Making time for a healthy breakfast when you have a busy schedule isn’t always possible. Sometimes, you may therefore find yourself at the closest drive-through, grabbing something on your way to work.

Fast food is often thought of as unhealthy, and for good reason — most options will cost you lots of calories, saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium. Fortunately, healthier choices are available.

We researched popular fast-food restaurants to find you 11 healthier fast-food breakfast options.

Starbucks spinach feta egg wrapShare on Pinterest
Photo Courtesy of Starbucks

If you’re looking to monitor your calorie intake, there are several options out there.

These two breakfasts are both under 300 calories. Keep in mind, though, that they may not be as filling as a higher calorie meal. If you’d like, add a fruit cup for a few extra calories, nutrients, and filling fiber.

You’ll also notice a few other breakfasts on this list that fall under 300 calories.

1. Dunkin’ Donuts Veggie Egg White Omelet

The veggie egg white omelet is filled with healthy veggies and assembled with cheddar cheese on a multigrain thin. One serving contains (1):

  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 13 grams
    • Saturated fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 27 grams
    • Fiber: 5 grams
    • Sugar: 4 grams
  • Protein: 17 grams
  • Sodium: 550 mg

2. McDonald’s Egg McMuffin with no butter

The Egg McMuffin is a popular breakfast choice, and if you order it without butter, it’s less than 300 calories. With butter, the calorie count of the sandwich is just a little higher at 310 calories. One Egg McMuffin without butter contains (2):

  • Calories: 280
  • Fat: 11 grams
    • Saturated fat: 4.5 grams
  • Carbs: 30 grams
    • Fiber: 2 grams
    • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Protein: 17 grams
  • Sodium: 750 mg

Avoiding meat can sometimes make ordering out more difficult, especially when also trying to get enough protein. These vegetarian meals include healthy veggies and plenty of protein from egg whites.

3. Panera Bread Avocado, Egg White, and Spinach Sandwich

This sandwich has a serving of spinach, as well as avocado, which has healthy fats and fiber that can help keep you feeling full for longer. One sandwich contains (3, 4):

  • Calories: 360
  • Fat: 14 grams
    • Saturated fat: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 39 grams
    • Fiber: 5 grams
    • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Protein: 19 grams
  • Sodium: 700 mg

4. Starbucks Spinach, Feta, and Egg White Wrap

This wrap is a little lower in calories, but still packs 20 grams of protein, another nutrient that can help keep you feeling full. The sodium is pretty high, though, so try to balance it out with lower sodium meals throughout the day (3).

Additionally, consider grabbing some fresh fruit along with your wrap to make it a more filling, balanced meal. One wrap contains (5):

  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 8 grams
    • Saturated fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 34 grams
    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Sodium: 840 mg

Oatmeal is a great breakfast option because it’s packed with nutrients like filling fiber and other vitamins and minerals. The suggestions below are also appropriate for individuals looking for low sodium meals (6).

5. Panera Bread Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans

Steel cut oats are the least processed kind of oats. They contain slightly more protein and fiber than rolled oats.

Panera Bread’s steel cut oatmeal is topped with pecans and strawberries, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease and other conditions (7, 8).

One serving of Panera Bread’s steel cut oatmeal contains (9):

  • Calories: 360
  • Fat: 15 grams
    • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 52 grams
    • Fiber: 9 grams
    • Sugar: 17 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Sodium: 150 mg

6. Starbucks Classic Oatmeal

This plain oatmeal is a perfect healthy base that you can jazz up however you’d like.

The oatmeal on its own is low in calories, so we recommend adding some fresh or dried fruit and nuts for added fiber and healthy fats to round out the meal. Without toppings, one serving of the oatmeal contains (10):

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
    • Saturated fat: 0.5 grams
  • Carbs: 28 grams
    • Fiber: 4 grams
    • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 125 mg

Smoothies are super convenient for busy mornings, but they’re often loaded with sugar and empty calories. These fast-food smoothie orders include a good amount of protein without the added sugar, making for a filling, drinkable breakfast on the run.

7. Smoothie King Lean1 Vanilla

This smoothie gets its sweetness from bananas and includes both almonds and protein to make it a complete meal filled with healthy fats, fruit, and protein. It has just 22 grams of carbs, so if you’re limiting carbs, this can be a great choice.

