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.
“Fiber and protein slow down the rate at which you digest your food, so they can help you stay satiated throughout the morning,” 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. “Sugar can definitely be an issue at breakfast, even beyond the obvious offenders, like donuts and cinnamon rolls,” says Ansel. Smoothies, for example, may contain frozen yogurt or added sweeteners—and are often so large that you’re getting three to four servings of fruit per blend.
“Considering 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,” Ansel adds. “Whenever you can squeeze in a serving of fruit or vegetables, that’s a bonus,” 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.
- 1. Panera Bread Mediterranean Egg White Wrap
- 2. Au Bon Pain Egg White, Cheddar, and Avocado Bagel Sandwich
- 3. Jamba Juice Vanilla Blue Sky Bowl
- 4. Pret a Manger Ricotta & Veggie Frittata
- 5. Dunkin’ Donuts Ham, Egg, And Cheese Wakeup Wrap
- 6. Taco Bell Breakfast Soft Taco
- 7. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
- 8. Starbucks Spinach, Feta, & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap
- 9. Sonic Jr. Breakfast Burrito
- 10. Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill
- 11. Smoothie King Original High-Protein Banana Smoothie
- McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Taco Bell, etc. battle for your breakfast bucks
- Healthy Fast Food Smoothies
- Burger King, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, 12 Oz
- Smoothie King, Lean Strawberry Smoothie, 20 Oz
- Starbucks, Small Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens Smoothie, 16 Oz
- Jamba Juice, Caribbean Passion Make It Light Smoothie, 16 Oz
- Panera Bread, Superfruit Power Smoothie with Ginseng, Small
- Smoothie King, Lean Chocolate Smoothie, 20 Oz
- Juice Generation, Green Guardian Smoothie, 20 Oz
- 12 Healthy Fast Food Breakfasts Under 360 Calories
- Taco Bell’s Breakfast Soft Taco
- McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
- Starbuck’s Classic Whole Grain Oatmeal
- Dunkin Donuts Veggie Egg White Flatbread
- Au Bon Pain’s Superfood Cranberry Almond Hot Cereal, Medium
- Panera’s Ham Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
- Burger King’s Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich
- Wendy’s Artisan Egg Sandwich
- Chick-Fil-A’s Egg White Grill
- Jack in the Box’s Breakfast Jack
- White Castle’s Bacon, Egg & Cheese Slider
- Jamba Juice’s Berry Berry Coconut Chia Pudding Cup
- Fast food options to try out
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Egg dishes
- Green juices
- Vegan options
- The takeaway
- 7 Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Options
- Healthy Dine-In Fast Food Breakfasts
- Healthy Drive-Thru Fast Food Breakfasts
1. Panera Bread Mediterranean Egg White Wrap
“I actually recommend ordering it with the whole egg,” says dietitian Kelly Jones, RD. “This way, you’re getting healthy fats, which are important for feeling satiated, so that you aren’t hungry again soon after the meal.” The egg yolk also provides essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. “Plus, you’ll get spinach, tomato, and whole grains,” Jones adds.
Of course, if you stick with the egg whites as is, you’ll still have a delicious and healthy breakfast that’s super low in sugar.
Per egg white wrap: 260 calories, 8 g fat (3 g sat), 31 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 650 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 10 g protein
2. Au Bon Pain Egg White, Cheddar, and Avocado Bagel Sandwich
Au Bon Pan
“Au Bon Pain keeps things light but satisfying with their egg white, cheddar, and avocado bagel sandwich,” says Jones. “It comes on their wheat bagel, and you can order a small fruit cup on the side to start your day off with produce.”
Though a little higher in sugar (because of the fruit), this order provides plenty of energy, protein, and filling fiber.
Per sandwich + fruit cup: 430 calories, 23 g fat (12 sat), 40 g carbs, 17 g sugar (no added sugars), 605 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 20 g protein
3. Jamba Juice Vanilla Blue Sky Bowl
“Jamba Juice has a variety of smoothie bowls, but many are very high in sugar and low in protein,” says Jones. “The Vanilla Blue Sky Bowl is one of their better options.
Loads of fruit provide some natural sugar and potassium, while blue spirulina algae gives it a fun color and adds lots of essential nutrients and phytochemicals.
Order this one without the granola and it also happens to be paleo-friendly.
Per bowl: 330 calories, 9 g fat (3 g sat), 62 g carbs, 33 g sugar, 85 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 6 g protein
4. Pret a Manger Ricotta & Veggie Frittata
Pret a Manger
“If you’re living in a city or frequently in airports or train stations, Pret a Manger’s Ricotta and Veggie Frittata is a great hot option,” says Jones. It provides hearty vegetables (like mushrooms and spinach), is high in protein, and is low enough in carbs to be keto-friendly.
To be fair, the meal doesn’t skimp on sodium, so you’ll want to keep intake a bit lower the rest of the day (and drink plenty of water), says Jones.
Per frittata: 430 calories, 28 g fat (11 g sat), 11 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 110 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 35 g protein
5. Dunkin’ Donuts Ham, Egg, And Cheese Wakeup Wrap
Courtesy of Dunkin Donuts
Skip the bagel sandwich and donut and go for this protein-rich option, suggests dietitian Karman Meyer, RD. With less than 200 calories and nine grams of protein, it’s a solid, quick option.
Just note that it’s a little higher in the sodium department.
Per wrap: 190 calories, 11 g fat (4 g sat), 15 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 600 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 9 g protein
6. Taco Bell Breakfast Soft Taco
Courtesy of Taco Bell
Yes, you can actually eat a decent breakfast at Taco Bell. “Skip the meat on this egg and cheese wrap and order two to score a total of 14 filling grams of protein,” says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD.
Per taco (with egg and cheese): 170 calories, 9 g fat (3 g sat), 15 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 330 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein
7. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
Courtesy of McDonalds
Hitting up McD’s in the morning? Skip the McMuffin. “The trick to making this whole-grain oatmeal bowl healthier is to ask for it without the brown sugar and cream,” says Ansel. “Then, it becomes a decent egg-free breakfast option with five grams of fiber.”
