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McDonald's Menu: Healthiest Breakfast Sandwiches

McDonald's Menu: Healthiest Breakfast Sandwiches

Keep these breakfast sandwiches in mind if you’re looking to eat healthy

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An Egg McMuffin contains 300 calories and 13 grams of fat.

Since pioneering the concept of fast-food breakfast decades ago, McDonald’s has offered one of the most comprehensive breakfasts in all of fast-food history. Some of those breakfasts are incredibly unhealthy (their unhealthiest item on the entire McDonald’s menu is the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes, which contains nearly 1,100 calories) but others aren’t really so bad. Here are the five healthiest breakfast items on the McDonald’s menu, from a calorie standpoint.

#5 Steak, Egg, & Cheese McMuffin
Calories: 430
Fat: 23g
Sodium: 960mg

#4 Sausage McGriddle
Calories: 420
Fat: 22g
Sodium: 1,030mg

#3 Sausage McMuffin
Calories: 370
Fat: 23g
Sodium: 780mg

#2 Egg McMuffin
Calories: 300
Fat: 13g
Sodium: 750mg

#1 Egg White Delight McMuffin
Calories: 250
Fat: 8g
Sodium: 770mg

The 11 Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts, According To Nutritionists

Whether you're on a long-ass road trip or just feel extremely lazy in the morning, finding a healthy fast-food breakfast that actually satisfies you can seem about as impossible as these burpee variations.

Luckily, more and more chains are expanding their menus (praise be) to include options beyond your typical greasy BEC. Still, navigating the better-for-you options can be a little tricky.

Karen Ansel, RD, author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging, recommends keeping your quick morning meal in the range of 300 to 400 calories. Beyond that, prioritize eats that also provide fiber, protein, and some healthy fat.

&ldquoFiber and protein slow down the rate at which you digest your food, so they can help you stay satiated throughout the morning,&rdquo Ansel says.

Shoot for at least five grams of fiber, which is easy (phwew) if you opt for whole-grain options like oatmeal or a whole-wheat wrap or bagel. However, squeezing in enough protein can be a little trickier since you need more of it. Ansel recommends aiming for 15 to 20 grams (foods like eggs and yogurt can help get you there).

As always, keep an eye out for sugar. &ldquoSugar can definitely be an issue at breakfast, even beyond the obvious offenders, like donuts and cinnamon rolls,&rdquo says Ansel. Smoothies, for example, may contain frozen yogurt or added sweeteners&mdashand are often so large that you&rsquore getting three to four servings of fruit per blend.

&ldquoConsidering just about anything you order from a fast food restaurant is going to have more than enough fat and calories, be mindful of your portion sizes,&rdquo Ansel adds. &ldquoWhenever you can squeeze in a serving of fruit or vegetables, that&rsquos a bonus,&rdquo she says.

To eliminate the guesswork (and online menu stalking), order up one of these dietitian-approved breakfasts next time you're on the go.

14 Healthiest Fast Food Breakfasts, According to Registered Dietitians

These are the best options at Starbucks, McDonald's, and other major chains.

Fast food restaurants may seem like the last place where you could find a healthy and hearty breakfast, as many options are packed with more than a day's worth of sodium, sugar, and calories. But it's possible. Many registered dietitians actually say there are decent morning meals you can find at the drive-through that are low in carbs and high in protein and fiber.

To help you make the right food choices, we consulted RDs about their top fast food breakfast picks. The best part: they won't sabotage your weight loss goals at all. In fact, they might even keep you from indulging in unhealthy temptations. While it's always best to prep your own breakfasts at home, here are some of the healthiest fast food breakfasts to pick up the next time you just can't whip up your own morning meal.

There are plenty of good breakfast options at Starbucks, but the sous vide egg bites are best if you're craving eggs sans bread.

&ldquoThe Starbucks sous vide egg bites are super high in protein, have adequate calories (170 to 350 calories) depending on flavor, and contain no carbs,&rdquo says Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN.

Our pick: The egg white and red pepper egg bites clock in 170 calories, 13 grams of protein, and only seven grams of fat.

Nutrition info: 170 calories, 7 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 500 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 13 g protein

Yes, you can have your McDonald's and eat it, too. The Egg McMuffin is built with eggs, Canadian bacon, and cheese on an English muffin to supercharge you through lunch.

