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
“I actually recommend ordering it with the whole egg,” says dietitianKelly 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 gfiber, 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 gfiber, 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
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