop. It is a quick and easy meal, perfect for the whole family. 

To make healthy French toast, start with whole-grain bread. Whole-grain bread has much more fiber than white bread. 

If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, you can substitute whole-wheat bread with gluten-free bread. 

Make an egg mixture by whisking together eggs and low-fat milk. You can also use a non-dairy milk alternative such as cashew, soy, or almond milk

Add some spices to the egg mixture, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and even vanilla extract, to boost the flavor and promote additional health benefits.

Place a slice of the bread in the bowl with the liquid egg mixture and let it soak for about 10–15 seconds before flipping it over and repeating the process.

Move the bread that has been soaked in the egg mixture to an oiled frying pan on low heat. 

Many prefer to fry their toast in higher-fat oils such as coconut oil. However, these oils, like coconut oil, are high in saturated fat.

The saturated fat found in coconut oil can contribute to heart disease. 

Cook the bread until golden brown, then flip and let that side cook.

Top with fresh or frozen fruit and 100% pure maple syrup, and enjoy! A serving is approximately one slice of healthy French toast.

You can freeze healthy French toast if you have leftovers!

What Toppings Are Recommended to Put on French Toast? 

Many enjoy topping their dish with maple syrup, whipped cream, butter, chocolate syrup, or caramel. However, there are some healthier topping options to add instead.

To still get that sweet flavor that you likely associate with the delicious toast, use a natural sweetener including honey, blue agave nectar, or 100% pure maple syrup. While these choices of sweeteners still have sugar, they also contain beneficial nutrients. 

Furthermore, to make healthy French toast, you can top it with sugar-free maple syrup to reduce the sugar content even more. 

Add cut-up pieces of fresh or frozen fruit such as bananas, berries, and melon to add sweetness, vitamins, and minerals to your French toast. Additionally, adding fruit can also help incorporate dietary fiber into your breakfast.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract and can lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Additionally, you could top it with Greek yogurt and granola. The granola can provide some whole grain and fiber, while the Greek yogurt can provide probiotics, calcium, and protein. 

Including protein and fiber in your breakfast helps make just a slice or two more filling, satisfying, and energizing. 

Pair your breakfast with a glass of milk or a non-dairy milk alternative to boost the protein, vitamin D, and calcium content. 

NFS French Toast Nutritional Facts 

Let’s dive into the nutritional information of a serving of French toast.

Nutritional table (per 100g) 

Calories/NutrientAmount
Calories (Kcal)272
Net Carbs (g)32.2
Fibers (g)1.2
Sugars (g)10.1
Fats (Total)11.2
Protein (g)10.4
Cholesterol (mg)160
Sodium (mg)323

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1101493/nutrients  

High in calories 

A 100g serving of French toast containing approximately one and a half slices of bread contains 272 calories. Remember that this information is for plain toast without toppings. 

Adding sugary toppings such as whipped cream, maple syrup, and chocolate sauce can increase the caloric value even more.

Therefore, French toast is high in calories, especially compared to other breakfast choices such as yogurt and granola or an omelet. 

However, if the healthy French toast is made with wheat bread, low-fat dairy (or non-dairy milk, such as almond milk), and instead has fresh fruit as a topping, it will be more filling and nutritious, and you will be full after eating less of it. 

High in vitamins and minerals 

Bread, including white bread often used for French toast, is rich in B vitamins that help chemical reactions in the body occur. However, rather than occurring naturally, most B vitamins are added to bread during processing, also known as a fortification.

Bread is especially high in thiamine or vitamin B1. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, vitamin B1 plays a role in cell functioning and growth. Unfortunately, the liver holds only tiny amounts of thiamine, so it must be consumed daily.

Another B vitamin in bread is riboflavin or vitamin B2. Like vitamin B1, riboflavin supports healthy cell growth, helps produce body energy, and breaks down and metabolizes fats. 

Finally, another essential nutrient in bread is niacin or vitamin B3. Niacin is an antioxidant that helps protect cells in the body from free radicals. Additionally, niacin helps produce and repair genetic material and DNA.

High in saturated fat 

French toast has about 3.5g of saturated fat per 100g serving (approximately one and a half slices of bread).

Saturated fat is typically found in animal products; therefore, the high amount of fat here is likely due to the milk and eggs. 

To reduce the amount of saturated fat, substitute your whole milk or cream for dairy that is low in fat or even skims. 

Saturated fat can also come from the cooking process if the toast is prepared in a high-fat oil, such as coconut oil. 

Additionally, you could opt for a low-fat non-dairy milk alternative. Avoid using high-fat milks such as coconut milk that have excess amounts of saturated fat.

High in carbs 

Since French toast is bread-based, it contains a significant amount of carbohydrates. Specifically, it has 32.2g of carbs in a serving of 100g. 

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and are essential for proper functioning, including that healthy brain function.

However, if you want to reduce the carbohydrates you consume, stick with just a slice or two of bread. Additionally, consume French toast in moderation since it can also be high in sugar. 

A moderate amount of sodium 

Based on the United States Department of Agriculture food database, a 100g serving of French toast has over 300mg of sodium. 

Often it is high in sodium because sodium is a preservative used to extend the shelf-life of items at the grocery store. However, if you are making your breakfast at home, it will have a lot less sodium than store-bought frozen versions, including French toast sticks.

In other words, the best healthy French toast is one you make yourself! When you make French toast at home, you can control exactly how much sugar, salt, and fat is added in.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300mg of sodium daily for overall health. However, it is ideal to finish closer to 1,500mg daily instead. 

A diet with excess sodium can contribute to heart disease, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. 

High in cholesterol 

Finally, French toast is high in cholesterol, with 160mg per 100g serving. Cholesterol comes from animal products and is mainly coming from the egg ingredient.

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming as little cholesterol as possible as a healthy and balanced diet.

A Word From a Dietitian

Overall, French toast is an energy-dense, also known as a calorie-dense, food because it has low amounts of nutrients per calorie it contains. 

Traditional French toast is white bread soaked in egg and milk and fried in a pan on the stovetop. However, if you substitute whole-wheat bread for white bread, you significantly boost your nutrition, including dietary fiber.

Additionally, skip the sugary breakfast toppings such as chocolate, maple syrup, and whipped cream. Instead, top your healthy French toast with fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola to get even more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

Finally, if you make French toast at home, substitute the milk choice with a low-fat or skim dairy option or a low-fat non-dairy milk alternative, such as unsweetened almond milk.

Conclusion

French toast is a food to be enjoyed in moderation, but it is better to opt for whole-wheat toast with avocado, salmon, or other savory toppings in it. However, using the substitutions mentioned in this article, you can also add some nutrition to your French toast!

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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