Per oatmeal cup (without cream): 290 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat), 61 g carbs, 32 g sugar, 130 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein
8. Starbucks Spinach, Feta, & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap
“This toasty whole-grain wrap delivers nearly half your daily recommended vitamin A and a quarter of your calcium needs,” says Ansel. Plus, thanks to the spinach and tomatoes, you score some veg, too.
To make this pick lower in carbs and more keto-friendly, ditch the wrap and grab a fork.
Per wrap: 290 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g sat), 33 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 830 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 19 g protein
9. Sonic Jr. Breakfast Burrito
Don’t let the “Jr.” in the name of this breakfast pick fool you; it’s got enough staying power to keep you full until lunch. Thanks to a higher fat and protein content, Sonic’s breakfast burrito is a good option, says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, (who previously recommended it to Women’s Health).
Though it packs a good amount of carbs, it’s super low in sugar.
Per serving: 300 calories, 17 g fat (7 g sat), 24 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 900 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 12 g protein
10. Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
If you want to eat Chick-fil-A for literally every meal of the day, their grilled breakfast sandwich is a great healthy option to start with, says dietitian Jessica Ivey, RDN. The English muffin contains less saturated fat than the biscuit, and the egg whites provide lots of filling protein.
Per sandwich: 300 calories, 7 g fat (3 g sat), 31 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 970 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 25 g protein
11. Smoothie King Original High-Protein Banana Smoothie
Dietitian Lindsey Pine, RDN, recommends this classic smoothie because it’s a good balance of carbs, healthy fats, and protein. (With a whopping 28 grams of protein, it’s a great option after a workout.)
If you need something quick and easy, this one’s for you. Just note that the smoothie gets its protein from whey, so proceed with caution if you’re lactose-intolerant.
Per 20-oz smoothie: 350 calories, 12 g fat (1.5 g sat), 37 g carbs, 23 g sugar, 230 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 28 g protein
Isadora Baum Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy.
What started as a pleasure — free food! — ended up feeling more like immersion therapy.
The goal was to sample every item on the value menus at the “Big Four” of Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s and pass along the best values you can buy. In order to do that, of course, we had to eat all of those items and figure out what was worth consuming, especially as it relates to the item’s price tag.
The task was laborious and by the end felt like a challenge to never eat anything like this ever again. That would be the biggest positive to come from the whole experiment, which was designed to cut through inflated prices to answer the simple question: What’s the best way to spend a few bucks on lunch?
Anymore, fast food is neither fast nor cheap and these bargain-bin items offer just a small escape from the price gouging happening everywhere else in the industry. In many cases, the value menus are about the only reason to choose fast food over a growing list of higher-scale alternatives.
So, we ate everything in the bargain. Four places, 10 days, one expanded waist line and one serious case of fast food exhaustion later, and we’ve got a detailed ranking of all 50 items that were labeled “values.”
Here’s how it went:
50. Taco Bell spicy tostada ($1)
Bar none, this is the least aesthetically pleasing item on any of the four value menus. It does pack some spice, but looks like ingredients fell out of the sky from 30,000 feet and landed on a disc.
49. McDonald’s Small McCafe ($2)
The McCafe menu is a priority for McDonald’s execs, but I’m not sure it should be. There are plenty of options under the $2 value size, which is a good thing. Less noteworthy was the mocha, which was equal to guzzling store-brand chocolate syrup from the bottle.
48. McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Snack Wrap (2 for $3)
This items demands to be eaten quickly to minimize the risk of soggy, lukewarm lettuce ruining the whole thing. It’s semi-carb friendly, but South Beach Dieters shouldn’t hurt themselves jumping for joy considering this wrap’s many other drawbacks.
47. Burger King chicken tenders ($2.49)
This is a point of contention where the “value” in Burger King’s value menu is stretched beyond its limits. You get two smallish chicken tenders for $2.49, which feels like an absurdly high asking price. It’s one of several examples of BK trying to sneak overpriced items past you. It’s an insult to cheapskates everywhere.
Chicken tenders from Burger King. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
46. Taco Bell Cheese roll-up ($1)
No surprises here. It’s cheese rolled up in a tortilla, and it tastes exactly like cheese rolled up in a tortilla.
45. McDonald’s cheeseburger ($1)
This is no longer the gold standard for burgers on McDonald’s own menu, let alone nationally or the fast food industry. This cheeseburger is a forgettable item that is notoriously misrepresented in McDonald’s ads and somehow feels overpriced for $1.
A cheeseburger from McDonald’s. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
44. Burger King value-size soft drink ($1.39)
Held next to McDonald’s standard issue “Rain Barrel Of Cola,” this 16-ounce cup feels like a thimble. What’s the point of soda anymore if the cup isn’t the size of my head?
43. Wendy’s grilled chicken wrap ($1.99)
This felt like smoke and mirrors, like Wendy’s was trying to distract from the fact it doesn’t have confidence in its grilled chicken. Instead of a basic mayo, lettuce and cheese supporting cast — like its other two chicken wraps — Wendy’s threw honey mustard on it out of nowhere and changed the whole thing for the worse.
42. McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap (2 for $3)
The grilled wrap was one of McDonald’s more pleasant surprises, especially since it wasn’t technically even on the menu. The value options only mention the fried version, but the grilled chicken was somehow better. Give partial credit goes to its 490 milligrams of sodium.
41. Taco Bell loaded nacho taco ($1)
When Taco Bell suggests this taco is loaded, it really means “we put some chips on it, too.” It might just be a matter of time before Fritos show up on everything, including the new “Loaded Mountain Dew.”
40. Taco Bell beefy mini quesadilla ($1)
This is more like a glorified taco since quesadillas generally come with crispiness on the outside, and this item had none. The sauce and melted cheese are edible, but can be a little much with the greasy beef.
