When it comes to weight loss, you may try to avoid easy grab-and-go foods because, oftentimes, they tend to be free of any nutritionally redeeming qualities (think: vending machine snacks). But whether it be because you’re hungry, or because you’re in a time crunch, sometimes these options are unavoidable. Fast food is a popular choice—it’s both very convenient and very quick—but it doesn’t seem like the best pick if you’re grabbing breakfast to start your day while trying to lose weight. (Have you seen the 5 Worst Fast-Food Breakfasts to Stay Away From Right Now?)
The good news is, however, that you can still purchase fast food breakfasts when you’re trying to lose weight. You just need to figure out what your options are. Let’s start with one of the most popular, well-known, and worldwide fast-food chains, McDonald’s. According to Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, and member of our Medical Expert Board, the best McDonald’s breakfast you can have for weight loss is a combination of two: the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal and the Sausage Burrito.
“[This breakfast] gets the gold star for supporting weight loss because it contains 5 grams fiber and has a very reasonable amount of calories,” says Hembree. “And, it contains whole grains, fruits, and vegetables between the two menu items.”
How this McDonald’s breakfast can support weight loss
To break the breakfast down more, the sausage burrito consists of a mix of scrambled eggs, pork sausage, green chiles, and onion, along with a slice of cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla. The burrito is 310 calories with 17 grams of total fat (which is 22% of the daily value). It also consists of 19 grams of protein.
As for the fruit and maple oatmeal, the calories come in at 320, and have two full servings of whole-grain oats. The bowl also contains red and green apples, cranberries, and two varieties of raisins. It consists of 4.5 grams of total fat (6% of the daily value), and has 4 grams of fiber with 6 grams of protein.
Together, this makes for a powerful weight loss breakfast full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein.
Keep in mind…
Hembree suggests that weight loss is associated with an adequate fruit and vegetable intake.
In research published in the Nutrients journal, multiple studies have concluded that consuming vegetables have been linked with weight loss, and increased vegetable intake was also associated with a reduced risk of weight gain as well as overweight/obesity.
Similarly, another 2020 Nutrients study summarized that because fruit and vegetables are low in calories and fat while being high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals, eating fruits and vegetables can support weight management and weight loss in women. Plus, many fruits have been linked to weight loss, according to several studies.
When it comes to adding protein into your diet for weight loss, a 2020 review published in the Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome noted that multiple clinical studies have found evidence that a high protein diet is linked to inducing weight loss.
Therefore, the combination of both breakfasts will supply you with a good amount of fruits and veggies for the day, as well as 19 grams of protein, and help aid your weight loss efforts.
Fast-food breakfasts do make for an easy grab-and-go to start your day; nevertheless, Hembree mentions that it still needs to fit within a well-balanced diet if you want to maintain your weight loss progress.
“Keep in mind, however, that other meals throughout the day really need to be made at home to avoid overdoing sodium for the day,” she says. “And, perhaps controlling the saturated fat intake.”