&ldquoI know it sounds unhealthy, but with only 300 calories and 18 grams of protein, an Egg McMuffin from McDonald&rsquos will fill you up not out, and an added bonus is that you can eat it on-the-fly,&rdquo Shapiro says.

Nutrition info: 300 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 750 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 18 g protein

You'll want to skip the donuts with your coffee at Dunkin', but their savory breakfast sandwiches are a winning choice. The egg white veggie sandwich features an egg white omelet with diced red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and green onions. It's also topped with American cheese.

At 290 calories and 14 grams of protein, Shapiro recommends this dish over any greasy egg-and-cheese sandwich any day.

Nutrition info: 290 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 690 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 14 g protein

What's great about ordering at Taco Bell is that you can customize your meal any way you want. Shapiro's go-to are the breakfast soft tacos, which you can load up with eggs, cheese, guac, or pico de gallo. The "Make It Fresca" option at Taco Bell replaces dairy- and mayo-based sauces and guacamole with pico de gallo. This automatically subtracts 20 calories from your meal.

"It has 240 calories, is fairly low in sodium, and is high in protein and delicious flavor," Shapiro says. Keep in mind that since Taco Bell's menu is customizable, the calorie counts will vary, but here is the nutritional info for one that's made with eggs, cheese, and pico de gallo.

Nutrition info: 230 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 560 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 12 g protein

Some of the smoothies and acai bowls at Jamba Juice can pack more than a day's worth of sugar because many of them load up on juice blends and sweeteners, in addition to a ton of fruit. So your best option is to go for the fruit and Greek yogurt bowl.

&ldquoThis yogurt bowl is high in protein, is fairly low in sugar, and is made from whole foods,&rdquo Shapiro says. You'll also get a dose of health-boosting antioxidants and fiber, thanks to the berries. However, this dish is still high in sugar, boasting 42 grams per serving, so if you want to cut back even more, omit the granola and honey.

Nutrition info: 390 calories, 4 g fat (.5 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (5 g fiber, 42 g sugar), 31 g protein

Over the past few years, Panera Bread has revamped their menu to include lower-carb dishes and plant-based meals. &ldquoPanera now offers freshly cooked breakfast sandwiches using 100 percent real eggs,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN.

This delicious avocado, egg white, and spinach sandwich has everything you'd want in a breakfast meal. At 410 calories, 21 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber, it will keep cravings at bay and help you start your day right.

Nutrition info: 410 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 590 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (7 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 21 g protein

If you crave the chicken sandwiches at Chick-fil-A, then you'll absolutely love this egg-and-chicken sandwich.

&ldquoWhile there is nothing wrong with eating the whole egg, I love that this sandwich includes grilled chicken breast, bumping the protein content to 25 grams,&rdquo says Annessa Chumbley, RD. This delicious filling dish will jumpstart your metabolism and serves as an excellent post-workout meal when you need more protein to help your muscles recover.

Nutrition info: 300 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 980 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar)

Subway isn't just a pit stop you can make at lunch it also has a variety of breakfast sandwiches. &ldquoI love that this Black Forest ham, egg, and cheese wrap can include as many veggies as you want to pack in,&rdquo Chumbley says. And with 24 grams of protein, four grams fiber, and 410 calories, this is a great way to start your day. The nutritional info for your sandwich will vary, depending on what you add to it, but here's what the classic goes for.

Nutrition info: 410 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1,190 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 24 g protein

If you're looking for a liquid meal, stop by Sweetberry Bowls for a smoothie. &ldquoTheir smoothies are made with fruits, veggies, and non-dairy milk,&rdquo says Stephanie Leonetti, a certified sports nutritionist. This option is quick, easy, and full of vitamins and minerals to help keep you energized throughout the day. Their Sweet Grass smoothie packs in spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, peanut butter, and coconut milk for an antioxidant-rich drink. Unfortunately, Sweetberry doesn't offer nutritional information for their smoothies, but since most of the ingredients are vegetables and fruits, you don't need to worry about keeping track of the calories as much.

Oatmeal makes a great breakfast because it has filling fiber and protein to keep hunger at bay. This superfood hot cereal from Au Bon Pain celebrates oats in a whole new way with quinoa, amaranth, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and flax seeds.

&ldquoPacked with superfoods like quinoa, oats, and amaranth, this breakfast option will treat you to an array of whole grains at only 270 calories for a medium size,&rdquo says Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN.

