Healthiest and Unhealthiest Breakfast Sandwiches

Lately it seems as if every fast-food and fast-casual chain has introduced breakfast sandwiches, wraps, burritos, and the like to their menus. The reasons behind this move are obvious: Who doesn’t love a great handheld breakfast? But when you drop in and check out the menu, it’s not always easy to tell right off the bat which offerings are better for you than others. For that reason, we looked at the menus at 13 popular fast-food and fast-casual chains, and have found both the healthiest and unhealthiest sandwiches and wraps they sell.

Healthiest and Unhealthiest Fast-Food Breakfast Sandwiches (Slideshow)

Offering breakfast is one of the smartest things a quick-service chain can do. Not only does it open the doors up earlier to allow more time to make sales, but eggs are one of the highest profit-margin foods out there and breakfast offerings tend to be very cost-efficient to source and assemble. Think about it: If you were to buy one English muffin, one egg, one slice of cheese, and one piece of Canadian bacon, it would cost you well less than $1, but McDonald’s sells their Egg McMuffin for about $2.50, on average.

It might be surprising, but the amount of fat and calories in fast-food breakfasts can add up, quickly. Egg yolks, butter, and fatty meats like bacon and sausage are the cornerstones of many breakfasts (fast-food and otherwise), and they also happen to be some of the unhealthiest food products on Earth.

But with a little bit of effort, it’s possible to drop into the most grease-laden fast-food chain and order a breakfast that would make your cardiologist proud (or at least not make him too upset). Egg whites, lighter wraps, whole grains, and vegetables are becoming de rigueur for any chain that’s looking to pull a big breakfast crowd, so it’s best to not assume that just because it’s a quick-service restaurant your only options will be unhealthy ones.

Now, we’re not saying that all these offerings are good for you, per se; but they’re the healthiest breakfast sandwiches that these places offer. You still wouldn’t want to get in the habit of eating a ham and cheese croissant from Arby’s every morning, but if you find yourself with no other options, that’s a whole heck of a lot better for you than their sausage gravy biscuit!

Click here to learn the nutrition information for the healthiest and unhealthiest breakfast sandwiches and wraps at 13 fast-food and quick-service restaurants.

We Ranked the Most Delicious Breakfast Sandwiches in Fast Food Jack in the Box: Supreme Croissant. Burger King: Fully Loaded Croissan’wich. White Castle: Belgian Waffle Slider. Wendy’s: Breakfast Baconator. Subway: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese. McDonald’s: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle. Taco Bell: Breakfast Bacon Crunchwrap.

The egg content could persuade eaters that’s it’s a healthy , protein-filled choice at breakfast time. According to Livestrong, egg sandwiches have up to four times as much low-quality carbs as protein. This is because they are only made with one egg and therefore low in protein.

Healthy 5-Minute Breakfast Sandwiches to Make and Take Along

The breakfast sandwich gets a makeover: five healthy ways to make sure you don&rsquot skip the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast often gets the short end in the morning dash out the door. But skipping breakfast primes your brain to seek out high-calorie foods and means you&aposll eat more later. While you probably know a breakfast sandwich from a fast-food chain isn&apost a great option either, you&aposd be surprised by just how unhealthy it can be. Some fast food breakfast sandwiches have 700 calories and 1300 mg of sodium (that&aposs more than half your daily limit of sodium at breakfast!)

Luckily, if you have 5 minutes, you can whip up healthier breakfast sandwiches at home that are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts. Each of these sandwiches starts with a whole grain– think whole-wheat English muffins, wraps, bagels, waffles or toast-and adds healthy and tasty fillings to satisfy any breakfast craving. From sweet to savory, classic to spicy, these breakfast sandwiches have you covered. We&aposve even added fruit and vegetables to these sandwiches for extra color, flavor and nutrition to start your day.

McDonald's Egg McMuffin

Courtesy of McDonalds

So the Egg McMuffin at McDonald's is actually a pretty good breakfast choice, clocking in at 300 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat. The 17 grams of protein from the egg, Canadian bacon, and cheese will help to curb hunger until lunchtime, so you can stay focused during your morning tasks.

