In a morning rush but need to eat? Fast food is often the answer. But will you be able to find healthy options that help meet your macro goals? You certainly can! This post shares the 6 healthiest fast food breakfast options from popular chains.
Also pictured above is my Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Sandwich, which is a forever fave.
But let’s face it. Between four kiddos and my various projects, there will inevitably be days I need to grab something on the go.
Well, fear not! It’s possible to have a quick breakfast out that won’t chuck your clean diet out the window. I’m sharing 6 of the healthiest fast food breakfast options in this post. Plus, plenty of tips on how to identify these healthy options and ways to eat better when you’re on the move. Hop in!
What Is A Healthy Breakfast?
A healthy breakfast contains whole foods and clean ingredients. It’s also balanced. Ideally, you’ll want a mix of:
- Whole grains (oats, brown rice, wholewheat bread)
- Protein (eggs, chicken, lentils)
- Dairy (Greek yogurt)
- Fruits and veggies
I highly recommend making an effort to avoid refined sugars (which isn’t always easy to do considering the hidden sugars in many brands of cereal and granola bars). Here are 10 Easy Breakfasts That Are Low In Sugar and a post on the 10 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals that you may find helpful.
What Fast-Food Restaurant Has The Healthiest Breakfast Sandwich?
While it’s technically a wrap, Panera has one of the healthiest breakfast sandwiches. Their Chipotle Chicken, Scrambled Egg & Avocado Wrap is a solid balance of essential macros. Which means it has a good mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Not to mention fiber and veggies!
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients…
- Smoked, pulled chicken (free of antibiotics)
- Scrambled egg
- Smoked Gouda cheese
- Chipotle aioli
- Fresh Peppadew peppers
- Salt & pepper
- Whole grain wrap
I’m a huge fan of Mexican spices so it was a pleasant surprise to find the cilantro in this wrap, too. Herbs make everything better! All in all, the ingredients paint the full picture: The chipotle wrap makes an excellent choice for a fast-food breakfast.
What Is Mcdonald’s Healthiest Breakfast?
When looking for a healthy breakfast at Mcdonald’s, I suggest going for the fruit and maple oatmeal or the breakfast burrito. I’d even suggest getting both to make it a super balanced meal.
Let’s take a closer look at both of these options.
Breakfast Burrito: At 280 calories, it swaps the refined white flour tortilla for whole wheat. Nice! Inside we’re working with scrambled eggs, green peppers, sausage, and processed cheddar cheese.
Because the cheese is indeed processed (and the source of the sausage is not clarified) I would not recommend having this every day. But for when you’re at Mcdonald’s with no other options? Not a bad choice.
Fruit and Maple Oatmeal: With 320 calories, this breakfast bowl features oatmeal (two servings), diced apples, a cranberry/raisin blend, and light cream. The only worrisome thing about this option is the fact that it has 31g of added sugar. The good news is, you can order it without the brown sugar topping.
What’s so bad about processed foods? A lot, honestly. Learn What Happens When You Stop Eating Processed Food? | 10 Things You’ll Notice
What Fast Food Is The Healthiest?
Any place that offers options that aren’t deep fried and overly processed makes for a healthy(ish) fast food restaurant. For so long we’ve associated fast food places with chicken nuggets and french fries but there is a noticeable shift occurring. Which is great news! Notice how you can get grilled chicken nuggets vs. fried chicken nuggets at Wendy’s?
Chipotle is a more modern addition to the fast-food scene and it definitely reflects a more health-conscious America. In fact, Taco Bell is adjusting its menu to include healthier Mexican options as well (perhaps in response to the new competition?).
But what about for breakfast? According to nutrition experts, Panera Bread is the healthiest fast-food chain in America. And wouldn’t you know, three of their breakfast meals are on my list below!
This is based on the following criteria:
- A wide selection of healthy options with healthy food preparations
- A balance between the 3 important macros (protein, carbs, and healthy fats)
- A reasonable amount of sodium in their main dishes
Can You Eat Out And Still Be Healthy?
Yes, you can eat out in restaurants (and even fast-food chains) and still be healthy. It may not feel super easy at first and that’s not unusual. Thing is, unhealthy processed foods are often addicting so many people find it challenging to shift to healthier choices.
I believe that this is where education comes in so I’m happy to address this topic throughout my blog. Check out this post on 10 Foods That Cause Inflammation because it has a lot to do with cooking methods and processed stuff.
Here are some tips I’ve shared (in a previous post) to help you stick to your clean-approved diet while outside:
- Scan the menu and look for healthy keywords such as “grilled,” “steamed,” or “baked.”
- Go for Thai, Greek, Indian cuisines instead of Mexican, Italian or Chinese (It’s easier to eat healthy with their ingredients and variety of dishes.)
- Don’t be afraid to ask about how a meal is prepared.
- Order one dessert for the whole table
- Skip the fancy sugary drinks (If you need to order alcohol, go for a glass of wine, a light beer, a vodka and tonic, or a simple martini.)
- Drink water throughout your meal
Want to see the whole post? Check it out here.
What Is The Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast?
