Bagels are a great vehicle for a solid breakfast, lunch or snack. Here are over delicious bagel toppings to upgrade your plain bagel.
As a working mom of two littles, I oftentimes turn to bagels for a quick and filling meal or snack. Sure you can just smear with the typical cream cheese. Delicious! OR try any of all of these topping suggestions, classic and unique.
And if you are in the mood for a good ol' toast, check out these fun toppings, which you can also spread onto bagels as well :).
More Easy Meal Ideas
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Whether you choose to slice or mash, an avocado is a great way to add healthy fats to your bagel. For an extra boost of protein with your avocado, you can add fried, scrambled or sheet pan eggs. This combination is perfect for a nice savory breakfast your whole family will love.
Peanut butter (or nut/seed butter)
A tried-and-true classic spread, peanut butter (or your favorite nut/seed butter) will satisfy just about anyone’s hunger. A mixture of sweet and salty, adding banana to your peanut butter bagel will win over the pickiest of eaters. Your kids will also enjoy the standard peanut butter and jelly slathered bagel.
My family is team cream cheese all the way. And there are plenty of ways to jazz it up a bit to work in extra nutrients. This lends itself to a more savory type of bagel, but there is nothing wrong with that!!
The first option is the classic smoked salmon, also known as lox, or sardines. To incorporate more veggies into your child’s diet, chopped veggies, such as broccoli sprinkles, grated zucchini, matchstick carrots and sliced cucumbers are crowd pleasers.
For a sweeter option to add to your cream cheese bagel, think about adding fresh strawberries, blackberries and other fruits, but also a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar goes a long way.
Or spread this healthy cream cheese frosting with greek yogurt and sweetend with honey only.
Tofu Cream Cheese
If you or someone in your family wants or needs a dairy-free topping, my tofu mayo recipe will be your new best friend. Simply spread on the bagel and top with tomato, cucumber, thinly-sliced red onion, and your choice of deli meat. Voila! Serve open-faced or as a bagel sandwich.
Ricotta might not be one of the first things you think of to top a bagel with, but let me change your mind. This thick and creamy cheese has a mild nutty flavor. It is easily mixed with other toppings to quench your hunger for something sweet or savory.
For a sweet tooth, might I suggest fresh berries, maple syrup and walnuts, or even honey. To appease the savory craving, try pesto like this zucchini pesto and tomato slices. The possibilities are endless!
Greek yogurt and fruit
Greek yogurt has been having a moment, and I can understand why. This thick and creamy yogurt is great for spreading and comes in a variety of flavors.
Top with fresh fruits or vegetables, nuts, or honey among many other delicious options.
Simple and especially great if you or your child want a plain bagel. If you have a child who needs help boosting calories or they’re underweight, this is a great option.
A standard topping, but never boring. Whether your child’s favorite flavor of jam is strawberry, grape, mango, rhubarb, or pineapple; this classic topping is sure to hit the spot.
Use store-bought or make this homemade no added sugar jam! It's SO easy to make and versatile!
Mashed sweet potatoes
With a great consistency for spreading, mashed sweet potatoes on a bagel just makes sense. It’s a healthy carb that will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Don’t forget to sprinkle some cinnamon on top for a finishing touch.
Or mix in other toppings, both sweet and savory, like avocado, chopped chicken, yogurt, finely chopped vegetables, beans...it's a great way to make every bite count!
Did someone say “pizza?” What better way to get kids excited to eat than with a pizza bagel. Similar to my English muffin pizzas, these come to the rescue for exhausted parents.
Whether you choose to use typical pizza toppings or spice it up with some healthier options, your kids will be satisfied eaters.
Salmon bean salad
Hearty and refreshing, this salmon bean salad will delight your entire family. Packing a lot of protein, carbs and healthy fat as well as other important nutrients, this dairy-free topping makes an entire meal when served on a bagel.
Make ahead of time and keep handy for quick use!
Another age old classic, egg salad. Whip up your favorite egg salad recipe that the whole family loves ahead of time for quick serving. This hearty and creamy topping is perfect for schmearing on a bagel. Great as an open-faced bagel or closed, whichever you prefer.
You can also add creamy scrambled eggs!
You might not think about applesauce to spread on a bagel, but I’m here to tell you otherwise. It is quite enjoyable for you and your kids alike. Sprinkle with cinnamon for a finishing touch.
Give my homemade applesauce recipe a try, which will allow you to get the sweetness and consistency that you’re happy with. It is another great topping that can be made ahead and used in a pinch.
You already know about meatball subs, but what about a meatball bagel sandwich? This is a fun way to elevate meatballs to the next level. Meatballs can be made with so many different food combinations, there is something for everyone.
Simply cut meatballs into thin slices. spread sauce on a bagel half, layer the meatball slices then top with cheese…Ta-da! Enjoy!
Hummus is an amazing option for a bagel schmear. There are endless ways to flavor hummus to please the entire family, whether it be sweet or savory. Additional toppings of veggies, such as cucumber, onion, tomato, and bell peppers will complete your bagel sandwich.
Thai Peanut Coconut Dip
Combine peanut butter, Thai curry paste, and coconut milk and you've got a flavor-packed Peanut coconut sauce/dip that you can spread onto bagel, stir into pasta, enjoy as a dip for vegetables...So good!
Thinking outside of the box for your bagel spreads will delight everyone’s taste buds. A dip that is loaded with veggies has the consistency that is right for spreading. Using veggie-loaded dips as a bagel schmear is a nice way to work extra nutrients into your child’s diet in a creative way.
This is another great opportunity to use additional fresh vegetables as toppings. Give some of these recipes a try. You won’t be sorry!
Bagel for Babies and Kids
Bagel, just like any bread, is a great source of carbohydrates, one of the main sources of dietary energy and essential for growth and development. I know a lot of adults follow a low-carb diet for various reasons, but please do not restrict your child from carbohydrates.
When it comes to choosing the best bagels for babies and toddlers, opt for whole grains for added fiber and protein. And select one that has the least amount of sodium and added sugar.
Mini bagels are great as they are easier to hold and eat.
For babies, do make sure there's no honey in the ingredient list as it can cause infant botulism.
Although the texture of bagels makes it challenging for babies to consume much of it, if any, it will be great for building jaw strength and promoting oral motor development.
Do add any of the nutritious toppings mentioned above, which will make it into their belles as they gnaw/suck on the bagel.
Also, cut the bread into big pieces as pictured - bigger is safer for babies! For older babies who've developed their pincer grasp, you can try offering bite-sized pieces. But do continue serving big pieces so they can practice taking bites.
Related: Ultimate guide to finger foods
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