Nutrition info: 90 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (7 g fiber, 4 g fiber), 9 g protein

Although this breakfast sandwich from Burger King may seem like a caloric deathtrap, Warren says that this option gives you the indulgence of a tasty croissant while keeping your calories at just 300. It also has 11 grams of protein and a gram of fiber to get you going in the morning.

Nutrition info: 300 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 580 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 11 g protein

If you live in an area with a Whataburger, healthy chef Nealy Fischer recommends grabbing one of these egg wraps as they offer protein with eggs and your choice of bacon or sausage. But if you're watching your calorie and sodium intake, she recommends passing on the cheese and meat. Be sure to also drink plenty of water with your meal to wash down the salt.

Nutrition info: 400 calories, 22 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 1,170 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein

&ldquoA plain bowl of oatmeal is the healthier choice compared to a protein bar that's filled with other ingredients,&rdquo says Fischer. However, if you're stuck behind the wheel and can't handle spooning a hot bowl of breakfast cereal into your mouth, she suggests this oatmeal bar. This bar is made with whole oats, blueberries, and cranberries, and has 290 calories, five grams of fiber, and four grams of protein. Since it's high in sugar, make sure to enjoy it sparingly and go for one of the store-bought protein bars instead.

Nutrition info: 290 calories, 10 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (5 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 4 g protein

The Best Healthy Breakfasts at 10 Fast-Food Chains, According to a Nutritionist

Yes, you can find a healthy breakfast in a drive-thru &mdash if you know where to look.

Breakfast may be the only time of day to find a redeeming, healthy and purely satisfying fast-food option. that isn't a salad. If you're away from your kitchen, or you've simply run out of time to make something at home, finding a cup of coffee and a shockingly light breakfast isn't hard if you know where to look. Current federal health guidelines put an optimal breakfast as being somewhere in the 375-calorie range, chock full of fiber, protein, and healthy saturated fats.

While calorie counting alone isn't always the way to determine a healthy breakfast, you may be surprised that some of the best fast food breakfast options are well within that range &mdash and often provide a much-needed punch of protein or a fiber infusion first thing in the A.M. But even those with the best intentions may find themselves in a spot where there are not many choices for a hot breakfast, which is okay!

Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab's registered dietitian, knows the value of making the most of any breakfast you can get your hands on. Sassos says that making your own breakfast at home is always best, as you control all the ingredients and preparation method. But with a long day ahead of you &mdash whether it's work or travel or a looming workout &mdash convenience matters and it's super important to take a moment to eat in the A.M. By choosing breakfast items that contain a balance of protein and fiber, this will help you feel satisfied and fuller for longer.

Given that many breakfast menus have changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of your favorites may have modified or disappeared altogether, either temporarily or permanently. Finding a protein-rich, fiber-rich, or nutritionally amazing breakfast option can seem tricky with such limited availability.

We've done the work for you, decoding menus and breakfast orders at 10 leading national fast-food chains around the country:

  • Nutrition counts below are calculated for standard "as is" orders, per item.
  • Some of these items are more impressive than others, and if you have access to a multitude of chains, you should seek them out (we're marking them Editor's Choice!).

But even if there are only one of these restaurants in your area, sourcing these fast-food breakfasts may help you avoid exorbitant calories, saturated fat, sodium or sugar that can be hiding away in other options available to you. When in doubt, refer to this list that's packed with nutritionist-approved ordering tips and tricks. Happy meal indeed!

Item and menu availability may vary by region, and it's always best to check with the retailer directly about their breakfast hours &mdash McDonald's, for example, has cut away from its All-Day Breakfast options at most locations. Some drive-thrus may also have an overlap between its breakfast offerings and its lunch or regular menu, and we're noting suggestions in the case that your location operates in this manner.

Here are some rough guidelines for the following suggested meals. Not all of them fit perfectly into these requirements, but most of them do.

Reasonable portion sizes: Almost every one of these breakfasts has less than 400 calories.

Low sugar and sodium: Too much of either one is tied to serious health issues. These limits were hard to follow, but most of these meals have less than 20 grams of sugar and under 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

Reasonable amount of protein: Eating protein can help you feel fuller for longer, so you won't be as likely to get peckish well before lunch. Most of these meals have at least 10 grams of protein (although a few of them aren't quite there).

