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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
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).
Fit Tip: If you have a choice of sausage, ham, or bacon, skip the sausage -- it can be 130 calories more.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Fit Tip: Again, avoid the sausage choices.
Fit Tip: Avoid all the T.J. Cinnamons goodies -- especially the Pecan Sticky Buns.
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.