39. McDonald’s iced coffee ($2)
Why is iced coffee a thing, but hot soda and warm yogurt aren’t? They’re all strange. McDonald’s has a competitive product with caramel and vanilla options that pack decent flavor and appropriate sweetness. On the plus side, it wasn’t nearly as rancid as a steaming cup of Yoplait.
38. Taco Bell cinnamon twists ($1)
This crunchy, airy treat has a delightful texture and, in theory, a nice cinnamon sugar flavor. But sitting out under a heat lamp all too often just makes them taste like the restaurant itself. Think about saving the $1 and licking one of the tables instead.
37. Taco Bell spicy loaded nacho taco ($1)
This offering is more in the spirit of a plate of nachos than the standard loaded nacho taco since it comes with a handful of jalapeño slices. Still, you can’t help but ask the obvious question: does this really need to be a thing?
36. Burger King Spicy Chicken Jr. ($1.09)
The spicy chicken option is nice to have on BK’s menu, but the extra kick comes from a disappointing sauce rather than the breading on the chicken. That’s gotta be good for Burger King’s supply chain logistics — the same patty pulls double duty — but the spicy version comes down to how good the sauce is, and the answer is, “Not very.”
The Spicy Chicken Jr. sandwich at Burger King. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
35. Burger King Chicken Jr. ($1)
Burger King has too many good burger options to mess around with mediocre chicken. If you’re in the market for cheap poultry, McDonald’s and Wendy’s are the new go-to spots for it. Yay for them, I guess.
34. Taco Bell spicy potato soft taco ($1)
This is Taco Bell’s version of an 8-year-old kid’s spaghetti sandwich. It’s carbs upon carbs with a nice sauce that brings it to life. Vegetarians can consider this a worthy option in an “It’s either this or starve” kind of way.
The spicy potato soft taco at Taco Bell. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
33. Burger King chicken nuggets (10 for $1.49)
These are underwhelming, but they come in bulk at an unbeatable price. The whole setup couldn’t be more American if it were draped in the stars and stripes and singing Don McLean. At 15 cents a pop, you get what you pay for: not much taste for not much money.
32. Wendy’s chicken nuggets ($1.29)
Wendy’s says it will bring back its spicy nuggets, thanks to a recent social media campaign that netted over two million likes on Twitter. Why did they ever go away? They’re superior to the plain nuggets in every way.
31. Taco Bell Beefy Fritos burrito ($1)
This is an ambitious tortilla with beef, rice, cheese and Frito chips inside. It all adds up to a decent offering and a blank canvas for Taco Bell’s variety of sauces. This burrito scores well for value with quite a bit of heft for $1.
30. Burger King vanilla ice cream ($1)
The vanilla cone — or dish, for anyone who prefers to eat ice cream with a spoon like an animal — is standard fare, and Burger King’s exceeds expectations by not disappointing. If that makes sense.
29. Wendy’s homestyle wrap ($1.99)
Nice, simple and more than just a “snack,” this is a hefty option with breaded chicken, lettuce and cheese tucked inside a tortilla. It’s a worthy choice for carb counters, but is a solid 5 out of 10 for everyone else.
28. Taco Bell cheesy bean & rice burrito ($1)
A classic, simple combination with better flavor than you might expect. Pop a little sauce on it, and you get a nice contrast to the rich beans and nacho cheese. This is the No. 1 meatless main course on any of the value menus, which is like being crowned the tannest “Ginger.”
27. Burger King french fries ($1.49)
This is a thick, battered style fry that comes up just a touch short of McDonald’s fries. BK should consider it a win that they’re even in the same neighborhood as the longtime market leader on this front.
26. McDonald’s small french fries (2 for $3)
These are the most classically simple of the fast food chains’ fries. Not a lot of frills, just McDonald’s hoping to produce the best executed fried potato. As long as they’re hot and salted well, they deliver.
25. Wendy’s small french fries ($1.79)
Wendy’s has the best fries of the fast food industry. While these places have a hard time walking the fine line between quality and cost control, Wendy’s does the best job of it with quality potatoes and a consistent standard of frying and salting. They’re good every time.
Chicken nuggets and french fries from Wendy’s. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
24. McDonald’s McDouble (2 for $3)
Better than the standard McDonald’s burger for obvious reasons, but good luck figuring out from one week to the next where this will land on the menu. On this particular occasion, it’s a 2-for-$3 option that’s more fun to say than it is to eat. Try ordering it like Dr. Evil.
23. Taco Bell Triple Layer nachos ($1)
There’s enough good stuff on this small portion of chips to make it a nice, flavorful side item. Some of the chips lose their crunch, of course, but the cheese, refried beans and red sauce more than make up for it.
22. Burger King frozen soda ($1.69)
Ice and a dash of whimsy transform Coca Cola into a wonderful beverage/dessert hybrid. It’s unique to the Burger King menu and is a decent reason to walk through the doors. It’s also available in cherry.
21. McDonald’s any size sweet tea ($1)
No offense to McDonald’s own version of sweet tea — which is fine and inexpensive — but wouldn’t it be more efficient to just rip open sugar packets and pour them down our throats?
Sweet tea from McDonald’s. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
20. Burger King bacon double cheeseburger ($2.79)
Again, not much “value” here on overall price, and this burger pales in comparison to the better, more cost-effective Whopper Jr. The bacon is a nice draw, though, and the sandwich is big enough to be a meal.
19. McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin ($1)
Sausage and melty cheese on an English muffin is a simple and filling option for those needing a quick protein burst at any point in the day. Speaking from experience, those pockets of energy give you all the endurance you need to watch TV for hours without taking any breaks.
18. McDonald’s McChicken sandwich ($1)
A decent, peppery patty that is simple but effective. It has a consistent spot on McDonald’s ever-changing value menu and ranks well ahead of any of the red-meat value choices. Be bold and ask for a pickle if you really want to take it up a notch.
