Have a massive sweet tooth? Craving something all-out- like a thick, juicy Belgian waffle? Worried it will wreck your careful health routine?
It probably will. Belgian waffles are an indulgence, not really a diet staple. Unless you fix them at home, using only healthy ingredients. Eaten regularly and without limits, they can be unhealthy.
This article will explore all the different aspects of Belgian waffles- the good and the bad. This way, you can make the right nutritional choices, without compromising on taste.
What’s a Belgian waffle? How is it different from a regular waffle?
The Belgian waffle also referred to as a Brussels or liege waffle, is a specific waffle variety. It was first introduced in the U.S. in 1962 at the Century 21 Expo or Seattle World’s Fair.
The batter is more airy and light since it uses brioche dough. The brioche dough or yeasted batter also has pearl sugar added in. Compared to standard waffles, Belgian waffles are crunchier and larger, needing their own waffle iron.
They have much deeper holes, so you can stuff them with jam, chocolate sauce, or fruit to your heart’s content. The conventional way of eating a Belgian waffle is coated with caramelized or powdered sugar, crisp on the outside and soft inside.
Calories in a Belgian waffle
A Belgian waffle’s average calories range between 150 to 450 calories. This depends on their size in terms of their girth, and shape. The shape of the waffles also makes a small impact on the calorie count.
A homemade Belgian waffle will have far fewer calories compared to restaurant waffles, such as IHOP. The type of batter will also determine calories, with the plain batter being less and flavored batters packing on the pounds.
Your choice of toppings will also hike up the calories. So fruits and nuts over chocolate, sprinkles, and sugar?
Sugar Content in a Belgian waffle
The sugar content in Belgian waffles also varies greatly depending on multiple factors. If you have just a plain waffle, the sugar content is limited to the batter. If you make a homemade batter, you can control the sugar you use.
Or, check the nutritional facts of the batter brand you use. Using additional processed toppings like glazes or syrups with sugar will also add to the sweetness count. Usually, a single waffle serving has between 5-25 grams of sugar in it.
Carb content in a Belgian waffle
The carbohydrate content in Belgian waffles varies between 20-70 carbs. Starch, sugar, and dietary fibers comprise these carbohydrates. Of these components, the sugars are the largest. Sugars are simple carbs which means they are easily digested by the body.
There are not enough fibers to provide any nutritional benefit. The easy digestion and absorption of these carbs mean spikes in energy and blood glucose levels.
Regular consumption will also cause weight gain, and digestive difficulties and lead to possible lifestyle illnesses.
Are Belgian waffles bad for you?
Belgian waffles are a sinful delight. They aren’t meant for regular consumption; rather they are treats that should be consumed in moderation. They have significant amounts of carbs, fats, and processed flour.
These refined ingredients eaten on a common basis can lead to multiple lifestyle illnesses. These include obesity, diabetes, constipation, and a slower metabolism. Not to mention the huge slab of calories that you take in each time.
One or two Belgian waffles can easily make up at least one-fourth of your daily caloric needs. You can make your Belgian waffles healthier by using multigrain batter or fortified flour. You can also swap out things like whipped cream and chocolate chips for berries and fresh fruit.
Otherwise, Belgian waffles are just unhealthy, empty carbs.
Are Belgian waffles vegan? Are they dairy-free?
Most Belgian waffles available are not vegan. These include freshly-made waffles at eateries or frozen and packaged varieties are various retailers. The waffles are usually made with some dairy products such as milk and butter.
So unless the restaurant specifically mentions a vegan option, there probably isn’t one. But you can always make your own vegan version at home, with alternatives like almond milk or oat milk.
Are Belgian waffles eggless? Can you make it without an egg?
Most Belgian waffles do use eggs. Egg whites are separated from the yolks and then beaten till there are white peaks, like for meringues. The egg yolks are then added in with milk and other wet ingredients.
The beaten egg whites are then folded into the batter mixture. This makes the batter really fluffy and creamy at the same time.
