Better-for-You Fast-Food Breakfast Choices
SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)

Fitness

Better-for-You Fast-Food Breakfast Choices

It's not easy eating healthily when you're constantly on the go, but here are some healthy breakfast choices that won't ruin your diet.

McDonald's

Can you eat a healthful fast-food breakfast? It's not exactly simple, but there are some choices that are the lesser of several evils. Keep in mind that breakfast should be about 25 percent of your daily calories.

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Deluxe Breakfast (biscuit, eggs, sausage, and hash browns) without syrup or margarine: 1,070 calories, 55g fat, 2,090mg sodium, 109g carbs, 6g fiber, 36g protein.
  • Hotcakes and Sausage (with two pats margarine and syrup): 780 calories, 33g fat, 9g saturated fat, 4g trans fat, 1,020mg sodium, 106g carbs, 3g fiber, 15g protein.

Picks

  • English Muffin (no butter): 140 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 260mg sodium, 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein.
  • Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12g fat, 820mg sodium, 30g carbs, 2g fiber, 18g protein.
  • Scrambled Eggs (two): 170 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 180 mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 15g protein.

Fit Tip: Avoid the biscuits; they start at 250 calories and go up to 570. If you're going to go for something high in calories, you're better off, from a hunger perspective, having an Egg McMuffin. At least it has protein rather than just heavy carbs, which could leave you feeling hungry a few hours later. Also, watch out for the flavored coffees. McDonald's adds syrup, so the calories are up there (190 for a medium).

 

Burger King

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Enormous Omelet Sandwich: 730 calories, 45g fat, 16g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 1,940mg sodium, 44g carbs, 2g fiber, 37g protein.
  • Double Croissan'wich with Sausage, Egg & Cheese: 680 calories, 51g fat, 11g saturated fat, 2.5g trans fat, 1,060mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 19g protein.
  • Large Hash Browns: 620 calories, 40g fat, 11g saturated fat, 13g trans fat, 1,200mg sodium, 60g carbs, 6g fiber, 5g protein.
  • Cini-minis with Vanilla Icing: 500 calories, 21g fat, 5.5g saturated fat, 4.5g trans fat, 600mg sodium, 72g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein.

Picks

  • Croissan'wich Egg & Cheese: 300 calories, 17g fat, 6g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 740mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 12g protein.
  • Ham Omelet Sandwich: 330 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,130mg sodium, 35g carbs, 1g fiber, 16g protein.

Fit Tip: If you have a choice of sausage, ham, or bacon, skip the sausage -- it can be 130 calories more.

 

Dunkin' Donuts

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Bacon Lover's Supreme Breakfast Sandwich: 640 calories, 43g fat, 19g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 1,120mg sodium, 36g carbs, 2g fiber, 26g protein.
  • Sausage Egg Cheese Croissant Sandwich: 690 calories, 51g fat, 17g saturated fat, 7g trans fat, 1,080mg sodium, 40g carbs, 0g fiber, 22g protein.
  • Maple Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich: 690 calories, 45g fat, 15g saturated fat, 7g trans fat, 630mg sodium, 45g carbs, 0g fiber, 25g protein.

Picks

  • Bacon Egg Cheese English Muffin Sandwich: 360 calories, 16g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,300mg sodium, 36g carbs, 1g fiber, 17g protein.
  • Egg Cheese English Muffin Sandwich: 280 calories, 9g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,010mg sodium, 34g carbs, 1g fiber, 15g protein.
  • Flavored Coffee: 20 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg sodium, 4g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g protein

Fit Tip: What about a doughnut? Believe it or not, it just might be your lowest calorie choice (about 250 to 350), although it could leave you hungry. The flavored coffee at Dunkin' Donuts is great.

 

Hardee's

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Loaded Breakfast Burrito: 780 calories, 51g fat, 20g saturated fat, 1,620mg sodium, 38g carbs, 2g fiber, 40g protein.
  • Monster Biscuit: 710 calories, 51g fat, 17g saturated fat, 2,250mg sodium, 37g carbs, 0g fiber, 24g protein.
  • Big Country Breakfast Platter - Breaded Pork Chop: 1,220 calories, 68g fat, 13g saturated fat, 2,230mg sodium, 102g carbs, 4g fiber, 48g protein.

Picks

  • Loaded Omelet: 270 calories, 21g fat, 9g saturated fat, 620mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0g fiber, 16g protein.
  • Frisco Breakfast Sandwich: 420 calories, 20g fat, 7g saturated fat, 1,340mg sodium, 37g carbs, 2g fiber, 24g protein.
  • Egg Biscuit: 450 calories, 29g fat, 6g saturated fat, 940mg sodium, 35g carbs, 0g fiber, 11g protein.

