Doughnut or dough-not? The skinny on 4 of your favorite breakfast pastries



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Let’s face it: Sometimes you just want something sweet for breakfast. But how much sugar is really in that muffin you had last week or the Danish you were eyeing this morning? Get the skinny on some popular breakfast pastries so you feel better equipped next time you stop at the neighborhood coffee shop on the way to work.


1. Doughnuts

No other breakfast pastry group can match the sheer variety of doughnuts available for purchase. And with a multitude of flavors, textures and finishes comes a huge swing in nutritional content. The massive doughnut list at Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, has items ranging from 270 to 500 calories, 14 to 39 grams of fat, and 4 to 49 grams of sugar per serving.

Next time you order a doughnut you probably won’t take the time to sort through all the info, so we’ll make it easier for you — avoid the doughnuts ending in “crumb,” anything labeled “coffee roll” and chocolate cake doughnuts. Better options are lemon-filled, a sugar-raised doughnut and surprisingly, the Bavarian kreme. There are also tons of doughnuts made without cholesterol — an unlikely but impressive occurrence in the pastry category.


2. Danish

Available primarily at hotels and breakfast business meetings, the Danish is the forgotten middle child of breakfast pastries. You can buy it in an array of flavors, most notably cherry, apple, strawberry and cheese, usually with a drizzle of icing across the top.

Fairly heavy, these pastries are high in sugar at 20 grams in a regular-sized Danish, and therefore are just too cloyingly sweet for some people. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re actually lower in calories and fat than many other pastry options, but they’re off the charts when it comes to cholesterol — and it’s not the good kind.


3. Muffins

Whether blueberry, coffee cake or chocolate chip, muffins rank as one of the more popular and commonplace breakfast options out there. Although nutritional content varies, muffins tend to have upwards of 300 calories and at least 7 grams of fat, if not more. On the plus side, they also provide more nutrients — such as iron, calcium and protein — than many of their counterparts. So while you probably shouldn’t scarf down a muffin for breakfast every day, they’re actually a decent choice in moderation.


4. Croissants

It’s almost impossible to turn down a warm, flaky croissant, and the good news is that you probably don’t need to. Plain butter croissants tend to be lower in calories and sugar than muffins or doughnuts and are also a decent source of iron and Vitamin A. Chocolate croissants perform slightly higher in calorie count but remain one of the healthier options when it comes to breakfast pastries. Bon appetit!