For a quick breakfast, many folks turn to frozen options, like waffles. We checked out 5 popular brands to see how healthy they really are.
For this taste test, we looked at taste, texture and nutrition information including calories, fat and fiber. We rated each brand on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest).
Several of the brands contained high amounts of numerous B-vitamins, which are typically found when enriched wheat flour is used (the government mandates that enriched products must re-add B-vitamins). So don’t be fooled into thinking they’re healthier, since vitamins are lost during processing and then added back in.
In general, frozen waffles can be a healthful breakfast option as long as you stick to reasonable portions (2 waffles are a serving size) and top with healthy options, like fresh fruit or chopped nuts and a moderate amount of maple syrup (2 tablespoons or so).
Aunt Jemima Homestyle Waffles
Nutrition Info (per 2 waffles): 170 calories; 5 grams fat; less than 1 gram fiber
Our Take: With corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors and enriched wheat flour as the primary ingredient, this brand leaves a lot to be desired. The flavor was also a disappointment – although crispy, it tasted like cardboard.
Van’s Totally Natural Waffles
Nutrition Info (per 2 waffles): 230 calories; 7 grams fat; 1 gram fiber
Our Take: The flavor of these waffles was fresh, crispy with a slightly sweet aftertaste—the favorite of the bunch. The box touts that these waffles are made without high fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors. They’re also gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. Instead of wheat flour, they’re made with brown rice flour, potato starch, rice flour and soy flour. Even with the alternate starches, the fiber content is about the same as most other brands.
Nature’s Path Homestyle
Nutrition Info (per 2 waffles): 270 calories; 10 grams fat; 2 grams fiber
Our Take: This gluten-free, organic brand has a pleasant flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste. It’s made from brown rice flour, corn flour and potato starch. On the downside, it’s also the highest of the five brands in calories and grams of fat.
Eggo Homestyle Waffles
Nutrition Info (per 2 waffles): 190 calories; 7 grams fat; less than 1 gram fiber
Our Take: This brand had a crunchy texture and fluffy mouth feel. The first ingredient is enriched wheat flour, which explains all the extra B-vitamins and iron listed on the nutrition facts label.
Earth’s Best Organic Mini Waffles
Nutrition Info (per 2 sheets of minis): 180 calories; 7 grams fat; 4 grams fiber
Our Take: Although Earth’s Best is marketed to kids (as you can see from the cartoon image on the box), it’s a healthy option for adults too. The waffle looks darker in color and isn’t as crunchy as many of the other brands, but you can taste the whole grain.
TELL US: What’s your favorite brand of frozen waffles?
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »