Breakfast is important—it fuels your morning and may help keep your hunger in check so you don’t 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
The bottom line:It’s 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’re feeling really virtuous, skip the cheese. Plus, if you’re at a place where you can customize, ask them to add
veggies! Broccoli, tomato and avocado are all great additions to breakfast sandwiches.
Here’s 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’s Starbucks’s
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’s 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’s options with sausage, bacon or served on biscuits or
The Worst: The McDonald’s 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.
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’wich 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.
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).
The Best: The Dunkin’ 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’ 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’m skeptical that they’d tide you over
The Worst: The Dunkin’ 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’ 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.