Scones, like bagels and muffins and other breakfast varieties, are a common food option in coffee houses and bakeries. Paired with a cup of coffee or tea, they make for a delicious snack, breakfast or dessert. A scone’s nutritional value will vary based upon the size and the flavor. Generally speaking, though, scones are not low-calorie foods–nor are they the best choice in terms of nutritional impact. Today’s scones are largely comprised of empty calories. Here’s the nutritional breakdown of this treat.
What’s in a Scone?
A scone is technically a British quickbread. The basic kinds were originally made with some kind of wheat, oatmeal or barley and baking powder. The originally scones weren’t nearly as sweet, which should come as no surprise. Today the ingredient list for scones has increased, as has the sugar content. The scones found today in American coffee shops and bakeries are much sweeter and contain fillings like blueberry, cranberry or even chocolate chips. Basic ingredients are as follows: flour, refined sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
A scone is a delicious complement to your morning cup of coffee, but it can easily account for one-fourth of your daily calories. Again, the calorie count of a scone is largely due to its size, but the average scone (like one from Starbucks) is at least 400 calories. That’s about equivalent to a large muffin or a bagel found in a coffee shop. 400 calories isn’t bad for breakfast, but it can be a bit much in terms of a mid-afternoon snack, especially when you consider it’s not well-rounded nutritionally. Add butter on top or enjoy with a fancy coffee drink (like a mocha or a latte) and you’ve upped the calorie count significantly.
A scone is made with butter and buttermilk. Some varieties are fried. As a result, the saturated fat content in scones is relatively high. A blueberry scone from Starbucks, for example, contains 18 grams of saturated fat. For context, it’s recommended that a person on a 1600-calorie-per-day diet consume less than 18 grams of fat each day. The scone alone does you in. Not all scones are going to be this fattening, but you can expect similar fat content in scones found in chain coffee houses.
Carbs and Protein
If you’re looking for a high protein breakfast, you better eat some eggs with your scone. Most scones have less than six grams of protein. What they lack in protein they more than make up in carbohydrates and fat. Unfortunately, the carbohydrates are not complex, which means they’re also relatively low in fiber.
In short, eating a scone from time to time isn’t a problem. Truthfully, there are worse things you can eat. But nutritionally speaking, for 400 or more calories you could eat something much more well-rounded. Consider only eating half of a scone with something high in protein, like egg whites.