Do Dunkin’s new keto and Whole30 inspired breakfast bowls hit the mark? Here’s what experts think.
The coffee and donut chain is expanding its menu in an effort to attract health-conscious customers with two new breakfast bowls for a limited time at participating locations.
First, Dunkin’ dropped Donuts from their name, a sign they were looking to expand their image beyond a coffee and donuts hot spot.
Now, they’re introducing breakfast foods that are miles away from the sugar-covered confections that launched the business in 1950 — that is, miles away at least in terms of nutrition.
Their most recent launch, Dunkin’ Bowls, are protein-packed breakfast bowls that are designed to draw in people who are looking for healthy options for their a.m. meal with the convenience that Dunkin’ can offer.
But can a donut magnate really make a breakfast that gets the thumbs-up from America’s nutrition and healthy eating community? Read on to find out what experts told Healthline.
Dunkin’ launched their Bowls selections with two options.
The Egg White Bowl is made with egg whites, spinach, roasted potatoes, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions. It comes in with 14 grams of protein, 250 calories, and 19 grams of carbohydrates.
“I think this would be a healthy start to your day,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide for Every Runner. “The egg whites offer plenty of protein and the spinach, potatoes, and onions have vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. The 14 grams of protein will help keep you full throughout the morning.”
The Egg White Bowl could be considered Whole30 friendly with a simple glance at the ingredient list. You’ll just need to request that the cheese is removed.
Vegetarian eaters could also enjoy this option, so long as you are a vegetarian who eats eggs.
The Sausage Scramble Bowl is a bit more hearty. It’s made with scrambled eggs, sausage, melted cheddar jack cheese, peppers, and onions. That brings the nutritional total to 21 grams of protein, 450 calories, and 11 grams of carbohydrates.
“I generally don’t recommend starting the day with sausage since it’s pretty high in saturated fat and sodium,” Rizzo says. “Having a bowl with sausage in the morning may make you feel weighed down and fatigued rather than giving you long-lasting energy.”
Despite having many keto-friendly foods, the Sausage Scramble Bowl wouldn’t likely make the cut for a keto breakfast because of the 11 grams of carbs. (Keto eaters try to keep their daily carb totals below 20 grams.)
Even factoring in some of those carbs are from the peppers and onions, which would reduce the total net carbs a bit, this breakfast bowl option might still be too high for most keto eaters.
For general low-carb eaters (those sticking to around 50 grams of carbs per day, for example), this could be a great option, however.
“Both bowls have significantly lower total carbohydrates than a bagel or breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’,” says Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, founder of Lainey Younkin Nutrition. “But the fiber is also low, just one gram in the Sausage Scramble Bowl and two grams in the Egg White Bowl.”
Fiber, like protein, is helpful in staving off hunger between meals. It’s filling and digests slowly, so picking foods that serve up a healthy dose of fiber is ideal.
The bowls may appeal to on-the-go consumers. They’re served in paper cups that can easily be held whether you’re driving or walking to get to the office.
The Dunkin’ breakfast bowls, which will be sold for a limited time at participating locations nationwide, follow the success of an earlier Dunkin’ breakfast option that also had its targets set on the health-focused breakfast crowd.
The Power Breakfast Sandwich, which was first introduced in January 2019, has been so popular with customers that Dunkin’ extended its “limited” run already.
The sandwich features an egg white veggie omelet with turkey sausage and American cheese on a multigrain sandwich bread that’s topped with rolled oats and seeds. It comes in at 370 calories, 24 grams of protein, and 20 grams of whole grains.
“After the success of our Power Breakfast Sandwich that launched earlier this year and has been extended due to popular demand, we found that our guests craved innovative, accessible, better-for-you menu choices,” Tony Weisman, Dunkin’ U.S. Chief Marketing Officer said in a statement.
Younkin says both Dunkin’ breakfast bowl options have their merits, but you’ll need to look further down the nutrition label to help decide between the two. Both pack a good bit of protein and have lower-than-most calorie totals.
Carbs, too, are also lower than typical breakfast picks, so look to sodium and fat. Here, the two bowls stand in stark contrast.
“If you’re choosing between the two, go for the Egg White Bowl, which has only 450 milligrams of sodium compared to 900 milligrams in the Sausage Scramble Bowl and only 3.5 grams of saturated fat compared to 13 grams in the sausage bowl,” Younkin says.