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How many calories in a fry up? Healthy alternatives to the UK breakfast institution

Iram Sharifah Khan September 15, 2020
how many calories in a fry up

Ever been hungover and found yourself Googling “how many calories in a fry up”? What nutrition does a full English breakfast really provide and what healthier alternatives are there?

A full English breakfast has been a staple food in British culture since its origins in the early 1300s, readily available in English pubs, cafes and at home. When digging into a hearty fry up it’s hard not to sit there and think “how many calories in a fry up”?

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

A good ol’ fry up has many a Brit salivating at the mention. As a comfort food it can be stodgy and greasy, making it perfect for the morning after a night out! But how many calories are in a classic English fry up?

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How many calories in a fry up?

A fry up is normally anywhere upwards of 1,300 calories on one plate.
Let’s break down the calories of each food item that would be on your plate.
Assuming each item is about 100g and pan-fried:

Fried egg – 196 calories
Sausage – 301 calories
Bacon – 541 calories
Slice of tomato – 60 calories
Whole mushroom – 44 calories
Toast – 313 calories
White or black pudding – 379 calories
Beans – 155 calories
Hash browns – 326 calories
Tea or coffee – 0 to 1 calories

If you add it all up, that’s a whopping 2,316 calories!

That’s more than the recommended daily allowance for males and females. Male calorie allowance is 2,500 calories, while feemale calorie allowance is 2,000 calories

Is a fry up breakfast nutritionally sound?

Fry ups are notoriously high in cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium, carbohydrates and protein. Although it is a staple food regularly consumed by most Brits, it can be tasking on the arteries and the rest of the body to work off the carbs, sugar and fat.

To make things worse, a fry up is very low in fibre, which is needed to help soften stools and avoid constipation – yeesh! Overall, it isn’t a nutritious or recommended meal.

According to Healthline nutritionist Kayla McDonell: “Eating fried food may increase your risk of disease.” This could be heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

With this in mind, many people generally opt for healthier breakfast options with the exclusion of fad dieting, which is always trending and not as healthy as people might think!
What dieting is really like.

Healthy alternatives to a fry up’s constituents

Let’s talk about some healthier breakfast alternatives to a fry up and start with changing small eating habits, food items you might have on a regular basis in the morning.


Swapping out dairy for dairy-free substitutes such as oat, almonds or coconut milk helps lower fat consumption. Although Dairy has more naturally occurring sugars, it’s not a natural substance the human body can consume as, when you think about it, no other mammal consumes the milk of another animal aside from humans. Making this swap will be better for your overall health and help to lower cholesterol.


Eggs are a fantastic way to start your morning. Poaching your eggs instead of frying them ensures you’re able to reap the most benefit from an egg’s nutritional value as they are rich with vitamins such as A, D, B2, B12 and protein.

The science behind this is the more heat applied to an egg, the more the egg’s structural compound changes, which in turn removes nutritional value. Poaching in place of frying means you don’t use as much heat and don’t need to use fats such as oil or butter.


Most people like to start theirs or their children’s day with cereal. It has become a regular item in most households and most supermarkets will have a dedicated aisle – so why not buy it right?.

Photo by Melissa Belanger on Unsplash

You could be making a mistake. Cereals are mass-produced with high levels of sugar and refined carbs. They are known to spike blood sugar levels.
Why not swap cereal for organic oats?

They can be easily flavoured to your liking with seeds, jam and fruit or anything else that takes your fancy. They are high in fibre and minerals and low in sugar as well as being gluten-free, meaning less bloat!


Fruit is perfect if you’re not a person who can eat first thing in the morning, if you are still hungry after a small breakfast or even if you are feeling a bit snacky.

The downside is it can be high in sugar, although it is also packed with vitamins. In moderation, fruit is very healthy especially whole fruit, meaning skin and pulp too.


It’s one of the most common food items found in any house and bread is consumed regularly across the world as breakfast. White bread is made with fortified chemicals and high fructose corn syrup, making it a risk for diabetes. Subbing this out for brown bread means less caloric intake, less carbs and fat and a good healthy source of fibre.

Not to say you need to eat lettuce all the live long day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

BBC GoodFood has some fab breakfast recipes that are easy to follow and packed with nutritional value.

Here are some extra tips from the NHS to help you adjust to eating well and avoid an upset tummy!

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Iram is a London-based freelance journalist with a BA in Journalism and Media from Birkbeck University. She studied several modules, including Journalism in British Life, Interview skills and Feature Writing, Introduction to Journalism Practice and Manga and Anime. Iram went from university to work with GRV Media at The Focus Writers’ Academy and enjoys learning Japanese, taking singing lessons, playing video games and watching Korean dramas in her spare time.