Ideally some amount of fiber: Fiber can also help you feel full for longer. When it came down to choosing between two different meals, I went with the ones that had more fiber content.

No trans fat: Trans fat is tied to heart disease. So none of that.

Wait, a quick note about drinks:

All nutrition info here refers to just the food listed. In order to stay within these guidelines, you should probably stick to drinking water or black coffee with your meal, instead of a smoothie or sugary coffee drink or soda.

And one more obvious disclaimer:

These meals aren't for everyone — some people may want to eat more than 400 calories for breakfast, for instance, and other people may feel seriously uncomfortable with the idea of eating processed food at all. The choices you make about the food you eat are totally personal, and there's no judgment attached to it. Just trying to show you that it's totally possible to keep your calories and sodium and sugar and so on in check at fast-food restaurants, if that's what you care about.

Not-So-Healthy Choices

Among the few healthy breakfast options at McDonalds, there are a number of not-so-healthy choices. For example, all the Big Breakfast meals at McDonald's have more than 700 calories, and the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes and a large biscuit is high in calories, fat and sodium with 1,150 calories, 60 grams of total fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 2,260 milligrams of sodium, 116 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber and 36 grams of protein. Additionally, if you're looking to eat a healthier breakfast at McDonald's, you'll want to avoid any sandwiches or meals that include meats such as sausage or bacon, which are high in calories and saturated fat. High intakes of saturated fat can increase your cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests you limit your intake to less than 10 percent of calories, or no more than 22 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Best and worst breakfast sandwiches

Many popular fast-food restaurants now offer breakfast sandwiches, which spurred us to look into the healthiest (and least healthy) options. Here what we found out.

Breakfast is important-it fuels your morning and may help keep your hunger in check so you don&apost overdo it at lunch. Although making breakfast at home is ideal-you have more control over the ingredients and can make sure you have a healthy, balanced meal-there are times when you need or want to pick up breakfast on the go.

Many popular fast-food restaurants now offer breakfast sandwiches, which spurred me to look into the healthiest (and least healthy) options.

The bottom line:It&aposs possible to make a smart choice at any of these fast-food restaurants. For the healthiest choice (lowest in calories, sodium and saturated fat), skip the sausage, opt for a lighter bread choice (choose an English muffin, wrap or toast over a bagel, croissant, pancake or biscuit) to save calories-and get a whole-grain one, if you can, for added fiber. And, if you&aposre feeling really virtuous, skip the cheese. Plus, if you&aposre at a place where you can customize, ask them to add veggies! Broccoli, tomato and avocado are all great additions to breakfast sandwiches.

Here&aposs what I found out about some of the healthiest breakfast-sandwich choices and the worst, which you should skip:

The Best: The Starbucks Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap has 290 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 6 grams of fiber, 19 grams of protein and 830 mg of sodium. It&aposs Starbucks&aposs lowest-calorie option, plus the 6 grams of fiber will help you feel full longer. If you want a more classic breakfast sandwich, try the Starbucks Turkey Bacon & White Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich. It has 320 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein and 700 mg of sodium.

The Worst: The Starbucks Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich has 500 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, less than a gram of fiber, 19 grams of protein and 920 mg of sodium. Choosing sausage over the turkey bacon in the healthier sandwich makes a big impact on calories and saturated fat.

The Best: The McDonald&aposs Egg McMuffin® has 300 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein and 820 mg sodium. This basic breakfast sandwich has fewer calories and less saturated fat than any of the McDonald&aposs options with sausage, bacon or served on biscuits or McGriddles®.

The Worst: The McDonald&aposs Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle® has 560 calories, 12 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein and 1,360 mg of sodium. By choosing a breakfast sandwich that has sausage and is served on a pancake-type bun, called a McGriddle®, you add extra calories, saturated fat and sodium.

Burger King
The Best: The BK® Breakfast Muffin Sandwich with Egg and Cheese has just 220 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of protein and 650 mg of sodium, making it the leanest breakfast sandwich at Burger King.

The Worst: The Burger King Double Croissan&aposwich with Sausage, Egg and Cheese has 660 calories, 18 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 gram of trans fat, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of protein and 1,420 mg of sodium. Getting a double portion, adding sausage and layering the goods on a croissant all adds up in terms of calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. without adding any more fiber. This sandwich has more than half of the daily sodium limit (2,300 mg) recommended by the USDA.

