In an ideal world, you'd eat nutrient-dense, unprocessed food that you prepare yourself for every meal. But this isn't an ideal world. It's the real world.
Sometimes you're in a damn rush, and you don't have any food in the house, and you have a million things to do, and you basically have only two choices: Starve until lunch, or hit up a fast-food restaurant. And if you're hungry, you should eat.
Here's the thing to remember: Eating fast-food on occasion isn't going to destroy your health or ruin everything. Especially if you aim to eat the healthiest things on the menu.
But what does it mean to eat a "healthy" fast-food breakfast, anyway?
Starbucks has a good selection of healthy breakfast options outside of their bakery. Look toward the egg-based meals, or even expand out into the bistro boxes (which are usually thought of as snacks or lunches, but can definitely also work for breakfast). There's also a line of yogurt parfaits, but those come with over 20 grams of sugar each – so if you're trying to cut back on your sugar intake, you probably want to skip them.
Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap (vegetarian) (pictured above left)
19 g protein
10 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
830 mg sodium
33 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber, 4 g sugar)
Protein Bistro Box (vegetarian) (pictured above right)
13 g protein
19 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans)
470 mg sodium
37 g carbohydrates (5 g fiber, 19 g sugar)
3. Panera Bread
Panera has a number of solid choices on their breakfast menu; and if you don't like eggs or oatmeal, a whole grain or sprouted grain bagel with cream cheese would also roughly fit into the guidelines above (it would come in above 400 calories, but not by much).
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans (vegetarian) (pictured above left)
6 g protein
14 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans)
160 mg sodium
51 g carbohydrates (9 g fiber, 16 g sugar)
Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich (vegetarian) (pictured above right)
12 g protein
13 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans)
650 mg sodium
52 g carbohydrates (5 g fiber, 5 g sugar)
5. Taco Bell
There's not much on the breakfast menu that comes in under 1,000 milligrams of sodium, unfortunately. The Biscuit Tacos are all in the right range, though (choose from the sausage egg and cheese, the sausage and cheese, and the egg and cheese). Grilled Breakfast Burritos and a few of the A.M. Grilled Tacos also generally fit our parameters.
Sausage and Cheese Biscuit Taco (pictured above left)
14 g protein
23 g fat (10 g saturated, 0 g trans)
640 mg sodium
29 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar)
Grilled Breakfast Burrito - Fiesta Potato (vegetarian) (pictured above right)
10 g protein
15 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
790 mg sodium
43 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar)
6. Dunkin' Donuts
7. Burger King
9. Caribou Coffee
Stick with the oatmeal options and breakfast sandwiches and you'll have an easier time staying within the limits we outlined above. In fact, some of the mini breakfast sandwiches are so mini that you can order two and still come in under 400 calories.
Blueberry Almond Oatmeal (vegetarian) (pictured above left)
16 g protein
8 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
210 mg sodium
54 g carbohydrates (9 g fiber, 13 g sugar)
TWO Spinach, Egg, and Swiss Minis (vegetarian) (pictured above right)
16 g protein
20 g fat (7 g saturated)
520 mg sodium
32 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar)