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Croissants are a type of pastry known for their buttery flavor, flaky texture, and signature crescent-like shape.
Though they’re considered a staple in French bakeries and patisseries, croissants were adapted from the kipferl, a type of yeast bread roll that originated in Austria.
Today, they’re available with a variety of flavors and fillings. They’re even served at many restaurants and fast-food chains around the world.
However, many people are uncertain whether this popular pastry can fit into a healthy diet.
This article reviews the nutritional information, benefits, and downsides of croissants, as well as some simple tips on how to make them healthier.
The calorie content of croissants varies depending on the specific type.
Croissants are also on the menus of many fast-food restaurants. They’re often served alone or as a sandwich with fillings such as eggs, cheese, or meat.
The calorie content of croissants varies depending on the brand, flavor, and fillings. Most types contain 231–500 calories per serving.
Croissants are relatively high in calories, fat, and carbs.
They also contain selenium. Plus, some types of flours used to make croissants are enriched with B vitamins like thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and niacin (11).
One medium butter croissant contains (
- Calories: 231
- Protein: 5 grams
- Carbs: 26 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Selenium: 24% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamine: 18% of the DV
- Folate: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 13% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 11% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid: 10% of the DV
- Sodium: 10% of the DV
- Niacin: 8% of the DV
- Manganese: 8% of the DV
- Iron: 6% of the DV
Selenium is an important nutrient that protects your body against oxidative stress and affects the function of your thyroid gland (
Meanwhile, B vitamins like thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and niacin are involved in energy production, brain health, DNA repair, and more (
Still, keep in mind that the nutrient profile for croissants differs depending on the specific flavor, brand, and fillings.
For example, the Croissan’wich from Burger King — which is made with sausage, egg, and cheese — contains close to twice as many calories and five times as much sodium as a standard medium butter croissant (8).
Adding other toppings like jam, cream cheese, or butter will also change the overall nutritional value.
Croissants are relatively high in calories, carbs, and fat. They may also contain selenium and B vitamins like thiamine and folate. Keep in mind that the exact nutritional value will vary depending on the specific type.
Croissants can increase your intake of several important nutrients, including selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin A.
Croissants also contain a small amount of protein per serving. This macronutrient is necessary for immune health, weight management, wound healing, and more (
Many popular toppings, including eggs, cheese, and meat, increase the amount of protein in your morning meal.
Furthermore, croissants are incredibly versatile and can be paired with a wealth of nutrient-dense toppings and fillings.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and herbs are a few healthy toppings that can give your croissant an easy, tasty, and nutritious upgrade.
Croissants contain several important nutrients. They’re versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Though croissants can fit into a healthy diet in moderation, there are several downsides to consider.
High in calories
Croissants are somewhat high in calories, with certain varieties packing up to 500 calories in a single serving (8).
Adding high calorie toppings to your croissant or pairing it with side dishes or drinks — such as hash browns or orange juice — can also significantly increase the calorie content of your meal.
This may be an important consideration if you’re trying to lose weight, as consuming more calories than you use throughout the day can contribute to weight gain (
High in sodium
Croissants are often high in sodium. For example, a plain butter croissant contains 219 mg (
Versions served at fast-food chains are often even higher in sodium. For example, the Bacon, Egg & Swiss Croissant from Wendy’s contains a whopping 900 mg (10).
The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of around 1,500 mg per day for most adults (
Some research also suggests that consuming a higher amount of sodium may be linked to a higher risk of heart disease (
May contain saturated fat and trans fat
Saturated fat is a type of fat found in many animal products, including red meat, cheese, and butter.
Furthermore, some research suggests that eating foods that are highly processed and rich in both saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, such as croissants, may harm heart health. Therefore, some people may need to moderate their intake (
According to the American Heart Association, most adults should limit their intake of saturated fat to around 5–6% of their total daily calories (
For example, if you’re consuming about 2,000 calories per day, you should limit your intake of saturated fat to 11–13 grams per day.
Because croissants are made with butter, they typically contain a decent amount of saturated fat per serving. For instance, a medium plain croissant provides nearly 7 grams of saturated fat — that’s 54–63% of the daily limit if you eat a 2,000-calorie diet (
Certain types of croissants may also contain a small amount of trans fat — a type of fat found in some processed foods that can increase levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (
The American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake of processed foods to help reduce your consumption of trans fat (
Certain types of croissants are relatively high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat, which some people may need to limit. Some types may also contain trans fat, which can have harmful effects on health.
Proper storage is important to maintain the texture, flavor, and freshness of croissants.
If stored at room temperature, they should be wrapped in foil or packed individually in a plastic bag. They’re best consumed within 2 days.
You can wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, though this may slightly change their texture.
Croissants also last 1–2 months in the freezer. Be sure to cover them in plastic wrap before freezing and thaw them on the countertop before heating to keep them from becoming soggy.
Croissants can be stored at room temperature for 2 days. You can store them longer in the refrigerator or freezer, though this can slightly change their texture.
Croissants can definitely fit into a healthy, well-rounded diet if enjoyed in moderation.
In fact, pairing your croissant with ingredients rich in protein and fiber can easily transform this pastry into a balanced and nutritious meal.
For the best results, steer clear of croissant sandwiches from fast-food restaurants. These are often highly processed and loaded with sodium.
Instead, try making your own meal at home using healthy fillings and toppings such as:
- nut butter
- banana slices
- fresh herbs
- cream cheese
If you’re trying to reduce your intake of calories, fat, sodium, or sugar, you may also want to limit toppings like butter, jam, jelly, and processed meats.
Choosing a smaller croissant or saving half for later is another way to cut back on calories.
Selecting healthy toppings can enhance the nutritional value of your croissant. If you’re limiting your intake of calories, fat, sodium, or sugar, you may also want to limit certain toppings or reduce your portion size.
The nutritional content of croissants can vary quite a bit. Many varieties are high in calories, sodium, and added sugar.
Regardless, they can still fit into a healthy, balanced diet if enjoyed in moderation.
Ideally, try adding your own healthy toppings at home — such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, eggs, or nut butter — to make a more balanced meal. It’s also a good idea to avoid fast-food versions.