If you’re not a fan of vanilla, the chocolate and strawberry versions of this smoothie have similar nutritional contents. Try adding spinach or kale for an extra boost of greens that you’re unlikely to even taste.

One 20-ounce (591-mL) vanilla smoothie contains (11):

  • Calories: 240
  • Fat: 10 grams
    • Saturated fat: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 22 grams
    • Fiber: 4 grams
    • Sugar: 8 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Sodium: 320 mg

8. Jamba Juice Protein Berry Workout Smoothie

Packed with berries and bananas, this smoothie comprises mostly natural sugars. It’s also low in fat and sodium.

As a bonus, this smoothie can be ordered with either whey or pea protein and is blended with soy milk, making it appropriate for plant-based diets. One 16-ounce (473-mL) smoothie contains (12):

  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 1 gram
    • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 52 grams
    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Sugar: 41 grams
  • Protein: 19 grams
  • Sodium: 115 mg

9. Chick-Fil-A Egg White Grill

This sandwich not only includes egg whites but also chicken, bringing its protein content up to 26 grams. It’s also low in calories, so a fruit cup would be a great addition to round out this breakfast.

While calories are low and protein is high, the sodium content on this meal is high as well. Thus, try to balance it out with lower sodium meals throughout the rest of your day. One sandwich contains (13):

  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 8 grams
    • Saturated fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 30 grams
    • Fiber: 1 gram
    • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Protein: 26 grams
  • Sodium: 980 mg

10. Starbucks Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, and Egg White Sandwich

Finding low fat options at fast-food restaurants can be a challenge, but conveniently, this breakfast sandwich matches the criteria. It’s even low in calories.

Also, Starbucks typically offers fresh fruit and yogurt items if you’d like to bulk this meal up while keeping it low fat. One sandwich contains (14):

  • Calories: 230
  • Fat: 5 grams
    • Saturated fat: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 28 grams
    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Protein: 17 grams
  • Sodium: 550 mg

11. Chick-Fil-A Greek Yogurt Parfait

If you’re watching your sodium intake, this yogurt parfait might be a good choice, as it contains just 80 mg of sodium. While it’s the lowest sodium option on this list, a few others — like the Starbucks oatmeal and Jamba Juice smoothie — are also low in sodium.

This meal is higher in sugar content than some of the others, but note that natural sugars from the berries contribute to the total. One parfait contains (15):

  • Calories: 270
  • Fat: 9 grams
    • Saturated fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 36 grams
    • Fiber: 1 gram
    • Sugar: 26 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Sodium: 80 mg

Fast food is typically seen as unhealthy, but in today’s fast-paced world, it’s a convenient way to get a meal when you’re on the go. Here are some tips for ordering healthier.

Order fresh fruit

Most fast-food restaurants offer fresh fruit as a side, which is a more nutritious and filling option than sides like french fries or hash browns.

By enjoying fresh fruit with your fast-food breakfast meal, you add nutrients and fiber to your meal. The fiber can help you feel full for longer, especially if you choose one of the lower calorie options on this list.

Opt for protein and fiber

Because fiber and protein can be filling, it’s a good idea to choose meals that offer a good amount of both.

When ordering breakfast, high protein options can include eggs or egg whites, cheese, or yogurt. Fruits and nuts are good examples of high fiber breakfast ingredients.

Avoid sugary drinks

Some drinks on fast food menus can add a lot of sugar and empty calories to your order.

A simple way to save calories is to stick with water or unsweetened beverages, such as black coffee or tea, instead of milkshakes, sodas, sugar-sweetened iced coffees, or iced teas.

Prepare before you visit

Fast-food restaurants are required to provide nutritional information for their menu items, so if you have the time, try to identify some options before you hit the drive-through. This way, you can make an informed, healthy decision.

Whether you’re looking for oatmeal, sandwiches, smoothies, or something else, several fast-food breakfast options are available — and they aren’t all that unhealthy for you.

As a general rule, opt for foods that are high in protein, veggies, fiber, and fruit, and avoid those with lots of sodium, saturated fats, added sugar, and calories.