17. McDonald’s Hot Coffee ($1)
This is why we’re here: to get the cheapest caffeinated nectar to survive a long day of mindless workplace minutia. Like these words I’m currently typing. McDonald’s coffee won’t blow you away, but it’s cheap and does its job. Like the person currently typing these words.
16. Wendy’s Jr. cheeseburger ($1.29)
A more basic version of the Jr. cheeseburger deluxe (duh), and a cheap way to inject some red meat in your veins. The taste lies between Burger King’s best-in-class and McDonald’s smushed pile of disappointment.
15. Taco Bell Cinnabon delights ($1)
The Cinnabon name is being slapped on everything, so it’s just a matter of time before it’s watered down and untrustworthy. Surprisingly, this isn’t the occasion for it. These have a nice texture on the outside and a little burst of cream cheese in the middle. Serving only two of them for $1 is Taco Bell’s way of protecting you from yourself.
Cinnabon delights from Taco Bell. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
14. Wendy’s spicy chicken wrap ($1.99)
This is a wrap done right with plenty of cheese and half a spicy breaded patty. There was enough lettuce to provide a crunch while also avoiding that soggy, warm lettuce pitfall that doomed the McDonald’s wraps. Good spice, good texture and good execution.
13. Wendy’s Jr. cheeseburger deluxe ($1.69)
Wendy’s might have the best hamburger bun in the game, which makes a big difference in both its cheeseburger and cheeseburger deluxe. This one comes with ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. Wendy’s burgers are good, but the presentation of the other ingredients makes them that much better.
12. Burger King bacon cheeseburger ($1.99)
Bacon commands a lofty price at Burger King, though there should be no dispute that even a little bit makes the world a better place. But this quandary does prompt an important existential question: does bacon really make a cheeseburger worth twice as much?
11. Wendy’s double stack ($2.19)
Dense and simple. A breathtaking insult when directed at a human, but a nice compliment for a burger. Wendy’s puts the emphasis on the beef and cheese with pickles and just a dash of ketchup and mustard. A satisfying choice without overthinking it.
The Double Stack sandwich from Wendy’s. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
10. Burger King cheeseburger ($1)
For value alone, this is hearty and tasty and well worth the buck. It gets its most favorable reviews when placed on the flavor-to-cost spectrum, which if it isn’t a thing now, most definitely should be.
9. Wendy’s BLT Crispy Chicken ($1.99)
This is the chicken equivalent of the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and one of the most photogenic items on any of the four menus. The BLT chicken is another good example of Wendy’s being generous with the bacon, offering two legit bacon options for less than $2.
8. Burger King onion rings ($1.49)
The fact that Burger King even has onion rings and considers them interchangeable with french fries is a big check mark in the win column. And they’re quite good in a bite-size package. For weirdos who like onions, these have to be a big draw.
7. Taco Bell shredded chicken mini quesadilla ($1)
Chicken is a better fit on the mini quesadilla than the ground beef, and it’s a pretty good stroll through Flavor Country for $1. This is the class of the Taco Bell value menu, though “class” is always relative in fast food.
The shredded chicken mini quesadilla from Taco Bell. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
6. McDonald’s 6-piece Chicken McNuggets ($2)
The thick breading sets these nuggets apart, even if old images of pink slime float around in your head. When available for this price, nuggets might be McDonald’s best food offering, though it’s fair to wonder what percentage is actual chicken.
5. Burger King rodeo cheeseburger ($1.49)
The rodeo burger is a nice twist on the standard burger with a light barbecue sauce and a couple onion rings. To get into the spirit of ordering it, make sure to jingle your spurs and tell the cashier there ain’t enough room in town for the both of ya.
4. Wendy’s Junior bacon cheeseburger ($1.99)
A classic. This is a tidy little burger that comes with bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomato and mayonnaise. It is a centerpiece item on Wendy’s 4-for-$4 menu, and is far and away the best choice for that bundle. In three decades of fast food experience, I’ve never had a junior bacon cheeseburger that disappointed. I just wish my parents felt the same way about me.
The Junior Bacon Cheeseburger sandwich from Wendy’s. (Elizabeth Sheaffer | Special to PennLive)
3. Burger King Whopper Jr. ($2.09)
The Whopper, whether it’s the full-size or junior version, is probably the best signature burger in the fast food game. Don’t underestimate the textures, either, and the many ways it can be customized. And for what it’s worth: when Burger King throws out the word “junior,” it’s code for “enough food for a reasonable person to eat.”
2. McDonald’s any size soft drink ($1)
This might be McDonald’s No. 1 draw and what should be common across all the fast food chains. Lure me in with the giant sugary drink that 100 out of 100 doctors would advise me to avoid, THEN sell me on high-sodium foods. And it’s no secret that McDonald’s manipulates their fountain sodas to make them taste better.
1. Wendy’s Frosty ($0.50)
A small price to pay for a little slice of heaven. The Frosty is an icon for a reason and is perfectly fine on its own. Keep your french fries out of it and marvel instead at a dessert that is neither ice cream nor a milkshake, yet finds a way to be both at the same time.
McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Taco Bell, etc. battle for your breakfast bucks
Zlati Meyer USA TODAY Published 4:55 AM EDT Oct 29, 2018 Dunkin’ has released an All You Can Meat Breakfast Sandwich. Dunkin’
Your new breakfast of champions likely comes in a fast-food wrapper.
Morning is the new hot time for the super-competitive, quick-service restaurants, who each want to entice hungry, possible groggy, customers. National chains, already duking it out for lunch and dinner, now want a chunk of those a.m. dollars.
McDonald’s unveiled its Triple Breakfast Stacks (two slices of American cheese, two sausage patties, bacon and egg and served on a a choice of McMuffin, biscuit or McGriddles cakes) Tuesday. During Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International’s earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Daniel Schwartz discussed the popularity of the breakfast menu at its Tim Hortons chain in Canada. And rumors that Chipotle Mexican Grill will get into the breakfast game weren’t quashed during its earning call Thursday; CEO Brian Niccol – the man who helmed Taco Bell during its successful breakfast push – evaded an analyst’s question on the topic.
