The Best & Worst Fast-Food Breakfast Sandwiches
Breakfast is important—it fuels your morning and may help keep your hunger in check so you don't overdo it at lunch. But mornings can be hectic and you may not always have the extra time to spend whipping up a breakfast to take on the go. When you're strapped for time and need a satisfying breakfast on the run, a fast-food breakfast sandwich can be oh-so-tasty and convenient. Our favorite menu hacks offer a good jump start, with plenty of protein, a little fiber—and vegetables whenever we can find them.
Panera Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Sandwich
360 calories / 19 g protein / 5 g fiber / 690 mg sodium
Between the Vermont cheddar, spinach and tomato, and avocado slices, there's plenty of flavor, color and satisfaction tucked into this sprouted-grain "bagel flat."
Panera Bread French Toast Bagel with Sausage, Egg & Cheese
670 calories / 29 g protein / 2 g fiber / 1,280 mg sodium
The combination of sausage and cheese really adds on the sodium. Putting it on a bagel alone adds substantially to the calories and sodium (350 calories and 620 mg of sodium from just the bagel).
Photo via Starbucks.com
Starbucks Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Egg White Breakfast Sandwich
230 calories / 18 g protein / 3 g fiber / 550 mg sodium
Why don't more fast-food sandwiches come on whole-wheat English muffins? Starbucks takes it up a notch with flavorful sharp cheddar and a little smoke from turkey bacon.
Starbucks Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich
500 calories / 19 g protein / 0 g fiber / 920 mg sodium
Choosing sausage over the turkey bacon in the healthier sandwich makes a big impact on calories and sodium.
Subway Egg and Cheese 6-inch breakfast sandwich, hold the cheese, with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions
310 calories / 18 g protein / 5 g fiber / 680 mg sodium
We love how Subway lets us build-our-own: Here, we pile on the (free, fiber-rich) vegetables for a flavorful, crunchtastic sandwich.
Subway Steak, Egg and Cheese 6-inch breakfast sandwich
450 calories / 28 g protein / 4 g fiber / 1,260 mg sodium
Subway's build your own can make it easy to get ahead of yourself with high calorie and high sodium toppings, such as steak and cheese.
Photo via McDonalds.com
McDonald's Egg McMuffin®
300 calories / 18 g protein / 2 g fiber / 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 McGriddles®.
McDonald's Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle®
560 calories / 20 g protein / 2 g fiber / 1,360 mg sodium
By choosing a breakfast sandwich that has sausage and is served on a pancake-type bun, called a McGriddle®, you add extra calories and sodium.
Au Bon Pain
Egg whites, Cheddar & Avocado on a Skinny Wheat Bagel
360 calories / 19 g protein / 9 g fiber / 590 mg sodium
A breakfast sandwich on a bagel, and avocado to boot? Yes please. Especially when the bagel is lower in carbs, soft, and full of nutty whole grains.
Au Bon Pain Sausage, Egg and Cheddar on Asiago Bagel
810 calories / 41 g protein / 2 g fiber / 1,340 mg 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.
Photo via EinsteinBros.com
Einstein Brothers Avocado Toast with 1 egg on a Thintastic Whole-Wheat Bagel
330 calories / 16 g protein / 7 g fiber / 540 mg sodium
This is what happens when avocado toast meets an egg-on-bagel sandwich, and it's all good, especially when the bagel's lower in carbs and full of whole grains.
Einstein Brothers Chorizo Sunrise on a Green Chile Gourmet Bagel
840 calories / 36 g protein / TK g fiber / TK mg sodium
Though this signature sandwich boasts a southwestern flair, it has much more calories and sodium than the vast majority of people need at breakfast.
Taco Bell Breakfast Soft Taco "Fresco" Style with extra Egg, no bacon, plus Guacamole
240 calories / 9 g protein / 2 g fiber / 510 mg sodium
These simple customizations cut back on sodium and add extra protein for a taco with staying power. Plus, a healthy dollop of fresh guac and pico de gallo make it mouthwatering.
Taco Bell Breakfast Crunchwrap with Sausage
690 calories / 21 g protein / 4 g fiber / 1,210 mg sodium
Due to its much larger portion size, the breakfast crunchwrap with sausage is the highest calorie breakfast item on Taco Bell's menu.
Photo via WhiteCastle.com
White Castle Breakfast Toast Sandwich with Egg and Jalapeno Cheese
280 calories / 11 g protein / 2 g fiber / 560 mg sodium
Sure, the Castle's known for sliders, and there are breakfast versions, but it's too easy to eat 'em by the handful. We favor this substantial sandwich, with egg, a little bacon and a kick of heat.
White Castle Waffle Breakfast Slider with Sausage, Egg and Cheese
490 calories / 15 g protein / 0 g fiber / 730 mg sodium
The waffle exterior of this sandwich packs on the calories without any fiber, meaning it'll likely lead to an energy crash and craving for more food earlier than you expected.
It's possible to make a smart choice at any of these fast-food restaurants. For the healthiest choice, skip the sausage to cut down on sodium, opt for a lighter bread choice to save calories (choose an English muffin, wrap or toast over a bagel, croissant, pancake or biscuit) and go for the whole-grain option whenever available for added fiber. 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.
Breakfast in Hand | EatingWell October 2019