24 Breakfast Sandwich Recipes That Are Easy Enough for Weekdays

Sometimes the best breakfast is one you can eat on-the-go. As much as we try to sit down for meals, we&rsquore often too rushed in the a.m., especially if we&rsquore also hitting the gym &mdash or the snooze button.

For a morning meal that fuels your day and still fits in your hands, look no further than these breakfast sandwiches. The options are superior to what you&rsquod find at a fast-food joint or coffee shop (and they&rsquore way less greasy).

We&rsquore talking bacon, sausage, egg, vegan, fruit, chocolate &mdash pretty much anything that fits between slices of bread, a bagel, or a croissant. With so many choices, you&rsquoll never skip breakfast again.

1. Bacon and egg croissant sandwich

We had to include a classic up front. After all, it&rsquos a great way to fuel up before a busy day. This sandwich balances the richness of a croissant with savory eggs and, of course, bacon.

2. Lox avocado toast

Forget the BLT. If you&rsquore like us, you&rsquoll prefer trading in this old favorite for some avo and lox instead.

You&rsquore getting good fats from the avocado, some protein from the lox, antioxidants from the veggies, and carbs courtesy of the toast. If you&rsquore feeling extra adventurous, try stacking it on your favorite type of bagel.

3. 3-ingredient BBQ beef sandwich

Ditch the dry granola bars and opt for this tasty sandwich on your weekday mornings instead. This super simple recipe only has three ingredients, so it&rsquos no hassle with tons of taste.

It&rsquos so fun and simple to make you don&rsquot even need summer as an excuse &mdash just fire up the grill.

4. Croque monsieur

A French favorite served on another French favorite: the croissant. Who could ask for more?

A creamy béchamel sauce mixed with Gruyère makes this a cheese lover&rsquos dream. It may not be the healthiest thing ever, but it&rsquos too good to pass up, especially if you buy croissants fresh from the bakery.

5. Freezer-friendly breakfast sandwich

This is your go-to breakfast if you&rsquore in a huge hurry in the mornings. The freezer-friendly meal combines turkey sausage, eggs, and a whole-wheat English muffin for a ton of flavor with minimal prep time.

6. The easiest breakfast patty melt

While we love our toppings, there&rsquos something to be said for a traditional sandwich, besides the quicker prep time. You won&rsquot have to get up at the crack of dawn to make it.

This recipe keeps it simple yet tasty with eggs, sausage, and cheese, but then it adds on onions for some additional flavor.

7. Copycat Starbucks breakfast sandwich

Love getting your Starbucks fix but don&rsquot want to drop money on breakfast out? We&rsquove got your back. This (near) copy of the standard Starbucks breakfast sandwich is super easy to make at home.

8. Guacamole breakfast sandwich

This exquisite sandwich is as beautiful as it is delicious, though we don&rsquot recommend trying to stack the ingredients as gracefully as this blogger did.

The bacon vinaigrette and blue cheese already have us drooling, and we haven&rsquot even gotten to the egg. Add in some greens, and you&rsquove got your protein and a few veggies for the morning.

9. Crispy kale grilled cheese with fried eggs

This one&rsquos for the kale lovers out there. Stock up on vitamins A and C, while treating yourself to some bacon-y, egg-y goodness. You could sandwich this between any type of bread, but we love the hearty whole-wheat bun.

10. Open-faced power breakfast sandwich with egg whites, avocado, and tomato

When you&rsquore craving bread but don&rsquot want to overload on a greasy breakfast sandwich, this is a healthier happy medium.

This sandwich stacks egg whites, tomato, and avocado for a beauty of a breakfast. Don&rsquot even think about leaving out the protein-rich spinach.

11. Huevos rancheros breakfast sandwich

Grab the salsa and avos for this California favorite. It&rsquos substantial enough to keep you energized for a long time and easy to make.

Just don&rsquot plan on eating it in the car &mdash this is one of those meals where it&rsquos hard not to get something on you. It&rsquos so spicy, creamy, gooey, and amazing, so you really won&rsquot care.

