Most people have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are trying to find the healthiest fast food breakfast, however, this meal may be more important than ever. Many of us do not have time to make a full, healthy breakfast each day. Low-calorie staples such as fruit salad and oatmeal can take a surprising amount of time to make and may not fill you up as much as you would like. Most people trying to balance healthy eating with a busy lifestyle find themselves standing at the fast food counter, ridden with guilt as they eye the latest triple-decker sausage and fried egg offering. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, however, you may be in luck. Many fast food restaurants have started offering a number of healthier options. Even if your restaurant of choice carries only the standard fare, you may be able to search out a healthier option from the gravy and bacon-laden menu.
What Is a Healthy Breakfast?
Understanding what makes a breakfast healthy is the first step to singling out the healthiest fast food breakfast options on a menu. While choosing low calorie options is generally the best way to go when you are trying to lose weight, you may have a bit more wiggle room at breakfast. In fact, a number of studies have shown that those who eat a hearty breakfast are actually more inclined to lose weight than those who settle for half a grapefruit. Eating a good breakfast starts your metabolism running, and keeps it going strong for the rest of the day. Additionally, filling up with healthy food at breakfast means that you will be less likely to succumb to the seducing call of a mid-morning snack. There is no better time than first thing in the morning to allow yourself a few extra calories. After all, you will have the rest of the day to work them off.
That said, the grease-laden calorie bombs often passed off as breakfast sandwiches and burritos are far from the healthiest fast food breakfast. One of the key rules to eating healthy and managing your weight is to make every calorie count both in terms of nutrition and in terms of taste. You want to find a breakfast that contains real, wholesome ingredients with as few chemicals and preservatives as possible. A balance of lean proteins, vitamin-filled fruits or vegetables and whole grains is ideal. While it may seem unlikely that you will find these things at a fast food restaurant, you may be surprised. If you know what to look for, you will find that healthy options are often lurking behind the fry counter.
Take a Bite Out of a Breakfast Sandwich
Most breakfast sandwiches deserve their bad reputations. Greasy, hormone-filled meat, dehydrated eggs and processed cheese are stuffed into biscuits saturated with shortening. Finding the healthiest fast food breakfast sandwiches, however, is sometimes as simple as asking. In an age where weight loss and food allergies are often at the forefront of culinary discussion, even the largest fast food restaurants are usually willing to customize orders.
Ordering from a restaurant that uses real, whole eggs is one way to control the healthiness of your breakfast. Whole eggs contain far more nutrients than their reconstituted, powdered counterparts. Additionally, a whole egg is easily divided into yolk and white. Ordering only the white is a great way to cut a few additional calories from your breakfast.
Ordering your sandwich with an English muffin instead of a biscuit is another way to cut a few calories. English muffins are surprisingly low in fat and carbohydrates, and often contain more nutrients than the average bleached-flour biscuit.
Asking for real cheese, instead of processed, American cheese is another way to cut the chemicals and up the nutrients in your breakfast sandwich. If the restaurant does not have real cheese, you may want to skip it entirely.
Finally, replacing the greasy sausage or bacon with a meaty slice of tomato is a great way to add extra vitamins to your sandwich. Tomato and egg is a classic combination and you may be surprised at how little you miss the meat.
The Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Items
Even if a breakfast sandwich is not your thing, there are still plenty of healthy options on most fast food menus. A cup of fruit salad is one of the healthiest fast food breakfast 2012 options. It pairs well with a slice of whole grain toast and a poached egg to make a hearty, nutritious breakfast. Many restaurants have also started offering smoothies. While a smoothie can be a healthy treat if it is made with low fat yogurt and plenty of fruit, you should always ask to see the nutritional information before ordering. Some so-called smoothies are little more than glorified milkshakes, containing tons of sugar, and fat and sometimes even ice cream.
But what is the healthiest option when it comes to fast food breakfast? Most of the top burger places, such as Burger King and Wendy’s, score low when it comes to fat content, calories and overall nutrition. Although McDonald’s is often avoided by those watching their diets, however, they actually offer the best all-around breakfast. Their fruit and maple oatmeal is filled with whole grains and fresh fruit and is surprisingly low in fat, given the splash of cream added to each bowl. You can cut the calories further by order the oatmeal without additional sugar.
In the end, it is up to you to find the healthiest fast food breakfast. Do not be scared to ask questions. Most fast food restaurants are required by law to provide ingredient lists and nutritional information when requested. Look for wholesome ingredients and avoid overly processed foods. With a bit of effort, you should have no problem finding a nutritious, guilt-free breakfast at even the greasiest fast food joint.