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“Breakfast is still the meal occasion most likely to be prepared and eaten at home,” said David Portalatin, vice president and food industry adviser for the research firm NPD Group. “It’s sort of the final frontier for restaurants.”
Breakfast is the only part of the day that has seen growth, according to NPD. U.S. fast-food restaurants had close to 41.2 billion visits in the 52 weeks ending in August, including 7.3 billion-plus for breakfast. Those numbers are from up from more than 38.9 billion– almost 6 billion of them breakfast – during the same period in 2009.
The battle for breakfast is in full force. Chains from Sonic to Starbucks have been growing their morning-inspired menus. Plus, those already deeply invested in the morning continue to push the breakfast angle, from the limited-time Dunkin’ All You Can Meat breakfast sandwich (egg and cheese croissant with two strips of bacon, two slices of ham and a sausage patty) to name-changing IHOP’s return to its pancake roots this summer.
“Companies have focused for so long on changes in lunch and dinner – your typical burger and chicken nugget options – that they haven’t spent so much time innovating on breakfast,” said Ernest Baskin, an assistant professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University. “They are viewing it as white space, where they can introduce new things at relatively little additional costs.”
Breakfast isn’t always so bucolic, though. Wendy’s attempt failed and even a morning move faces potential problems due to increased staffing and adding complexity – in the form of more ingredients and menu choices – to kitchens that are supposed to be fast.
When done right, though, breakfast provides room to grow sales and customer traffic, which pleases Wall Street.
“Lunch is historically the sweet spot for fast-food restaurants, and lunch is under attack,” said Portalatin, pointing to the growing number of telecommuters and flex-time employees and the rise of the on-demand workforce. “The traditional notions of place and working patterns (have changed), so demand for fast-food lunch simply isn’t there.”
Here are four reasons breakfast may become the most important meal of the day for many fast-food chains.
Unlike your grandma’s blueberry muffins, fast-food breakfast menus aren’t made from scratch. In most cases, chains’ morning food line-ups are simply riffs on their pre-existing lunch and dinner offerings. Companies reverse-engineer breakfast dishes, using ingredients and core menu items. Add an egg here; toss some fruit there.
“In most cases, they’re using products already have in their restaurants to create new sandwiches or tweak them here or there. They try not to bring in more products,” said Peter Saleh, restaurant analyst at the financial-services firm BTIG. “In some cases, they try to scale thing backs (like) lower calorie counts and egg whites only.”
Convenience is key
Most people have Garfield-esque feelings toward mornings: They hate them. The universal craziness of the a.m. rush to get to work can be alleviated slightly by sidling up to a restaurant and having your breakfast handed to you. Shaving a few minutes off that go-go-go period for a few bucks means the difference between a granola bar stuffed into a briefcase and a hot sandwich.
NPD’s Portalatin called it a “genius invention.”
“A breakfast sandwich provides the perfect, tidy little hand-held package of protein and carbs,” he said. “I can have it and call it a snack or pair with fries and fruit and coffee and call it breakfast, or I can have two breakfast sandwiches and not spend that much more.”
It’s OK to toss the toaster
Going out for lunch and dinner has been the norm for so long, but turning to restaurants for breakfast is, for many, still a no-no, save for the occasional weekend brunch. Now, bought breakfasts are gaining acceptance, a trend with roots in a key part of the morning meal – a cup of caffeine.
“You can trace bit back to the coffee business,” Baskin said. “A lot of people made coffee on their own. Now, people have transitioned, and coffee is easy to get to go.”
Breakfast on the go is now a given for those coveted young customers ages 18 to 34. Thirty-three percent eat their weekday breakfast en route to another location, according to Technomic. Plus, this group eats a fast-food breakfast an average of 4.3 times a month, compared to 3.7 times for consumers ages 35 and up.
A built-in fan base
“If you like X, why not try Y?” is a textbook way to get customers to come back. For companies that serve traditional later-day foods, like burgers, a strong pitch to their p.m. regulars strikes a chord.
While the tabs might not be high as they are for lunch and dinner, breakfast screams out for complementary add-ons, like coffee.
That’s someone like Jesse Wilson of Fulton, New York, who eats at Taco Bell three times a week, including once for breakfast.
“I discovered Taco Bell breakfast maybe a year ago, and I just love it. It tastes great,” said the 28-year-old salesman, who spends about $8.50 for a sausage Breakfast Crunchwrap or a steak Breakfast Quesadilla, plus a drink. “It’s a deviation from a bowl of cereal or oatmeal in the morning” at home.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer
Published 4:55 AM EDT Oct 29, 2018
Healthy Fast Food Smoothies
Sipable snacks and meals are almost a necessity in the modern world. You’re answering email and talking on the phone while walking to work, so how else are you going to eat? There’s only one problem: figuring out if that smoothie is going to help you sip your way to a flat stomach or a saggy one. Eat This, Not That! combed through the fast-food menus to find you diet-friendly drinks that are made with wholesome ingredients instead of sherbets and frozen yogurts masquerading as healthy. These smoothies all clock in under 300 calories each, and some boast more than seven grams of protein!
Burger King, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, 12 Oz
190 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 35 mg sodium, 44 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 31 g sugar, 2 g protein
What does it mean to “have it your way” in the age of juice cleanses and superfoods? A revised Burger King menu that now includes smoothies. The selection is small, but that just makes it easier to find the sip most likely to whittle your middle and burn fat: the strawberry banana. It’s made to order with strawberries, bananas and low-fat yogurt. At a place where bucket-sized sodas regularly get passed through the drive-thru window, 190 calories for a smoothie is darn good. Your skinny jeans will think so, too.