12. Mediterranean egg white breakfast sandwich with roasted tomatoes

This healthy morning meal is a bit like grilled cheese and tomato soup in one. So, basically, heaven on a plate.

You can use dried herbs in a pinch: Just add them straight to the omelet like you would with fresh herbs. To get added nutrients, make sure your bread is 100 percent whole grain.

13. 5-minute tofu &ldquoegg&rdquo salad sandwich

This quick sandwich brings the taste (and look) of egg salad without, well, the actual eggs.

Because you&rsquore making vegan egg salad, this sandwich takes a lot of spices and ingredients, but don&rsquot worry, the whole endeavor takes just 5 minutes. Then you can chow down and enjoy.

14. Vegan breakfast sandwich (for less than $3)

The blogger combines scrambled tofu and tempeh bacon for protein, but if you&rsquore tight on time, just use the bacon or buy tofu that&rsquos already flavored.

Spread garlic hummus or guacamole on an English muffin, add your protein and some vegan cheese, then top with tomato and avocado.

15. Mushroom melt breakfast sandwich

You can use any kind of mushrooms and greens for this recipe, and it&rsquoll taste absolutely delicious.

Just the tiniest bit of berry jam adds unexpected sweetness to the savory dish. The vegan sausage and mushrooms guarantee you won&rsquot feel hungry afterward.

16. Savory tempeh breakfast sandwich

If you&rsquore crazy for savory breakfasts, this is the sandwich for you. The hearty soy and maple flavors in the tempeh combine for a unique taste and are paired with freshly sliced avocado. How could you go wrong?

17. Vegan breakfast sandwich

With the simple combo of kale, avocado, olive oil, and almond butter, this is the perfect savory start to any day. Since the recipe is so basic, it&rsquos easy to sub in whatever ingredients you&rsquore feeling.

18. Croissants filled with brie and strawberries

We love brie in all things, so this sandwich is right up our alley. The buttery croissant pairs perfectly with the creamy cheese, and the strawberries add just the slightest sweetness. It&rsquos easy on the eyes, mouth, and stomach.

19. Fried banana and bacon breakfast sandwich

Bust out the forks. Bananas (not just any bananas, fried bananas) are sandwiched inside a cinnamon raisin English muffin, topped with cream cheese and then bacon. It&rsquos a dish that will have you jumping out of bed.

20. English muffin fruit breakfast pizza

OK, so this is sort of sandwich, sort of breakfast pizza, but who are we to complain? The combo of berries, peanut butter, hazelnut spread (aka Nutella), and powdered sugar is the perfect morning treat.

21. Strawberry-banana breakfast quesadilla

Oh yes, we went there. This has got it all: peanut butter, chocolate, and coconut. Oh, and don&rsquot forget the fruit!

That may sound like an odd combo, but take one bite and you&rsquoll be in gooey heaven. The blogger also notes a bunch of other flavor combos you can try, like apple, almond butter, and cinnamon, so you can never get bored.

22. Banana stuffed French toast

Maybe not the healthiest breakfast you could fix, but not too unhealthy either! You can always hold off on some sugar and let the fruit do its job.

Nutrition aside, the bananas and gooey French toast make the ultimate combo. If you don&rsquot end the morning with a smile on your face, you&rsquore not human.

23. French toast sandwiches with peaches and mozzarella

Baked French toast gets even more gourmet when you top it with fresh mozzarella and peaches (the combo may sound strange, but trust us on this).

Cap it all off with another slice of French toast that&rsquos crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. Try other fruit too, as this sweet, cinnamon recipe is perfect with pretty much anything.

24. Brie and blueberry waffle grilled cheese

You had us at waffle. Seriously, grilled cheese for breakfast? When it consists of waffles, brie, and blueberries, sure! Top with maple syrup drizzle and you&rsquoll never want to skip breakfast again.

Breakfast sandwiches are a staple for good reason, but most of us don&rsquot quite realize how creative you can get! Sweet or savory, meaty or meat-free, we&rsquove got you covered. Come tomorrow, you&rsquoll be bounding out of bed.