I’ve rounded up 6 of the healthiest fast-food breakfasts that also deliver a lot of flavor. Whether you’re looking for something with greens, something light, or something protein-packed, there’s an option for ya.
1. Jamba Juice’s Vanilla Blue Sky Bowl
When I first saw the color, I was like, “Beautiful!” But then I worried it must use weird food coloring. That is actually not the case, folks! The blue color comes from blue spirulina, a very healthy cyanobacterium. Can I just say that I love this trend of using natural ingredients to deliver interesting colors?
The smoothie part of it is made from banana, pineapple, almond milk, and vanilla coconut milk. So, it already sounds like something I would make at home. A good sign.
Another good sign? No refined sugar! Jamba sweetens this bowl with honey. You can also “boost” it with healthful items like Greek yogurt, whey protein, and matcha (if you’d like a little green with your blue).
*Do keep in mind that sugar is listed at 33g, mostly from the fruit. You could consider getting it without the honey.
Vanilla Blue Sky Bowl
Serving Size 1 bowl (384 g)
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 6 g
Carbs: 62 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 85 mg (for 12 ounces)
2. Panera Bread’s Greek Yogurt With Mixed Berries Parfait
Greek yogurt will always grab my attention (I write about its many virtues here) so that’s likely why this parfait made it to #2. The ingredients also include honey, maple butter pecan granola, whole grain oats, and fresh strawberries /blueberries.
Berries, as you may know, make the list of the Top 10 Antioxidant-Rich Foods. While Greek Yogurt has a plethora of benefits…and I don’t use that word lightly! Nutrition-wise, everything lines up. So I’m happy to recommend this parfait from Panera.
Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries Parfait
Serving Size: 1 parfait
Fat: 8 g fat (4.5 g sat, trans fat 0 g)
Protein: 15 g
Carbs: 27 g (2 g fiber, 18 g sugar)
Sodium: 80 mg
3. Dunkin’s Veggie Egg White Omelet Bites
Nice to see Dunkin expanding into healthy territory! This omelet is excellent if you’re looking for something hearty yet light. With only 180 calories per two omelet bites (a serving size), it’s made with egg white, spinach, bell peppers, and onions. All sandwiched between multigrain bread.
Veggie Egg White Omelet Bites
Serving Size: Two “bites”
Fat: 11 g fat (sat 7 g, trans fat 0 g)
Protein: 13 g
Carbs: 7 g
Sodium: 460 mg
4. Panera’s Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries
I love strawberries and steel-cut oats, so I made my own version seen above! I consider steel-cut oats to be the healthiest type of oatmeal because they are the least processed type of oat. This makes them very high in fiber and that’s great news for the many people who don’t get enough fiber in their diet.
Fiber is extremely important for weight loss and maintaining a healthy gut. Learn Why and How To Get More Fiber In Your Diet
Meanwhile, stawberries provide a beautiful color (which I do think makes a difference) and are wonderful sources of antioxidants. My kind of breakfast.
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Fat: 15 g fat (sat 2 g, trans fat 0 g)
Protein: 8 g
Carbs: 52 g (9 g fiber, 17 g sugar),
Sodium: 150 mg
5. Starbucks’ Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap
This is another nutritionally balanced meal from fiber (veggies), protein (egg whites), and fat (feta cheese). It actually has the highest amount of protein out of anything we’ve discussed so far! Protein helps us stay energized for a busy morning ahead. Check out My Fave High Protein Snacks For Weight Loss for some top sources, some of which are very easy to take on the go.
*I know starbucks tends to run on the more expensive side but you can feel good knowing nutritionally, it checks out.
Spinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap
Serving Size: 1 warp
Fat: 8 g fat (sat 3.5 g, trans fat 0 g)
Protein: 20 g
Carbs: 34 g (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar),
Sodium: 840 mg
6. Panera’s Avocado, Egg White, and Spinach Sandwich
Wouldn’t you know, it’s Panera again! The ingredients of this sandwhich include egg whites, aged white cheddar, fresh avocado, spinach, tomato, salt and pepper, and a sprouted grain bagel flat.
So what’s all this about sprouted grains? Sprouted grain bread is made with grains that were allowed time to sprout/ germinate. This process makes grains (and bread made from those grains) more nutritionally dense. I also think it adds an interesting texture. Speaking of bread, I’ve written a post on the 6 Best Store Bought Breads you may find useful.
Aside from all that, I love when avocado and spinach are included in any recipe. In fact, here’s…16 Delicious Avocado Recipes You’ve Gotta Try
Avocado, Egg White, and Spinach Sanwhich
Serving size, 1 sandwhich
Fat: 14 g fat (sat 6 g, trans fat 0 g)
Carbs: 39 g (5 g fiber, 5 g sugar)
Sodium: 690 mg
Healthy Homemade Breakfasts
You don’t have to wait for your next road trip to eat a healthy breakfast! Here are some of my favorite breakfast recipes on the blog that you can make from home:
- Frozen Breakfast Burritos (Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfast!)
- Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- Kiwi and Kale Smoothie
- Almond Butter, Chocolate, & Coffee Bean Protein Shake
- Perfect Avocado Toast With Soft Boiled Egg
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.