Fast food sandwiches can be tasty and convenient. Unfortunately, not all breakfast sandwiches are healthy. While some are made with health-conscious ingredients and fewer grams of sugar, others are loaded with carbs, fats, and staggering amounts of sodium. Fast food sandwiches run the gamut, so how do you tell healthy from unhealthy options?
To start, Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT to My Crohn’s and Colitis Team, shares that unhealthy breakfast sandwiches typically contain high amounts of saturated fat, sodium, calories, refined carbohydrates, and little to no fiber or nutrients. “The saturated fat in breakfast sandwiches usually comes from fatty meats, fried foods, and lots of cheese,” Feder shares.
Feder also points out that the bread used for unhealthy breakfast sandwiches is “usually refined white bread with little or no nutritional value.” “All of these things can contribute to excessive calorie intake, high blood pressure, increased levels of bad cholesterol, and other cardiovascular diseases,” Feder advises.
Luckily, it’s not all bad news – healthier options exist. Just be on the lookout for them (or modify the less healthy ones). For example, Mandy Tyler, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD, LAT sharing that you need to pay special attention to the type of bread used in a breakfast sandwich. “Select a sandwich made on an English muffin, bun, or whole-grain bread over a croissant or cookie to help reduce the amount of saturated fat in the sandwich,” says Tyler.
Feder adds that a healthy breakfast sandwich is usually made up of lean proteins (like egg whites and turkey bacon), healthy fats (including avocado and egg yolks), and whole grain carbohydrates. “A healthy breakfast sandwich will also include items that provide vitamins and minerals, such as a mix of different vegetables,” says Feder.
With these expert tips in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the least healthy fast food sandwiches around. From options with over 1,500 milligrams of sodium per serving to sandwiches topped with a mouth-watering amount of fried ingredients and fatty meats, here are seven fast food breakfast sandwiches to avoid right now (or at least to consume in moderation):
For more on fast food breakfast, here are the breakfast times at all major fast food chains.
per sandwichCalories: 550, 33g fat (13g saturated fat), 1290mg sodium, 44g carbs (2g fiber, 15g sugar), 19g protein
There’s no doubt about it, Golden Arches has delicious menu items, breakfast options included. But are they so healthy? Well, that’s another story. Feder points out that this sandwich is one of the unhealthiest breakfast sandwiches out there, for good reason. The McGriddle sandwich, which includes eggs, cheese and grilled cakes, may sound tasty, but, sadly, the health department misses it. For starters, it’s high in calories and sugar and has little nutritional value.
per sandwichCalories: 623, 42g fat (18g saturated fat), 1797mg sodium, 31g carbs (1g fiber, 6g sugar), 31g protein
Burger King Fully Loaded Croissan’wich proves that sometimes having it all isn’t necessarily a good thing. Packed with bacon, ham, sausages (that’s all the fatty meats Feder warned us about earlier) and cheese, this Burger King breakfast is high in calories, fat and protein. sodium. The FDA recommends adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. With this sandwich, you already have well over half the recommended daily sodium intake.
You guessed it, this sandwich should probably only be enjoyed once in a while. Instead, opt for one of Burger King’s more streamlined breakfast sandwiches, like their Egg and Cheese Biscuit.
per sandwichCalories: 530, 27g fat (11g saturated fat), 1830mg sodium, 45g carbs (2g fiber, 7g sugar), 26g protein
This sandwich is a breakfast version of Chick-Fil-A’s famous chicken sandwiches. Made with breaded chicken, eggs and cheese, this dish is loaded with carbs and sodium. Add extras (like a sausage patty or more cheese) and watch those numbers go even higher.
If you’re craving Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, Tyler recommends grabbing their Egg White Grill sandwich instead, which features grilled chicken, egg whites, and American cheese served on an English muffin. “It provides 26 grams of protein, making it a great breakfast choice,” says Tyler.
per sandwichCalories: 670, 40g fat (13g saturated fat), 1300mg sodium, 52g carbs (4g fiber, 3g sugar), 21g protein
Taco Bell’s Breakfast Crunchwrap sounds like a dream until you realize how unhealthy it is. Filled with bacon, cheese, and hash browns, this breakfast pick is over 50 carbs and 40 grams of fat. Additionally, the bacon in it is made from sodium nitrites, which may not be healthy for your body if consumed in excess.
Suppose you are at the Taco Bell in the early hours of the day. In that case, it’s best to opt for their Fiesta Potato Cheese Grilled Breakfast Burrito, which has fewer carbs, calories, and almost half the amount of sodium as breakfast. Crunchwrap.
per sandwichCalories: 710, 48g fat (19g saturated fat), 1740mg sodium, 36g carbs (1g fiber, 7g sugar), 33g protein
Thought Wendy’s Baconators was just for lunch and dinner? Think again. The popular fast food spot also offers a special breakfast version of this iconic sandwich. Filled with sausage patties, eggs, smoked bacon and two types of cheese, this menu option contains 1,740 milligrams of sodium and nearly 48 grams of fat.
Instead, go for Wendy’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese Cookie. Although still high in sodium, it has fewer grams of fat and carbohydrates than Breakfast Baconator.
per sandwichCalories: 830, 44g fat (16g saturated fat), 1590mg sodium, 67g carbs (4g fiber, 13g sugar), 42g protein
This Carl’s Jr. breakfast burger is made with rich ingredients including a grilled beef patty, bacon, eggs, American cheese and hash browns. With over 800 calories, 13 grams of sugar, and 1,590 milligrams of sodium, this breakfast sandwich is one of the least healthy options.
per sandwichCalories: 670, 45g fat (18g saturated fat), 1500mg sodium, 43g carbs (3g fiber, 4g sugar), 25g protein
Sonic, the iconic drive-in famous for its delicious drinks and tasty snacks, also offers breakfast options all day. However, you might want to skip this sausage sandwich option. Made with eggs, sausage, cheese, and thick Texan toast, this sandwich leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to nutrition. “Sandwiches containing regular sausage or bacon will contain more saturated fat and are less healthy options,” says Tyler.
A slightly better option would be to order Sonic Jr.’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burrito, which has less sodium, is served on a tortilla and can be ordered with added tomatoes and onions for a bit of well-being.
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