The Serious Danger In Your Breakfast Sandwich

You're pressed for time, so you hit the drive-thru on the way to work. Since you're already there, you figure: Why not make it a cheat day and order a savory, cheesy breakfast sandwich? Just one won't hurt&mdashafter all, many breakfast sammies, including a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin, only register around 400 calories. What could be truly bad about that?

We hate to burst your bacon-lined bubble, but the answer is "plenty," according to new evidence. Researchers in Canada measured the blood vessel function of a group of college students on two separate occasions: once on a day they had no breakfast, and once after they consumed two fast food breakfast sandwiches that clocked about 900 calories and 50 grams of fat total. Just two hours after eating the sandwiches, the subjects' velocity time integral&mdasha measure of how efficiently your blood vessels function&mdashhad dropped by 15-20 percent. That means their blood vessels weren't dilating to their full capacity.

(Still need convincing? Those 400-calorie sandwiches have all kinds of weird things in them. See 10 McDonald's 400 Calorie Meals&mdashExposed! for the full scoop.)

So does that mean you should never bite into that breakfast sandwich? While that cheesy sandwich won't literally kill you, over time the buildup of fat in your arteries can significantly up your risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.

That hardly seems like a good way to start the day&mdashespecially when you consider these easy-to-make breakfast sandwiches that are full of heart-healthy fats and even&mdashwait for it&mdashfruits and vegetables.

1. A PB&B Sandwich A delicious, indulgent treat that's actually. good for you? This healthy sandwich clocks fewer than 400 calories and has protein and good-fat-righ peanut butter, potassium-packing banana, and a good amount of fiber, too.

2. Hearty Egg & Avocado Sandwich The name says it all, and we're not sure it gets more delicious than this. Not only does this delicious sammy pound 24 g of protein, it's under 400 calories, too.

3. Breakfast Quesadilla Yum! Ours has just 350 calories per serving and boasts 23 g of protein, which means you'll be fuller, longer.

4. Sunrise Sandwich with Turkey, Cheddar and Guac Sub in lean turkey for Canadian bacon, add in lycopene-rich tomato, and crown it all with a spread of heart-healthy guacamole and you get this!

Many busy bees stock up doughnuts in their refrigerator and heat it for breakfast. Doughnuts are basically desserts and although they can give you a sugar high, they do not give you the wholesome energy you need from your breakfast.

Believe it or not, many people across the world eat rice with curries and dals early in the morning. Rice has too much starch that will make you sluggish and sleepy in the morning. It is a breakfast that is really too heavy!

More From The Daily Meal

#5 Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on English Muffin
Calories: 290
Fat: 10 grams
Sodium: 700 milligrams

#4 Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread
Calories: 280
Fat: 8 grams
Sodium: 770 milligrams

#3 Egg White Veggie Flatbread
Calories: 280
Fat: 10 grams
Sodium: 690 milligrams

#2 Ham, Egg, and Cheese on English Muffin
Calories: 280
Fat: 8 grams
Sodium: 770 milligrams

#1 Egg and Cheese on English Muffin
Calories: 240
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 490 milligrams

Taco Bell

The Best

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.

The Worst

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&aposs menu.

The Healthiest and Worst Doughnuts, Breakfast Sandwiches, and Coffees at Dunkin’ Donuts

We get it: You’re not going to Dunkin’ Donuts looking for kale smoothies. Maybe you just really want a sugary, fatty, cream-filled pastry and don’t need anyone to judge you thank you very much.

However, have you ever been at an airport where the only real breakfast option is Dunkin’? We have. And with all the many, many menu items—plus a seemingly infinite variety of coffee drinks—you really have to look carefully to find something that won’t wreck your clean-eating streak.

So that’s why I’ve gone through and selected the healthiest—and the least healthy–options on the menu. And since you’re probably going to eat them anyway (the temptation is real!), I even included doughnuts.

Healthiest Doughnut: Sugared Raised Donut

Why It’s Good: If you’re going to get a doughnut, this one has way less sugar than the other offerings, and it’ s lower in calories.

