When you’re looking for something that is salty and crunchy, you can’t go wrong with a pretzel. Some other similar snacks include popcorn and potato chips.
Despite high-calorie buttery popcorn and chips being a popular snack option, you may be wondering whether or not this applies to pretzels, too.
Since pretzels mainly consist of refined wheat flour, some processed sugar and oil, and a good amount of sodium/ salt, they are not the best go-to snack.
That said, they are generally lower in calories. Depending on the type of bagel you choose, whether or not they are homemade, and contain wheat flour alternatives, can influence their health factor.
With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about soft pretzels and their heal
Let’s get started.
What Are Pretzels?
Pretzels are a type of bread made with rye or wheat flour, as well as a few other essential ingredients including sugar, yeast, salt, sugar, butter, and water.
The snack itself is generally associated with Germany, however, various forms have emerged throughout Europe in the medieval period – particularly in Austria, Italy, and France.
However, today, you can find pretzels all over the globe. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, however, the classic shape is a twisted knot.
It is believed that the classic pretzel twist was created by a monk who baked the pretzel to resemble the shape of praying arms.
When it comes to soft pretzels, these are usually large and feature a chewy texture. Typically, they are served individually at bakeries, concession stands, and restaurants.
On the other hand, hard pretzels are crunchy and small – whereby they can be eaten by the handful. You can find these at most convenience and grocery stores.
The classic pretzel is flavored with salt, however, you can enhance the flavors by adding cinnamon sugar, garlic, chocolate, nuts, and seeds, or any other additional toppings.
They are often served with yogurt dipping sauce, mustard, or cheese.
Before being placed in the oven, pretzels are coated with a sodium hydroxide solution known as lye. This creates a chemical reaction that turns them shiny and brown when baked.
Generally, food-grade sodium hydroxide is safe to consume, however, when used incorrectly, it can be dangerous. Therefore, it is typically only used in food processing plants.
When made at home, you can simply substitute this with baking soda to achieve a similar texture and flavor.
Are Pretzels Healthy?
When it comes to determining whether or not a particular food is ‘healthy’, this is extremely subjective. However, breaking down the nutrition helps to inform that decision.
Generally speaking, pretzels make for a healthy snack – especially when made at home. Featuring few ingredients, they contain little to no fat and are low in calories.
However, you should keep in mind that not all pretzels are made the same. For instance, some are made using a lot of sugar and butter – which can change the calorific profile.
Therefore, while most pretzels can be considered a healthy snack, there are some exceptions to the fact.
If you’re following a keto diet or prefer to eat foods that are low in carbs, then pretzels may not be the most ideal snack for you.
For instance, if you’re eating a large soft pretzel, you’re looking at getting around 100g of carbs.
One large soft pretzel generally contains around:
- 483 calories
- 99.23 grams carbohydrates
- 11.73 grams protein
- 4.43 grams fat
- 2.4 grams fiber
- 0.36 grams sugar
- 2008 milligrams sodium
Since soft pretzels are much larger, they often contain much more butter and dough – making them higher in calories.
Freshly made soft pretzels will usually contain anything up to 500 calories and 100 grams of carbohydrates.
However, when compared to the hard, packaged kinds, they usually contain less sodium.
Flavorings, Dips, And Fillings Add Calories
While plain pretzels can be pretty simple, you can add a range of different toppings to enhance the flavors, including cheese or peanut butter.
These types of fillings provide a somewhat candy coating. Plus, you can serve them with a dipping sauce, too.
These types of ingredients will likely add extra salt, sugar, and calories to your pretzel snack.
For instance, you can purchase a soft cinnamon-sugar pretzel from a popular pretzel chain – for instance Auntie Anne’s – which contains 470 calories.
The original pretzels from this store contain 340 calories. That said, when paired with a dipping sauce, you’re adding around 45-170 to the meal.
In addition to this, if you enjoy hard pretzels, you should know that 1 ounce (28 grams) of chocolate-covered hard pretzels contain 130 calories compared to the 109 plain hard pretzels.
However, if you enjoy eating flavored pretzels, then there is nothing wrong with enjoying them from time to time.
If you’re concerned about your nutritional intake or are counting calories, then might want to consider moderating your filled or flavored pretzel consumption and opt for plain ones, instead.
How To Make Pretzels Healthier?
If you’re craving a pretzel, then there is nothing wrong with eating them from time to time – you shouldn’t feel guilty about it!
That said, you can make them more nutritionally sound by only eating a single serving and opting for a more protein-rich dipping sauce to maintain your blood sugar response.
Some good options include nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew), as well as hummus.
Likewise, when shopping for pretzels, opt for whole-grain ones that are low in salt.
Pretzels make for a delicious, quick snack, however, if you’re following a diet or conscious of your calorie intake, you’ll want to be careful with the different types of pretzels you’re eating.
That said, when making smart topping and filling choices, pretzels can make for a healthy snack. Hopefully, this guide has informed you about pretzels and their calorific profile.
- How Many Calories In A Bratwurst? - May 9, 2023
- How Many Calories In A McDonald’s Ice Cream Cone? - May 9, 2023
- How Many Calories In Chick-Fil-A Fries? - May 9, 2023