You set your alarm the night before to wake you up in time for a relaxed, slow-paced morning where you can enjoy a homemade breakfast and coffee. Then, tragedy strikes and you accidentally sleep through your alarm. Now it’s a race against the clock to get yourself ready and out the door in time. And to help alleviate some of the stress, you naturally decide to swing through your favorite fast-food drive through for a quick breakfast sandwich. However, even though you love fast-food every now and then, you also don’t want to derail your health goals by making a super unhealthy choice, and naturally, some breakfast sandwiches are worse than others.
When it comes to avoiding the unhealthiest fast-food breakfast sandwiches, there are a few things to take note of regarding the nutrition facts. For starters, fast-food is infamously high in saturated fat, and sometimes is high in trans fat, as well. According to the American Heart Association, the average person will want to limit their consumption of saturated fat to about 13 grams per day. For trans fats, the World Health Organization suggests less than 2.2 grams per day. You’ll see that most of the sandwiches on this list either completely surpass these limits, or come painfully close.
Another factor to note is the high levels of sodium in these breakfasts, with most sandwiches reaching at least half of the recommended 2,300 milligram daily limit. And lastly, it can be helpful to pay attention to the amount of calories found in this list of fast-food sandwiches. Your daily intake of calories depends on your own needs and varies from person to person, but the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that adults get anywhere from 1,600–3,000. Depending on your own caloric needs, some of these sandwiches come close to reaching the halfway point—something that won’t give you much wiggle room the rest of the day.
Now that you know some of the qualities to look out for, take a look at the following 10 unhealthiest fast-food breakfast sandwiches to avoid or limit. And for some healthier fast-food options, make sure to check out 60 Healthy, Low-Calorie Fast-Food Meals Under 500 Calories.
PER SERVING: 550 calories, 33 g fat (13 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,290 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (2 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 19 g protein
One thing’s for sure, it can definitely be difficult to choose a healthier option at McDonald’s, especially when something like a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle is calling your name. But with over half your daily recommended sodium and your entire day’s worth of saturated fat in one sandwich, it just isn’t worth it.
PER SERVING: 530 calories, 35 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,190 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 17 g protein
At first glance you may assume this breakfast sandwich is a healthier option because it’s void of cheese, but the Sausage Biscuit With Egg is a risky choice. It has more saturated fat than what is recommended in a day, so you’re better off opting for something like the Egg McMuffin.
PER SERVING: 720 calories, 52 g fat (20 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,120 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 21 g protein
Dunkin’ is known for its donuts of course, but these sugar bombs don’t exactly make for the most balanced breakfast to start your day. Unfortunately, most of their breakfast sandwiches aren’t any better in the nutrition department. The Dunkin’ Sausage, Egg, & Cheese, for example, has over 700 calories and more than a day’s worth of saturated fat. Another issue here is that this sandwich only has two grams of fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, women should aim for 21–25 grams of fiber per day, and men should aim for 30–38. When you’re only getting two grams at breakfast, it makes it really hard to hit your goals throughout the rest of the day.
PER SERVING: 650 calories, 32 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,360 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 31 g protein
Another menu option at Dunkin’, the Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich is an unhealthy fast-food breakfast sandwich that you may only want to enjoy as a treat every once in a while. It has less saturated fat than the Dunkin’ Sausage, Egg, & Cheese, but with over half the amount of daily recommended sodium, this isn’t a helpful breakfast option.
PER SERVING: 802 calories, 61 g fat (27 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,966 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 34 g protein
If a sandwich with sausage, eggs, and cheese has extra saturated fat and sodium, imagine how much a doubled version would be. The Double Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Croissan’wich from Burger King is one of the unhealthiest fast-food breakfast sandwiches on the list with over 800 calories, more than twice the amount of saturated fat that’s recommended for a day, and close to the amount of daily total fat that’s suggested.
PER SERVING: 649 calories, 44 g fat (20 g saturated fat), 2,331 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 31 g protein
Piled up with three types of meat (sausage, ham, and bacon) and an entire day’s worth of sodium, you’re better off enjoying the Burger King Fully Loaded Buttermilk Biscuit on rare occasions. Unfortunately, most of Burger King’s breakfast sandwiches are high in both total and saturated fat, as well as sodium, but you can try their Egg & Cheese Biscuit for something a little lighter.
PER SERVING: 853 calories, 66 g fat (29 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,522 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 33 g protein
With the most calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium, the Burger King Double Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit is the unhealthiest fast-food breakfast sandwich on the list. Not to mention that it also has 2 grams of harmful trans fat.
PER SERVING: 710 calories, 48 g fat (19 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 1,740 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 33 g protein
It’s safe to say that when a breakfast menu item is called the Bacon Baconator, it’s probably not going to be healthy. This is certainly true for the popular Wendy’s breakfast sandwich piled high with cheese, sausage, egg, and bacon. Ditch this fancy, calorie-loaded item and opt for the classic Bacon, Egg, & Cheese instead.
PER SERVING: 610 calories, 42 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,510 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 22 g protein
When you’re heading to Chick-fil-A, you may be better off sticking to the chicken. Their version of a Sausage, Egg, & Cheese isn’t as terrible as something like the Burger King Double Sausage, Egg & Cheese, but the saturated fat, calories, and sodium levels make for a not-so-healthy choice.
PER SERVING: 580 calories, 36 g fat (13 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,960 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 23 g protein
Compared to some of the others on the list, this Sonic breakfast sandwich isn’t too bad. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying much. The Breakfast Toaster still has a day’s worth of saturated fat, almost an entire day’s worth of sodium, and only 3 grams of total fiber. It’s okay to enjoy this one as a treat from time to time, but do your health a favor and try not to make it a part of your regular breakfast routine.