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.

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. [related]

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!

 

1. Starbucks

 (Starbucks)

Healthiest: Spinach and Feta Wrap
Calories: 290
Fat: 10 grams
Sodium: 830 milligrams

Unhealthiest: Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich
Calories: 500 calories
Fat: 28 grams
Sodium: 920 milligrams

2. McDonald’s

 (McDonald's)

Healthiest: Egg White Delight
Calories: 250
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 770 milligrams

Unhealthiest: Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel
Calories: 680
Fat: 35 grams
Sodium: 1,520 milligrams

3. Au Bon Pain

 (flickr/ one2c900)

Healthiest: Egg Whites and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
Calories: 250
Fat: 9 grams
Sodium: 510 milligrams

Unhealthiest: Sausage, Egg, and Cheddar on Asiago Bagel
Calories: 730
Fat: 36 grams
Sodium: 1,210 milligrams

4. Arby’s

 (Arby's)

Healthiest: Ham and Swiss Croissant
Calories: 270
Fat: 14 grams
Sodium: 910 milligrams

Unhealthiest: Sausage Egg, and Cheese Wrap
Calories: 640
Fat: 41 grams
Sodium: 1,870 milligrams

5. Burger King

 (flickr/ cafemema)

Healthiest: Breakfast Muffin Sandwich with Egg and Cheese
Calories: 220
Fat: 9 grams
Sodium: 650 milligrams

Unhealthiest: Double Croissan’wich with Sausage, Egg, and Cheese
Calories: 660
Fat: 48 grams
Sodium: 1,420 milligrams

6. Subway

 (Subway)

Healthiest: Egg White and Cheese 3-Inch Flatbread
Calories: 170
Fat: 5 grams
Sodium: 490 milligrams

Unhealthiest: 6-Inch Breakfast BMT Melt
Calories: 490
Fat: 22 grams
Sodium: 1,600 milligrams

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