Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast: Top 5 Choices, According To Nutritionists

Grabbing breakfast on the go might not always be the most nutritious option, particularly if you’re watching your weight. However, if fast food is your morning go-to, there are strategies to reduce fat, sugar, and cholesterol while boosting protein content. More and more fast food restaurants are adding healthier items to their menus, but which are the best? We’ve done the research and have the top five healthiest fast food breakfast options according to registered dieticians.

Opting for whole-grain or multi-grain options is a great way to make a meal healthier, as they offer more fiber and nutrients than their refined counterparts. When choosing a beverage, skip the sugary drinks and opt for water, black coffee, or unsweetened tea. Additionally, look for protein-rich items like egg whites or Greek yogurt to keep you full longer. Remember, with attention to detail and making informed choices, even quick breakfast stops can align with your health goals.

A recent study found eating fatty foods won’t make you fat, but choosing the right fats are key. A little olive oil or salad dressing can help your body better process the nutrients in your food. Also, eating half an avocado daily is better than eating fries every day. Of course, eating anything in excess will lead to weight gain. The goal is to eat enough healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.

Nutritionist says choosing a fast food meal once in a while is not a bad thing. But, there are ways to make such meals healthier, especially by custom ordering. Remember, oatmeal sounds healthy, but not if you add sugary toppings. Which breakfast items balance calories, fat, and nutrition? StudyFinds has searched for the top five healthiest fast food breakfast items, and we have created our list below. Have an item to add? Let us know in the comments section.

Starbucks logo
Starbucks logo (Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash)

The List: Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast, According to Health Experts

1. Starbucks Spinach, Feta, and Egg White Wrap

The head of Good Housekeeping’s nutrition lab writes this is “one of the healthiest chain breakfast options available!” Registered dietician Stefani Sassos says, “This veggie-packed wrap is a top choice from Starbucks thanks to its significant protein content and punch of fiber, too. The protein count is impressive, and I love that you’re still getting satisfying cheesy eggs in each bite.”

“With a whopping 20 grams of protein and added iron from spinach, this Spinach, Feta, and Egg White Wrap is a powerhouse to get you up and ready for the day ahead,” according to Eat This, Not That! “As you’re noshing on your wrap, remember to be mindful of any added sugars in your coffee, and try to opt for low-sugar options to reduce any extraneous intake.”

The Diet Chefs says this is a flavorful and filling wrap. “It’s made with egg whites, spinach, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomato cream cheese, and a whole wheat wrap. It’s a delicious portable breakfast with healthy ingredients that you can feel good about eating, and it has less than 300 calories.”

2. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal

“If you don’t want to eat a breakfast sandwich but still need a simple breakfast to take on the go, a cup of fruit & maple oatmeal is a fantastic option,” states Cheat Day By Design. “At just over 300 calories, it’s a very filling & delicious option.”

Mcdonald's McCafe and Oatmeal
Mcdonald’s McCafe and Oatmeal (Photo by Deutschlandreform on Shutterstock)

Eat This, Not That! says, “McDonald’s has really upped their nutrition game, and they now offer a piping hot bowl of Fruit and Maple Oatmeal during the breakfast rush. To give yourself the biggest nutrient boost, see if McDonald’s can either reduce or hold the added brown sugar, which will cut down on your added sugar count.”

Restaurant Clicks admits, “When you are faced with a menu full of McMuffins and hash browns, it can be difficult to make the healthy choice. But, the fruit and maple oatmeal at McDonald’s is totally delicious, and it contains just 320 calories. McDonald’s also has plenty of coffee options, some healthier than others, of course, to complete your meal.”

3. Chick-fil-A Greek Yogurt Parfait

With 270 calories and just nine grams of fat, this is a great option if you have to rush through the drive-thru to pick up breakfast. “It’s made with organic vanilla bean Greek yogurt and fresh berries for a light and satisfying option,” writes The Diet Chefs. Now, it comes with options for either cookie crumbs or harvest nut granola as a topping. If you want to save even more calories, you’ll want to order it with no cookie crumbs or harvest nut granola.”

Cheat Day By Design believes this parfait is perfect if you need a low-calorie & high protein breakfast option that doesn’t contain any eggs or chicken. “At under 300 calories and containing 13 grams of protein, the Greek yogurt parfait is an awesome option for a healthy breakfast.”

“You’ll be getting a good blend of protein, calcium, fiber, vitamins, and minerals when you choose Chick-fil-A’s Greek yogurt parfait as a breakfast, lunch, or between-meal snack, according to Love to Know Health. “This refreshing treat is packed with nutrients and will keep your energy levels high for hours.”

4. Taco Bell Toasted Breakfast Burrito, Potato

“Both tomatoes and potatoes? Sign us up! Making your burrito ‘fresco’ (aka, adding tomatoes), gives your breakfast a lycopene and Vitamin C kick, while potatoes are fiber-rich and full of potassium,” writes Eat This, Not That! “With both eggs and cheese, the Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito has 9 grams of protein without any highly processed breakfast meats, so in comparison to many of Taco Bell’s other offerings, this is your best option for a nutrient-dense breakfast that will keep you full and satisfied until lunchtime.”

Taco Bell Drive-Thru sign
Taco Bell Drive-Thru sign (Photo by Ken Wolter on Shutterstock)

Good Housekeeping says, “There are burrito options at Taco Bell that involve bacon or sausage, but you can get an equal amount of protein (minus additional salt!) by asking for light potatoes on this option and extra eggs. Build your custom burrito using the chain’s app — while the cheese sauce only has 30 calories total, you can also nix that if you prefer a cheeseless ‘rito.”

“This may not be the world’s most nutritious option, but it has 9 grams of protein and only 340 calories, so it can fit into a weight loss plan,” according to Lark. “It’s a far better choice than a burrito with sausage or bacon, or Taco Bell’s Hash Browns or Cinnamon Delights.”

5. McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

This simple breakfast sandwich packs 17g of protein, a boon for any breakfast lover, and can be adjusted through McDonald’s ordering app to your liking. Good Housekeeping states, “While 770mg of sodium is indeed high, this sandwich is the best pick nutrition-wise when compared to McDonald’s many breakfast sandwich options.” One tip to reduce the sodium, order this sandwich without the cheese.

Lark offers this up as a “decent choice if you find yourself at the country’s top fast food joint.” The website recommends you order it without the Canadian bacon to avoid nitrates.

“The old standby Egg McMuffin is probably the most balanced choice of all,” so says Eating Well. “Just be sure to keep tabs on your sodium and saturated fat intake for the rest of the day, and aim to prioritize fruits and veggies in the rest of your meals and snacks to fill in the fiber gap.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.  

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About the Author

Amy Chodroff

Amy Chodroff is a recovering Morning Radio Show Host and award-winning broadcaster who recently retired from DFW’s Morning News on KLIF in Dallas. Fondly known as the “Chief Googler” by her friends, it was a seamless transition for StudyFinds to enlist her expertise for their “Best of the Best” franchise. Amy has an innate curiosity and a penchant for thorough research before any purchase and she’s constantly on the hunt for top-notch products. Outside of her digital explorations, Amy loves to explore the world with her husband and is the proud mother of two adult daughters. You can also find Amy on the pickleball court, perfecting her dink and drop shots.

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