While any breakfast is better than no breakfast at all, since your body needs fuel after a long night without food, waffles aren’t the healthiest option. However, you can fit them into a healthy diet if you eat them only occasionally, choose the right accompaniments and opt for the healthier whole-grain version.
At least half of the grains you consume should be whole grains, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Since many waffles are made with refined grains, they don’t contain a lot of fiber. Consuming highly processed, refined carbohydrates may increase your risk for heart disease more than consuming saturated fat, according to research published in the journal “Nutrients” in 2018. Whole grains and fiber, in contrast, reduce the risk of heart disease. Two 4-inch-square frozen waffles will provide you with 30 grams of carbohydrates but only 1.5 grams of fiber out of the daily value of 25 grams.
Consuming too much fat makes weight gain more likely, and consuming high amounts of saturated fat increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Two frozen waffles contain about 6.8 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat, which is 10 percent of the daily value for total fat and 5 percent of the DV for saturated fat. The typical 7-inch-round homemade waffle is even worse, with 10.6 grams of fat, or 16 percent of the DV, and 2 grams of saturated fat, or 11 percent of the DV.
Vitamins and Minerals
While waffles aren’t the healthiest breakfast food, they do provide essential vitamins and minerals. Two frozen waffles provide more than 20 percent of the DV for calcium, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12, as well as 19 percent of the DV for folate and 18 percent of the DV for vitamin A. Since homemade waffles aren’t fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, they contain smaller amounts of these nutrients but still provide more than 10 percent of the DV for calcium, phosphorus, thiamine, folate and riboflavin.
Choose whole-grain waffles for added fiber and eat just a small serving topped with fruit rather than adding butter and maple syrup. Each pat of butter adds 36 calories and 4 grams of fat, including 3 grams of saturated fat, which is 13 percent of the DV for saturated fat. Adding a tablespoon of maple syrup adds 52 calories and 14 grams of sugar, which is over half of the recommended limit of 25 grams per day of added sugar for women. Men should limit added sugar to no more than 38 grams per day.