Nutrition Stats: 230 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 330 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 3 g protein

Unhealthiest Doughnut: Blueberry Butternut Donut, Bismark, or Glazed Jelly Stick

Why it’s bad: Imagine eating eight teaspoons of sugar. Kind of gross, right? Or, you could just down any of these three pastries, which are the most sugar-filled of bunch.

Nutrition Facts: All three doughnuts fall into these ranges: Calories: 420-490, 17-25 g fat, 8-11 g saturated fat, 350-380 mg sodium, 59-62 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 35-37 g sugar, 4-5 g protein

Healthiest Breakfast Item: Multigrain Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Why It’s Good: The oats and barley pack a punch of fiber, plus offer B vitamins and minerals.

Make It Better: Because brown sugar is pre-mixed in, the cereal hits you with 15 grams (g) of sugar—about four teaspoons! So, I’d skip the optional dried fruit, which would bring sugar up to a total of 35 grams (g).

Nutrition Facts: Without the dried fruit: 210 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 250 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 5 g protein.

Worst Breakfast Item: Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Biscuit

Why It’s Unhealthy: It’s the perfect storm of unhealthy fat (from both the biscuit and the sausage), white flour, and an astounding amount of sodium.

Nutrition Facts: 680 calories, 49 g fat, 21 g saturated fat, 1,560 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 23 g protein

Healthiest Sandwich: Whole Wheat Bagel With White Cheddar Cheese

Why It’s Good : You’ll get around a quarter of your daily fiber needs (from the bagel) plus about 15 percent of your daily calcium requirement (from the cheese). The bagel’s whole wheat also contains a nice sprinkling of manganese and selenium, minerals that may help protect us from cancer or heart disease. Of course, ideally, your bagel wouldn’t contain 10 g of sugar, but it’s still the healthiest bread/wrap/flatbread choice on the menu.

Make It Better: Make sure to ask for white cheddar, as it has a much cleaner ingredient list than the other options.

Nutrition Facts: Whole wheat bagel with two slices of white cheddar: 500 calories, 16 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 840 mg sodium, 63 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 25 g protein, 340 mg calcium.

Unhealthiest Sandwich: Tuna Melt on a Croissant

Why It’s Unhealthy: Buried deep in this sandwich is a healthy ingredient—tuna—rich in omega-3 fats. But slather it with enough mayo, add cheese, and serve it in a fatty croissant there goes 80 percent of your day’s saturated fat, obliterating any benefit from omega-3s. Have a hankering for tuna salad? Get it without cheese, on a bagel, for more reasonable amount of saturated fat.

Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 50 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 890 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 22 g protein


Healthiest Coffee Drinks: Black Coffee, or a Plain Cappuccino, Latte, or Macchiato

Why It’s Good : Black coffee is packed with antioxidants, and any black espresso, drip coffee, or Americano will run you just five to ten calories for a small or medium cup. The milk-based beverages can make a nice dent in your daily calcium needs.

Make It Better: For the plain cappuccinos, lattes, or macchiatos, to keep calories reasonable (especially if you’re stirring in a teaspoon of sugar) stick with a small or medium size.

Nutrition Facts: Plain black coffee: 5 to 10 calories per small or medium cup. C appuccino and macchiato: Ranges from a bout 45 calories for a small skim to 120 for a whole milk medium size. Latte : Ranges from around 70 calories for a small skim to 170 for a medium with whole milk.

Unhealthiest Coffee Drink: Caramel Swirl Frozen Dunkin’ Coffee with Cream

Why It’s Unhealthy: You know something with “Caramel Swirl” in the name isn’t going to be nutritionally pretty, but there’s half a day’s calories and over 40 teaspoons of sugar in a large serving of this beverage. And smaller isn’t much better there’s over 30 teaspoons of sugar in the medium and over 20 teaspoons in the small.

Nutrition Facts: Large size: 1,060 calories, 35 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 230 mg sodium, 178 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 172 g sugar, 9 g protein

Janis Jibrin is a registered dietitian who has spent much of her career writing about nutrition, Janis’s articles have appeared in Dr. Oz The Good Life, Self, Yoga Journal, and other magazines. She’s also taught nutrition at American University, written best-selling diet books, and helped develop a year-long weight loss program for United Health Group.

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