Panera Bread
The Best: The Panera Bread Breakfast Power with Ham on Whole Grain has 340 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of fiber, 23 grams of protein and 820 mg of sodium. If you want to cut some saturated fat and sodium, consider ordering it without cheese, which would slash the sat fat down to 2 grams and the sodium to 570 mg. The whole-grain bread adds extra fiber, which should help give this sandwich staying power.

The Worst: The Panera Bread French Toast Bagel with Sausage, Egg & Cheese has 670 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, 29 grams of protein and 1,280 mg of sodium. The combination of sausage and cheese really adds up in both saturated fat and sodium. Putting it on a bagel adds substantially to the calories and sodium (350 calories and 620 mg of sodium in the bagel alone).

Dunkin&apos Donuts
The Best: The Dunkin&apos Donuts Egg & Cheese on English Muffin has 320 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of protein and 820 mg of sodium. Dunkin&apos Donuts also has "Egg White Wake-Up Wraps"-a lighter option, but with only 150 calories and 10-11 grams of protein in the veggie and turkey sausage ones, I&aposm skeptical that they&aposd tide you over until lunchtime.

The Worst: The Dunkin&apos Donuts Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Croissant has 710 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 gram of trans fat, 2 grams of fiber, 25 grams of protein and 1,370 mg of sodium. Not only is this high in calories, it packs a heart-unhealthy punch with the combination of saturated fat and trans fat. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the recommended cap on saturated fat is 16 grams per day. The 20 grams in this sandwich is equivalent to the sat fat of 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter.

Au Bon Pain
The Best: The Au Bon Pain Egg Whites and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich has 250 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, 6 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein and 550 mg of sodium. This sandwich is low in calories with a whopping 6 grams of fiber, making it a good option. For just a few extra calories you can get this sandwich with avocado-then it clocks in at 310 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, 9 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein and 940 mg of sodium, giving you some extra fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat from the avocado.

The Worst: The Au Bon Pain Sausage, Egg and Cheddar on Asiago Bagel has 810 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, 41 grams of protein and 1,340 mg of sodium. This one tops the charts for calories and vies with the Dunkin&apos Donuts Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Croissant for most saturated fat and sodium. Although everyone has different calorie needs, 810 calories is high for one meal for most people. To put those calories in perspective, for 810 calories you could have 2 slices of toast, 2 eggs, a pat of butter, a 16 oz. nonfat latte, a banana, an orange and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Or a Big Mac and small fries with 40 calories to spare.

Tips To Choose

When you are choosing which of these foods you want to have on your Healthy Breakfast Menu, you will be able to find a great deal on these items when you purchase the food online. When you pay online, you will be able to receive the items in plenty of time so that you don’t have to wait around too long to enjoy them.

If you are trying to get some protein in your morning meal but don’t like that feeling that comes along with taking a lot of coffee or tea, this is probably going to be a great option for you. This meal will give you all of the protein that you need to keep your body active and satisfied, which is important if you want to feel like you are going to wake up feeling good all over again.

Taco Bell isn’t just for midnight snacks.

Though they’ve only been serving breakfast for four years, Taco Bell has proven to be a delicious choice for morning cravings. Despite their reputation as a late-night guilty pleasure, Taco Bell has a surprising variety of healthier breakfast items.

If you’re saving points, go for the Mini Skillet Bowl (four SmartPoints), which features potatoes, eggs, pico, and cheese sauce. You can also opt for the Breakfast Egg and Cheese Soft Taco for only four SmartPoints. Sausage can be added to either for an additional three points.

For a heartier meal, try the Taco Bell Grilled Breakfast Fiesta Potato Burrito. At nine SmartPoints, it contains eggs, cheese sauce, pico, and potatoes.

This dish consisted of two pieces of bacon, one folded egg, and melted cheese on a buttermilk biscuit.

In my opinion, the only thing that would have made this one better is another slice of bacon.

My only qualm is that the official description for the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit refers to the Applewood smoked bacon as "thick-cut" which is a stretch because I thought it was pretty thin.

That said, the combination of salty meat with a crispy yet flaky biscuit, fluffy egg, and fully melted slice of cheese was so good that the thickness of the bacon didn't matter much.

Watch the video: McDonalds Breakfast Hacks That Will Change Your Life (January 2022).