A continental breakfast can be healthy if the meal items are carefully chosen. The traditional European continental breakfast isn't considered healthy as it's usually pastries and fruit. If a small granola bar is substituted for pastry and is eaten with fresh fruit plus protein and dairy, the continental style of breakfast can become healthier.
Some hotels have European style pastry continental breakfasts, while others serve fatty meats in addition to cereal choices. It's worth asking about the hotel or motel breakfast when making reservations. Having a small fridge in the room can help guests store healthy breakfast and snack choices such as milk, non-fat yogurt, fruit juices, low fat cheese, and peanut butter. Healthy whole grain cereal, granola bars, and fresh fruit can be kept in the room to be used with the refrigerated food items.
It's important to be wary of continental breakfast foods that look healthier than they actually are. For example, bagels contain about 400 calories, which for many people is close to their calorie amount for an entire breakfast. A half of a whole wheat bagel can be considered a healthy choice, but it may not be as filling as two slices of grainy toast. Whole wheat rolls are a healthy substitute for fat laden croissants.
While a smaller bran muffin can be a healthy addition to a continental breakfast, large muffins may have fat, sugar, and calorie amounts that are more equivalent to cakes than healthy muffins. Granola is a nutritious food since it contains whole oats and nuts, yet it should be only eaten in small amounts because of its high fat content. Rather than eating large bowls of it with milk at a continental breakfast, topping non-fat yogurt with a small amount of granola with nuts is a great way to get needed nutrition. Eating smaller amounts means that the fat content won't be too high. Having a small granola bar is another alternative.
Vegetable juice is a healthy beverage choice that is offered at some hotel or motel continental breakfasts. It can also be stored in an in-room fridge. Vegetable juices are usually tomato-based and contain many other vegetables such as carrots and spinach. Both fruit and vegetable juices without any sugar additives are considered nutritious, but fresh whole fruits and vegetables have more fiber. Having a piece of fresh fruit along with some vegetable juice can be a healthy accompaniment to a continental breakfast.