Smoothie King, Lean Strawberry Smoothie, 20 Oz
275 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 317 mg sodium, 35 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 28 g sugar, 20 g protein
The simpler, the better when it comes to smoothies. This shake has only two ingredients: protein and strawberries. It may seem a little bare, but the hefty 20-gram dose of protein sure doesn’t make it feel that way. Something with protein is one of the best post-workout snacks as it will help repair muscle and keep hunger at bay all day long. This slimming benefit combination makes it an excellent choice for anyone trying to slim down.
Starbucks, Small Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens Smoothie, 16 Oz
170 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 140 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 32 g sugar, 7 g protein
After conquering our morning caffeine needs, this coffee giant is expanding their blended drink game beyond fattening Frappuccinos. In collaboration with Evolution Fresh, the brand of those cold-pressed juices you can buy in the store, Starbucks already added several fruit- and veggie-based smoothies to their menu. This particular one is a mix of green vegetable juices, mango, banana, and nonfat Greek yogurt. Thanks to the yogurt, this shake packs a solid seven grams of protein (more than a Kind bar!), which will help fuel your muscles and burn fat.
Related: 8 Ways to Slim Down Your Starbucks Order
Jamba Juice, Caribbean Passion Make It Light Smoothie, 16 Oz
150 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 95 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 4 g protein
It’s like vacation in a cup—without those extra ten pounds you inevitably come home with. Thanks to the “Make It Light” option, this tropical smoothie is a mere 150 calories. The tangy passion-fruit, mango, peach and strawberry blend will help satisfy your sweet cravings without all the calories most sweet indulgences carry. Most commercial smoothies top the charts at 50 or more grams of sugar, which messes with your metabolism and blood sugar levels; this order clocks in at 30 grams—a much better option when you’re trying to stay fit.
Related: What Personal Trainers Order at Jamba Juice
Panera Bread, Superfruit Power Smoothie with Ginseng, Small
210 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 75 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 14 g protein
Panera may be reinventing their menu, adding trendy dishes like ramen and it ingredients like quinoa, but they’re still Panera Bread Company, and with that titles comes a lot of carbs and sugar. But only if you don’t order right. For a moderate 210 calories, this superfood smoothie boasts an impressive 14 grams of protein. Foods higher in protein take longer to digest, which means your body works harder (read: burns more calories) trying to process them. With fruits like blackberries, cherries, pomegranate and acai juice, this smoothie will also provide your body with a healthy dose of antioxidants, which fight signs of aging and help your body run more efficiently.
Smoothie King, Lean Chocolate Smoothie, 20 Oz
293 Calories, 11 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 317 mg sodium, 28 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 22 g protein
Smoothie King has got some monster-sized cups, but there are some safe grab-and-go options as long as you steer clear of cups that resemble buckets. Save calories and sugar while still satisfying your chocolate craving by ordering the 20-ounce Lean Chocolate smoothie, which is still fewer than 300 calories and a whopping 22 grams of protein. This shake will help fill you up, not out.
Related: The Best Smoothie Ingredients for Weight Loss
Juice Generation, Green Guardian Smoothie, 20 Oz
175 calories, 8 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 276 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 6 g protein
If you’re lucky enough to live near a location of this nutritious New York joint, guard your waistline with this smoothie. It’s not only a great option on the go, but also an ideal choice if you’re trying to get lean. Juice Generation packs spinach, swiss chard, avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds and strawberries into a snack-sized 175 calories that can increase your fat burning and feelings of satiety thanks to healthy fats from the avocado and seeds. So, don’t let the fact that it sounds like a salad in a glass scare you away. The strawberries add a little sweetness and the avocado makes it feel like a creamy indulgence.
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12 Healthy Fast Food Breakfasts Under 360 Calories
We’ve all heard it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to research discussed in Zero Belly Breakfasts, people who nosh close to waking up actually eat 12 percent healthier later on in the day. But, unless you’re one of the few blessed with the early riser gene, mornings are typically the most stressful time of day, too. This makes it way too easy to grab whatever is quickest and most convenient, without thinking what’s inside and how it might affect your diet.
While fast food chains won’t be offering you the healthiest options on earth, plenty of places are making the healthy fast food breakfast classics—and many even fall under 300 calories! New staples are showing up to accompany egg and cheese with healthy ingredients like chicken and [chia seeds making appearances. Read on to see what your favorite chain’s low-calorie option is—it might surprise you! These quick-service establishments aren’t just offering better breakfasts. Next up: low-calorie restaurant meals under 500 calories.
Taco Bell’s Breakfast Soft Taco
Courtesy of Taco Bell
240 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 580 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 1 g sugars), 11 g protein
This menu item is somewhere in between a taco, an omelet, and a quesadilla. It doesn’t matter what you call it, though, because you get eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese for only 240 calories! Since other breakfast menu items are creeping up to a whopping 700 calories, this is your best bet from Taco Bell.
McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
Courtesy of McDonald’s
300 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 730 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 17 g protein
The fast-food breakfast classic isn’t just low in calories. It’s also a protein-packed breakfast and doesn’t overdo it on the carb count. This well-balanced meal ranked as #1 in our ranking of McDonald’s Menu.
Starbuck’s Classic Whole Grain Oatmeal
Courtesy of Starbucks
160 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein
If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, oatmeal is probably your best bet. It’s super low in calories, fat and sodium, without any sugar! The oats are filled with fiber, keeping you full without hurting your waistline. Adding a chopped banana and healthy-fat-filled nuts that come on the side, this dish becomes a tasty, satiating breakfast option.
Dunkin Donuts Veggie Egg White Flatbread
330 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 570 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 18 g protein
“The Egg White Flatbread has vegetables mixed in with the egg whites, reduced-fat cheddar cheese and is served on multigrain flatbread, making this a healthy meal for anyone,” says Jim White, ACSM Health Fitness Instructor and Registered Dietitian. As a DDSmart Item, this flatbread has at least 25 percent fewer calories, saturated fat, fat & sodium than the original Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant. Another plus is the added nutrition from chopped veggies inside. The hardest part about this dish is going into a Dunkin Donuts and not ordering a sugary drink or donut to go along. Grab some high protein snacks to keep your cravings at bay.
