For starters, you’ll need to know your budget … your caloric budget, that is. The number of calories you should be eating for breakfast really depends on your total daily allowance. For men that is roughly 11 calories per pound, and for women it’s about 10 calories per pound (depending on such factors as age, height and activity level). Breakfast should be about 25 percent of your daily calories. That means if your total caloric budget is 1,600 calories, your breakfast should be no more than 400 calories.
But we all know that calories aren’t everything. There are also carbs, protein, vitamins, etc. … as well as sodium to consider. Most #fast food is very high in sodium, and according to the American Heart Association, most of us shouldn’t have more than 1,500 mg of salt/sodium per day.
One more important thing to think about: the ingredients. How many chemicals are in your food? Make sure to check the restaurant’s website before you go. Once you know the ingredients, check the following website for chemical danger levels:http://www.cspinet.org/
Here are some of the lower-calorie, higher-protein, lower-sodium, best bang-for-your-#nutrition-buck fast-food breakfasts.
McDonald’s ( http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/
Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (cleanest label, best overall)
Two servings of 100 percent natural whole-grain oats, a touch of cream, along with red and green apples, cranberries and raisins. Get it without the brown sugar and you’ll save 30 calories.
290 calories; 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated); 160 mg sodium; 58 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 5 g protein.
Egg White Delight McMuffin
Grilled egg whites, extra lean Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese on an English muffin (with 8 grams of whole grain).
250 calories; 8 g fat (3 g saturated); 770 mg sodium; 30 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 18 g protein.
Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait
Low-fat vanilla yogurt layered with blueberries and strawberries and topped with crunchy granola.
150 calories; 2 g fat (1 g saturated); 80 mg sodium; 30 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 4 g protein.
Notes: Good job on low-calorie breakfast offerings; however, it would be great to have fewer and more wholesome ingredients. (see Egg White Delight McMuffin ingredients: http://goo.gl/cuYLC5)
Burger King ( http://www.bk.com/menu/
Maple Flavored Oatmeal
Maple and brown sugar-flavored whole-grain rolled oats.
170 calories; 19 g fat (1.5 g saturated); 270 mg sodium; 32 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 4 g protein.
Fruit Topped Maple Flavored Oatmeal
Maple and brown sugar-flavored whole-grain rolled oats with a dried fruit medley.
270 calories; 20 g fat (1.5 g saturated); 260 mg sodium; 55 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 5 g protein.
BK Breakfast Muffin Sandwich Egg and Cheese
Eggs and American cheese on an English muffin. Keep in mind, you have to special order this and request it without sausage.
260 calories; 11g fat (4g saturated); 830 mg sodium; 27 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 13 g protein.
Croissan’wich Egg and Cheese
Eggs and American cheese on a toasted, flaky croissant.
330 calories; 18g fat (8g saturated); 620 mg sodium; 31 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 11 g protein.
Notes: At least McDonald’s is trying. I don’t think that Burger King has a mission to try offering low-calorie or healthy food.
Taco Bell ( http://www.tacobell.com/
Country Grilled Breakfast Burrito – Sausage
A warm flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, sausage, breakfast potatoes and gravy, wrapped up and grilled.
340 calories; 13 g fat (3g saturated); 810 mg sodium; 45 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 10 g protein.
A.M. Grilled Taco (Egg and Cheese or Sausage)
Eggs, cheddar cheese and/or sausage folded in a tortilla and grilled.
170 calories; 9 g fat (3g saturated); 330 mg sodium; 15 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 7 g protein.
Notes: Most of Taco Bell’s breakfast items are mid to high in calories.
Wendy’s ( https://www.wendys.com/en-us/
Sausage and Egg Burrito
Chopped sausage, scrambled eggs and American cheese.
280 calories; 20 g fat (7 g saturated); 770 mg sodium; 14 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 12 g protein.
Natural oats with your choice of sweet cranberries and roasted pecans or crisp apples with caramel (when in season). Nutrition shown includes cranberries and pecans.
330 calories; 12 g fat (1 g saturated0; 250 mg sodium; 57 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 5 g protein.
Notes: There has been talk that Wendy’s may discontinue serving breakfast. No great loss.
Dunkin’ Donuts ( www.dunkindonuts.com/content/
Egg White Flatbreads
Choose from a turkey sausage or veggie egg white omelet with a slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, served on a multigrain flatbread.
280 calories; 9g fat (4.5 g saturated); 690 mg sodium; 33 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 15 g protein.
Sliced Turkey Breakfast Sandwich
Multigrain flatbread, sliced turkey, egg, reduced-fat cheddar cheese.
310 calories; 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated); 690 mg sodium; 33 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 15 g protein.
Notes: DD has many decent low-calorie offerings, including its flavored hot and iced coffee. If you can avoid the doughnuts, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks is the way to go for breakfast.
Starbucks ( http ://www.starbucks.com/menu/
Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich
Reduced-fat turkey bacon and reduced-fat white cheddar cheese on an organic wheat English muffin.
230 calories; 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated); 560 mg sodium; 28 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 13 g protein.
Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal
A blend of rolled and steel-cut oats. Add an additional 100 calories if you add dried fruit, another 100 calories for nut medley and 50 calories for the brown sugar. That’s 250 additional calories for all the toppings.
160 calories; 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated); 0 mg sodium; 28 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 5 g protein.
Hearty Blueberry Whole-Grain Oatmeal
A blend of rolled and steel-cut oats with blueberries and agave syrup.
220 calories; 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated); 125 mg sodium; 43 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 5 g protein.
Spinach and Feta Breakfast Wrap
A wheat wrap filled with cage-free egg white, spinach, feta cheese and tomatoes.
290 calories; 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated); 830 mg sodium; 33 g carbs; 6 g fiber; 19 g protein.
Notes: Starbucks has some reasonable options for a low-calorie breakfast. Try to avoid the high-calorie beverages; often they have many more calories than the meal. Just have regular coffee.
Panera Bread ( https://www.panerabread.com/
Power Almond Quinoa Oatmeal
Organic steel-cut oats topped with organic quinoa, sliced toasted almonds, ground cinnamon and honey.
290 calories; 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated); 220 mg sodium; 52 g carbs; 9 g fiber; 8 g protein.
Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans
Organic steel-cut oats cooked to perfection and topped with strawberries, pecans and cinnamon crunch topping.
340 calories; 14 g fat (2 g saturated); 160 mg sodium; 51 g carbs; 9 g fiber; 6 g protein.
Fresh Fruit Cup
Fresh honeydew, grapes, pineapple and cantaloupe.
60 calories; 0 g fat; 15 mg sodium; 17 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 1g protein.
Ham, Egg and Cheese on Whole Grain Breakfast Power Sandwich
Egg, a slice of Vermont white cheddar and smoked, lean ham on whole-grain bread.
340 calories; 15 g fat (7 g saturated); 920 mg sodium; 31 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 16 g protein.
Notes: OK offerings, if you’re an oatmeal fan.