Instead of egg whites, you can use vegan-friendly eggs. There are egg substitutes that look and taste like eggs and have the same effect, such as flax seed or soy eggs. Yes, this does exist!
Are Belgian waffles gluten-free?
Belgian waffles can be gluten-free or not depending on the type of batter and additional ingredients used. The batter may contain wheat flour. To make the batter less dense you can use xanthan or guar gum. You can also add cornstarch to make the batter thicker.
Additional ingredients such as baking powder may also contain trace amounts of gluten. Substitute these with gluten-free all-purpose flour and baking powder.
For the dry ingredients use almond flour for tapioca starch as gluten-free alternatives, to whip up guilt-free, scrumptious, Belgian waffles.
Are Belgian waffles high in protein and fiber?
Belgian waffles are fairly high in protein, although they don’t rank very high in terms of fiber. Due to the eggs and milk in the batter, these waffles have as much protein as a serving of trail mix or a scoop of peanut butter with apple slices.
There are better sources, such as greek yogurt or tuna. You can also add some protein powder to the batter if you want a supplement.
In terms of fiber, Belgian waffles are dismally low. There is more fiber in chickpeas, oatmeal, and even popcorn! You can add fiber powder, or use high-fiber fruits like pears, bananas, and apples. This way, you can have your cake and eat it in a healthy way too!
Are Belgian waffles fattening?
You bet they are! Belgian waffles contain anywhere between 10-30 grams of fat, mainly from butter and oils. The daily recommended fat intake is between 20-30 grams, for women and men respectively.
The fat intake also contains saturated fats which are unhealthy. They cause hypertension, cholesterol, and deterioration in cardiac health. Add to this the sugar and sodium levels and you have yourself a recipe for weight gain and heart disease.
Can you eat Belgian waffles when pregnant?
You’re probably craving the goodness of chewy waffles and gooey toppings when you’re expecting. Unfortunately, it isn’t the healthiest thing you can eat. Belgian waffles are high in sugar, sodium, and fats, all of which need to be moderated during pregnancy.
The sugar content may trigger gestational diabetes. The trans and saturated fats in many Belgian waffle brands, either restaurant or packaged aren’t recommended during this period.
While there is nutritional value in the form of vitamins and minerals, Belgian waffles are best reserved for days when your hankering for a sweet treat gets out of hand!
Belgian waffles, unless made at home, are predominantly processed. This raises the risk of pre-term labor, miscarriages, and even growth retardation.
Can diabetics eat Belgian waffles?
The original Belgian waffle recipe would be dangerous for a diabetic. But there are ways to change the formulation and make it healthier. Replace sugars and simple carbohydrates.
You can use almond flour, quinoa, or whole wheat flour which are more complex and hard to digits. They don’t spike blood glucose as much.
Use nut butter, Stevia or Splenda, and fruits to reduce the sugar levels yet make the waffle tasty. Unsweetened cacao, chia seeds, and blueberries also make for yummy and healthy toppings.
Can dogs eat Belgian waffles?
Plain Belgian waffles are quite safe for dogs. But they should only be fed a few pieces. It has much more butter, oil, and calories than a dog should have. This should only be a rare treat, maybe when giving your dog medicines.
Never give your dog Belgian waffles which have sugar substitutes like xylitol. It is extremely poisonous for your pooch, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and listlessness. Most store-bought mixes also have many additives and preservatives which can harm your dog.
Make sure you keep your pup away from toppings like chocolate, whipped cream, and syrups which can pose serious risks to their GI system, pancreas and liver.
If today’s a Sunday after a long week, or you just need some tummy pampering, get out your waffle iron and whip up some of these Brussels delights!
If you’ve been really good and eaten your Brussels sprouts too, maybe just head over to the nearest IHOP with your loved ones and binge your Belgian blues away!
I am Anand, and I am a business owner and consultant in my day job. I have spent years studying what’s inside the products we buy. ‘Feedrer’ is a wordplay on you-know-who and talks about all things food.