Au Bon Pain’s Superfood Cranberry Almond Hot Cereal, Medium
Courtesy of Au Bon Pain
270 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (7 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 9 g protein
These oats are kicked up a few notches with added superfoods quinoa, amaranth, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and raw flax seeds. The oat-quinoa-combo means extra protein, fiber, and amino acids, while flax seeds are linked to fighting tumors, lowering blood pressure, and lifting your mood. This dish is a breakfast DO.
Panera’s Ham Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
340 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 890 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 23 g protein
The lowest-calorie sandwich option from Panera just makes the cut at 340 calories. With its high sodium count, we wouldn’t recommend eating this every day if you’re trying to debloat your belly, but it can be a here-and-there dish if you need something protein-packed before work.
Burger King’s Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich
300 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 580 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 11 g protein
Your breakfast dreams just came true. Burger King makes a flaky, buttery, croissant-based breakfast sandwich for under 300 calories. While the Croissan’wich comes in many shapes and forms, your best bet to keep off pounds is the simple egg and cheese. In fact, adding bacon only ends up adding 200 milligrams of sodium and an additional 40 calories for only the benefit of a single additional gram of protein.
Wendy’s Artisan Egg Sandwich
360 calories, 19 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 750 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 20 g protein
If you’re looking for a fancy fast food breakfast sandwich, Wendy’s has your back. Instead of American cheese, Wendy’s uses Asiago and pairs it with freshly cooked applewood smoked bacon, Hollandaise sauce, and honey-wheat artisan muffin. Sounds mighty good to us.
Chick-Fil-A’s Egg White Grill
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
300 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 970 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 25 g protein
Grilled chicken is probably not what first comes to mind when you think of breakfast. But, what else would you expect from Chick-Fil-A? The extra protein means this meal will keep you fuller longer, and it’s still only 300 calories! Chicken-lovers should also check out healthy chicken recipes for the rest of the day’s dishes.
Jack in the Box’s Breakfast Jack
350 calories, 18 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 840 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 16 g protein
This is your safest bet when you’re at Jack in the Box: Ham, a freshly cracked egg, and American cheese on a bun. Because the sodium count is a bit high, be sure to wash this sandwich down with a glass or two of water.
White Castle’s Bacon, Egg & Cheese Slider
210 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 510 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 12 g protein
White Castle’s sliders are a great way to portion-control your cheats— as long as you only have one! At just 210 calories, you can fulfill your bacon needs while leaving room for a healthier side, like some fruit or a weight loss smoothie. Waffles in place of a bun is an option for this breakfast treat, but you can decide if it’s worth an extra 50 calories.
Jamba Juice’s Berry Berry Coconut Chia Pudding Cup
220 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (9 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 4 g protein
Balance out a week of egg sandwiches with a chia pudding breakfast. Filled with fiber and omega-3’s, chia seeds are a weight-loss staple. They’re paired with antioxidant-rich strawberries, blueberries, and coconut, making this menu item tasty AND healthy.
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!
If you like a combo meal, then instead of a greasy hash brown, ask for fresh fruit instead. Also, instead of full cream and sugar in your coffee, try a splash of milk or drink it black. And don’t forget the water. A lot of fast food meals are very salty and can make you thirsty, so drink plenty of water to help prevent dehydration.
Fast food options to try out
Fast food breakfasts don’t always have to be unhealthy. Breakfast sandwiches or wraps are often on the menu, but there are other things you can try. Be creative, and consider oatmeal, fruit cups, and vegetarian options.
There are plenty of options for healthy breakfasts for kids, too. Many kids’ menus have sugary items like pancakes, so steer clear of those and opt for bacon and eggs or oatmeal with fruit.
Sandwiches and wraps
Many fast food breakfast sandwiches are made with refined carbohydrates. White bread and processed sugar dominate most of these breakfasts. Croissants, biscuits, and many English muffins are missing the important part of carbohydrate nutrition: the whole grains. Fast food sandwiches are easy breakfast ideas, but some may need modification for a higher nutritional value.
When you can, opt for the whole wheat versions of your favorite breads. If you’re going to a restaurant that has lunch and dinner options, you can ask for a lettuce wrap instead of bread or a gluten-free bread option! Here are some healthy fast food breakfast sandwich options:
- The turkey breakfast sandwich from Starbucks is a toasted whole wheat English muffin with egg whites, turkey bacon, and cheese. It contains 230 calories.
- Taco Bell has a tasty and nutritious breakfast taco. It’s a slim tortilla with melted cheese, eggs, and sausage and has 240 calories.
- The Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s can also be a healthy option. It has an English muffin (order without butter), one slice of cheese, Canadian bacon (remember, no sausage), and egg. You get a healthy blend of carbohydrates for energy, fats to satiate, and protein for muscle building and to help you feel full longer.
You can make your own oatmeal easily at home, with overnight oats in a mason jar, or you can choose one of the tasty oatmeal options on your favorite fast food restaurant’s menu. Oatmeal is full of healthy fiber, which helps you feel full longer and keeps your gastrointestinal system regular. Slower digestion also helps your body extract all the nutrients from your food as it passes through your system.
When you eat fast food oatmeal, remember that it often has lots of sugary add-ons. Some of the nuts or fruit that you can blend in may have added sugar. However, there are a couple of tasty, healthy oatmeal options that are made to eat on the go:
- Starbucks’ whole-grain oatmeal is made with steel-cut oats and skim milk to help drop the calorie count. It’s available with either heart-healthy blueberries or sliced bananas. If you need that extra antioxidant and potassium boost, opt for both.
- Au Bon Pain is known for its pastries, but if you have a craving for plenty of toppings on your oats, this is a fantastic choice. The chain serves the oatmeal plain, with a small buffet of brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit, so you can have as little or as much as you want.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein for keto dieters and fairly low in calories. There is also plenty of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol — the “good” cholesterol — in eggs.
