Next time you’re in a hurry, fuel up with these quick yet healthy fast food breakfast options. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. -By Karen Ansel, RD
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it’s also the one we have the least time for. But before you go without-or grab an oversized bagel or donut-check out the latest fast food offerings. Many are actually good for you and slimming too.
Starbucks: Protein Plate
When it comes to breakfast on the run, it can be hard to find one with plenty of protein that’s not also oozing with saturated fat. Enter Starbucks’ Protein Plate, an energizing combo of fruit, peanut butter, a hard cooked egg, and a mini bagel. Together these deliver the perfect balance of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats to help you power through your morning. One serving provides 370 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 17 grams each of protein and fat, and 5 grams of saturated fat. Pair it with a cup of green tea for an added antioxidantboost.
Subway: Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt
The folks at Subway put the breakfast sandwich on a diet and came up with this ingenious muffin melt. They did it by swapping in egg whites for whole eggs and adding fresh vegetables like bell peppers and onions. The result: an egg muffin with only 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, and less than 2 grams of saturated fat. It also packs a satisfying 15 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber along with as much calcium as a glass of milk. Team it up with a bag of apple slices and you’ll work in a serving of produce to boot.
Au Bon Pain: Large Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
If you’re looking to lower your cholesterol this heart-smart breakfast from Au Bon Pain has your name on it. Not only does it contain the cholesterol-lowering fiber beta-glucan, it also supplies avenanthramides, antioxidants exclusively found in oats that protect against atherosclerosis. And because it’s water-rich it’s naturally low in calories, so you can dig into a big bowlful. Made from rolled oats and apples and sweetened with a touch of honey and sugar, one heaping 16-ounce bowlful provides only 370 calories. Nine grams of filling fiber and 11 grams of slowly-digested protein mean it’s also guaranteed to fend off midmorning hunger pangs.
Jamba Juice: 12-oz Mango Peach Topper™
Jamba’s Ideal Meals™ make the perfect breakfast when there’s no time for breakfast. Part smoothie, part yogurt parfait, this meal has it all combining bananas, peaches, mangos, soymilk, and non-fat yogurt with a crunchy organic pumpkin flaxseed granola topping. One 12-oz serving has only 340 calories and 5 grams of fat and supplies 6 grams of fiber and at least half your daily dose of vitamins A and C. Order yours with an extra Whey Protein Superboost for a total of 19 grams of satiating protein.
McDonald’s: Scrambled Eggs + English Muffin
You may think of it as the home of the Egg McMuffin but McDonald’s also dishes up a simpler – and healthier – scrambled egg breakfast. Just order each item individually (no oversized platters please!) and be sure to bypass the breakfast meat. Try a side of scrambled eggs, an English muffin, strawberry preserves, and a large coffee for 365 calories and half the sodium you’d get from the McMuffin.
Jack in the Box: Breakfast Jack®
If you think breakfast just isn’t breakfast without the meat, this sandwich is for you. By trading ham for bacon, Jack in the Box has managed to whip up one of the lightest breakfast ‘wiches around with just 284 calories and 11 grams of fat. Wash it down with an OJ and you’ll score a hefty dose of heart-healthy potassium and more than 100% of your day’s vitamin C.
Burger King: 3-Piece French Toast Sticks
Who says you can’t start your day on the sweet side? Instead of a giant cinnamon roll, check out this perfectly sized portion of French toast strips from Burger King. Three strips with a 1-ounce container of syrup provide a respectable 300 calories, 11 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated fat. And it’s unusually low in sodium with only 260 milligrams per serving. Grab an 8-oz jug of fat free milk along with it for an additional protein boost plus a third of your day’s calcium.
Einstein Bros: Pumpernickel Bagel with Smoked Salmon and Whipped Reduced Fat Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese
Get your omega-3 fix first thing with this savory bagel sandwich from Einstein Bros. Made with fluffy whipped reduced-fat cream cheese and a not-too-big bagel, it’s a lot lighter than you’d expect, delivering only 380 calories and 11 grams of fat. And it’s heart-smart too thanks to a generous serving of DHA-rich smoked salmon and fiber-filled pumpernickel. In addition to their hearty flavor, feasting on dark breads like pumpernickel can reduce your heart disease risk by 25% according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.