Fit Tip: Avoid the "Big Country Breakfast Platters" -- they're super-high in fat and calories, from 970 to 1,220, plus more than 2,000mg of sodium. Hardee's is not very "health" friendly, but if you're stuck, your best bet is probably the Loaded Omelet.

 

Starbucks

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Blueberry Scone: 480 calories, 22g fat, 0.5g trans fat, 520mg sodium, 64g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein.
  • Cinnamon Chip Scone: 490 calories, 25g fat, 13g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 500mg sodium, 62g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein.

Picks

  • Black Forest Ham, Egg and Cheddar Sandwich: 380 calories, 16g fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 930mg sodium, 37g carbs, 1g fiber, 21g protein.
  • Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, Reduced-Fat White Cheddar Sandwich: 350 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 820mg sodium, 41g carbs, 4g fiber, 20g protein.

Fit Tip: Almost all the baked goods (muffins, coffee cakes, danishes, etc.) are high in calories and nutritionally void (although they don't have saturated fat). Your best bet is a real meal. Not all Starbucks carry breakfast, but if they do, go for the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, Reduced-Fat White Cheddar sandwich. Starbucks makes good plain coffee; get that with skim milk. (Note: Starbucks nutritional information varies by region.)

 

Chick-fil-A

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Chick-fil-A Sausage Platter: 710 calories, 46g fat, 14g saturated fat, 3.5g trans fat, 1,470mg sodium, 44g carbs, 2g fiber, 27g protein.

Picks

  • Breakfast Burrito (chicken): 410 calories, 16g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 940 mg sodium, 42g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 22g protein.
  • Fruit Cup (medium): 70 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg sodium, 16g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g protein.

Fit Tip: All the platters are high in calories. Except for the fruit cup, I'm not really loving the breakfast options here -- lots of high-calorie biscuits. Your basic biscuit with butter is 270 calories.

 

Jack in the Box

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit: 740 calories, 55g fat, 17g saturated fat, 6g trans fat, 1,430mg sodium, 35g carbs, 2g fiber, 27g protein.
  • Sirloin Steak & Egg Burrito: 790 calories, 48g fat, 15g saturated fat, 3.5g trans fat, 1,320mg sodium, 52g carbs, 6g fiber, 37g protein.

Picks

  • Bacon Breakfast Jack: 300 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 730mg sodium, 29g carbs, 1g fiber, 16g protein.
  • Breakfast Jack: 290 calories, 12g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 760mg sodium, 29g carbs, 1g fiber, 17g protein.

Fit Tip: Again, avoid the sausage choices.

 

Arby's

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Sausage Gravy Biscuit: 961 calories, 68g fat, 14g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 3,755mg sodium, 107g carbs, 1g fiber, 7g protein.
  • Pecan Sticky Bun: 688 calories, 22g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 420mg sodium, 91g carbs, 5g fiber, 12g protein.

Picks

  • Bacon & Egg Croissant: 337 calories, 22g fat, 10g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 651mg sodium, 23g carbs, 1g fiber, 11g protein.
  • Ham & Cheese Croissant: 274 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 842mg sodium, 22g carbs, 1g fiber, 13g protein.

Fit Tip: Avoid all the T.J. Cinnamons goodies -- especially the Pecan Sticky Buns.

 

Carl's Jr.

Calorie Rip-Offs

  • Breakfast Burger: 830 calories, 47g fat, 15g saturated fat, 1,580mg sodium, 65g carbs, 3g fiber, 37g protein.
  • Loaded Breakfast Burrito: 820 calories, 51g fat, 16g saturated fat, 1,530mg sodium, 52g carbs, 2g fiber, 38g protein.

Picks

  • Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich: 460 calories, 21g fat, 9g saturated fat, 1,050mg sodium, 39g carbs, 2g fiber, 28g protein.
  • Sunrise Croissant Sandwich: 560 calories, 41g fat, 15g saturated fat, 970mg sodium, 27g carbs, 1g fiber, 20g protein.

Fit Tip: Not too many great choices here, but in a crunch you can go with the Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich or the Sunrise Croissant Sandwich as the least of the evils.

 

Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate, founder and editor of DietDetective.com, the health and fitness network, and author of The Diet Detective's Calorie Bargain Bible. Copyright 2008 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved.

Reprinted with permission from www.dietdetective.com, May 2008.

 
shim