If you’re looking for something low in carbohydrates and high in protein, try the sous-vide egg bites from Starbucks. For a lighter option, try the version with egg whites and veggies, or bacon and gouda version, which has 370 calories for two pieces.
Dunkin Donuts has a healthy egg white breakfast option as well. It’s a multigrain flatbread stuffed with an egg white and veggie scramble and a slice of white cheddar cheese. You’ll get a serving of protein, healthy carbs, and healthy dietary fats from the cheese, all in an easy-to-eat sandwich. It has 330 calories.
Drinking your breakfast may be an option, especially if you don’t like a heavier meal early in the day. Different juices or smoothies can give you the nutrients you need in an easy-to-sip beverage. Be careful about the ingredients in some of the juice options, however. If they’re heavier on the fruit juice, especially apple juice, then you’ll miss out on valuable micronutrients and end up with a lot of empty calories and sugar.
Choose juices that have more vegetable components. Kale, spinach, and celery juices are rich in antioxidants, and beet and carrot juices have a lot of vitamins A and K. Smoothies and juices can be healthy breakfasts for kids, too. You can disguise vegetables in a fruity drink.
While many fast food restaurants don’t have a wide range of vegan options, there are a few ways you can mix and match to stick with your vegan diet.
- Au Bon Pain offers an oatmeal–quinoa blend that gives you healthy plant protein and other superfoods like amaranth, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and raw flax seeds. You can top this with brown sugar and dried raisins, too.
- Jamba Juice offers a chia seed smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, and coconut. This smoothie is rich in antioxidant superfoods. Chia seeds and blueberries offer healthy plant protein and anti-inflammatory components.
Easy breakfast ideas don’t necessarily have to be unhealthy. Understanding what your healthy, low-calorie options are on a fast food menu can help you meet your nutritional goals while you’re on your daily commute. Make sure to read the nutritional information carefully, staying away from high-sugar carbs and meats high in saturated fat. And don’t be afraid to ask for a modification or substitution to create a healthier fast food breakfast.
7 Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Options
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As a student athlete, you barely make it to school on time, let alone prepare a healthy three-course breakfast. Unfortunately, if you decide to skip breakfast, you’ll suffer the consequences. When you’re in a hurry, you can still fuel up for a stellar performance on the field or in the gym with these eight healthy fast food breakfasts.
Healthy Dine-In Fast Food Breakfasts
- Subway Egg and Cheese Sandwich: Customize this sandwich by choosing egg whites over eggs, skipping the cheese in favor of heart-healthy avocado, adding extra protein with turkey or ham and piling on the vegetables. However you like your Egg and Cheese sandwich, you can’t go wrong as long as you stick with the 9-grain wheat English muffin, avoid the sauces and skip the pepperoni/bacon add-ons. Meal totals for the egg white version (with black forest ham, avocado, spinach, tomatoes and green peppers): 210 calories, 7g of fat, 26g carbs and 14g of protein
- Starbucks Protein Bistro Box: This boxed set of cage-free eggs, white cheddar cheese, peanut butter, multigrain muesli bread, apples and grapes delivers the perfect balance of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats to help you power through your morning. Bonus: most of the items are easily storable for a healthy afternoon snack. Meal totals (entire box): 380 calories, 19g of fat, 37g carbs and 13g of protein.
- Jamba Juice Perfect Meals Make It Light! Strawberries Wild Smoothie and Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Banana: Notorious for its sugary creations, Jamba Juice started working with the Healthy Living Council and Serena Williams to create healthy choices made simple. Pair a regular-sized lightened Strawberries Wild Smoothie with a cup of steel-cut oats topped with banana (skip the brown sugar), and you’re good until lunch. Meal totals: (for smoothie) 160 calories, 0g fat, 37g carbs and 4g protein; (for oatmeal without brown sugar) 240 calories, 3g of fat, 50g carbs and 9g protein.
Healthy Drive-Thru Fast Food Breakfasts
- McDonald’s Egg McMuffin or Scrambled Eggs and English Muffin: You can make Mickey D’s famous Egg McMuffin (300 calories, 12g fat, 30g carbs and 19g protein) healthier by ordering each item separately to cut down on sodium, calories and fat. When choosing either the Egg McMuffin or scrambled eggs and English muffin, ask for “no margarine.” Most restaurants will spray on liquid butter for taste, but it’s not necessary. Meal total for scrambled eggs and English Muffin: 220 calories, 6g of fat, 28g of carb and 12g of protein.
- Burger King’s 3-Piece French Toast Sticks: Who doesn’t love French toast every once in awhile? This option is a much better indulgence then that super-sweet cinnamon bun from the school cafeteria. Stick to the three-piece value menu version, order a glass of milk and make this meal an occasional indulgence. Meal totals for French Toast Sticks with syrup and milk: 440 calories, 11g of fat, 72 g of carbs and 12g of protein.
- Dunkin’ Donuts DDSmart Menu: Home to some of the healthiest breakfast options in the fast food industry, DD has come a long way from the doughnut. Their new DDSmart menu boasts a variety of tasty choices. A STACK favorite is the Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread Wrap, which comes in at 280 calories, 8g of fat, 32g of carbs and 18g of protein.
- Einstein Nova Loxs & Bagel Sandwich: Smoked Salmon is full of heart-healthy fats and Omega-3s, which every athlete needs to fuel performance. Thanks to Einstein’s whole-wheat thin bagel slices and reduced-fat cream cheese, you can enjoy a gourmet creation that perfectly meets your nutritional needs. Meal totals (no onion, tomato or capers): 322 calories, 15g of fat, 28 g of carbs and 18g of protein.
Found a healthy fast food breakfast? Make better choices at your favorite fast food restaurants throughout the rest of the day with these articles:
- Pick-and-Pass: Fast Food Breakfast Sandwiches
- The Healthiest Food to Eat at Burger King
- The Healthiest Food to Eat at Wendy’s
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock