Sometimes you just don’t have time or means to cook breakfast. When that occurs, a fast-food breakfast sandwich that you can quickly grab and go is perhaps your best (if not the only) option. Heading to your local fast food joint and blindly ordering off the menu isn’t the smartest choice–you can end up ordering the not-so-healthy option. Instead, be prepared! Understanding the best and the worst of what fast-food menus have to offer will help you plan in advance to make better-for-you choices, as you arrive early in the AM with the rest of the early birds.
When selecting a fast-food breakfast sandwich option, you want to look for choices that are fewer than around 450 calories. Most folks tend to eat heavier lunches and dinners, so keep the bulk of your calories for those meals. You also want a mix of carbs and protein that are within reasonable limits for saturated fat and sodium. If you can balance your sandwich with a fruit or yogurt option, it will be even more balanced, and you’ll get more nutrients in your meal.
Check out the 13 best and worst fast-food breakfast sandwich options below. And for more tips to help you know which fast-food breakfasts are best to avoid, be sure to circle back to The Worst Fast-Food Breakfasts, According to Dietitians.
How to choose the best fast-food breakfast sandwich
This simple egg and cheese sandwich is served on an English muffin. With so many Dunkin’ locations around the country, this sandwich is my go-to when I’m on the road or at the airport.
With almost all the breakfast sandwiches featured, the sodium tends to be on the higher end. However, you can find fast-food breakfast sandwiches with saturated fat and carbs within reasonable limits. For instance, the 6-inch egg and cheese sandwich made with flatbread from Subway is a simple choice that is only 350 calories, which is relatively low compared to other fast-food breakfast sandwiches.
If you’re looking for lean protein for breakfast, try this protein-packed fast-food breakfast sandwich from Chick-fil-A. At only 290 calories per sandwich, this grilled chicken, egg white, and American cheese sandwich served on a toasted English muffin is a better-for-you choice that will keep you well-satisfied until lunch.
The Best Fast-Food Breakfast Sandwiches
This breakfast sandwich is made with an egg, Canadian bacon, and American cheese and served on an English muffin topped with butter. The calories are within reasonable limits for a breakfast option, but pair it with a fruit or yogurt for a well-balanced meal.
This sizzling turkey bacon and egg whites sandwich has reduced-fat white cheddar cheese and is served on a wheat English muffin. It’s high in protein and a go-to among my college-aged son and his friends.
The Worst Fast Food Breakfast Sandwiches
My personal go-to breakfast, this egg white, aged white cheddar cheese, avocado, spinach, and tomato sandwich served on sprouted grain bagel flat, is a nicely balanced breakfast choice. I opt for a whole egg over the egg white to get a full array of nutrients eggs have to offer.
The iconic Burger King Croissan’Wich is beefed up with this breakfast sandwich order, loaded with two sizzling sausage patties, eggs, and two slices of American cheese on a toasted croissant. At one point, this double-decker sandwich was actually part of a promo deal where one could order two—which is wild to fathom now because even with sharing such an order, the saturated fat and sodium are still unbelievably high. Opt for any of the better-for-you options above over this one.
This sandwich is made with five half slices of bacon and white cheddar cheese on two slices of sourdough toast. The calories are a bit high for a breakfast option. However, what is especially concerning is that it’s also 50% of the recommended daily max of saturated fat and 59% of the total recommended max of sodium.
The tortilla filled with sliced chicken nuggets, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and a blend of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses is certainly one fast-food breakfast burrito to skip. It provides 55% of the recommended daily max of saturated fat, 77% of the recommended daily max of sodium, and has the equivalent of almost three and a half slices of bread. For a healthier breakfast sandwich while on the go, opt for Chick-Fil-A’s Egg White Grill instead.
Made with sausage, scrambled egg, American cheese, and garlic aioli served on an Asiago bagel, this fast-food breakfast sandwich from Panera is another one that you’ll want to pass on. The calories are too high for breakfast, providing 41% of your total daily needs based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Additionally, it’s 91% the daily recommended max of saturated fat and 57% of the recommended daily max of sodium. Panera has several better options to choose from instead, including the Avocado, Egg White, Spinach, and Cheese on Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat.
This double-smoked bacon, pork sausage, and scrambled egg breakfast wrap is made with cheddar cheese and potatoes wrapped in a flour tortilla. In this option, you’re getting 59% of the recommended daily max of artery-clogging saturated fat and 47% of the daily recommended max for sodium. Starbucks has numerous better choices, like the aforementioned Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White sandwich.