8 healthiest fast food breakfast sandwiches, picked by dietitians

Dietitians — they’re just like us!

Well, at least in one way — they often find themselves in a hurry, with no time to make the so-called most important meal of the day a special, healthful, cooked-at-home one.

And so, we’re all eating breakfast on the fly, at least from time to time — but because it sets the tone for the day, you want to try your best to make it a good one.

No need to feel like you’ve failed, lining up for the drive-thru, or opening up your favorite mobile ordering app — the key, a group of nutrition experts told EatingWell, is ordering smart.

Fast food breakfasts can be a minefield, they say, littered with hidden sugar and salt bombs, not to mention excessive amounts of saturated fat — though all of that is easier to avoid now, with nutrition information often just a tap or two away within the app of your favorite brand.

Better still, the experts point out, even chains like Dunkin’ and Chick-fil-A, known for their indulgent snacks and meals, are now going out of their way to offer up healthier options.

In some cases, even the most modest-seeming sando can wind up being packed with protein, fiber and other things you need to keep you going, all morning long.

Starbucks Turkey Bacon & Egg White Sandwich

Starbucks offers a handful of nutritious options. Nadya So

A fave among those craving a bit of smoke and salt while keeping healthy, “the 17 grams of protein that it provides will help you stay full longer and balance blood sugar throughout the morning,” Vanessa Imus, M.S., RDN of Integrated Nutrition for Weight Loss in Bothell, Washington told EatingWell. With just 230 calories, you can order a latte and still not overdo it.

Starbucks Spinach, Feta & Cage Free Egg White Wrap

Clean tasting, just 290 calories, 20 grams of protein — what’s not to like? “It’s also filled with veggies and whole grains for a great vegetarian meal on the go,” said Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook. Harris-Pincus suggests grabbing a banana for a balanced, totally veggie breakfast.

Einstein Bros. Bagel Garden Avocado Egg Sandwich 

Einstein Bros. can be a good place to eat healthy if you know how to order. krblokhin

Man cannot live — unfortunately — on bagels with cream cheese alone; there simply isn’t enough protein, experts say, to make it your morning everything. Jillian Sampaio RD, LDN of Healthy Eats by Jillian recommends this 500 calorie bagel sandwich instead. “It offers 18 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber with a mix of veggies and healthy fats. This combo keeps you feeling full and supports stable blood sugars, fueling your day without energy crashes,” she said. Up your health cred by making sure the sandwich comes on a thin, honey whole wheat or ancient grain bagel — and pack even more protein in by asking for extra egg or egg whites.

Subway Black Forest Ham, Egg & Cheese Sandwich 

Did you know Subway had breakfast sandwiches? At least one of them is surprisingly nutritious, too. Robert Way

Who even knew Subway had breakfast? Katie Schimmelpfenning, RD, LD and Founder of Eat Swim Win does — her top pick is the national sandwich chain’s spin on the BEC, packed with an astonishing 23 grams of protein and containing just 390 calories. Spinach and tomatoes, she said, can be added to boost the health factor.

Dunkin’ Wake Up Wrap

Substituting a home-cooked meal for a Dunkin’ run doesn’t mean throwing away your diet — not necessarily. dutchphotography

Leave the donuts for another day — Bess Berger RDN, CDN from Nutrition by Bess, is a fan of this egg, cheese and breakfast meat quick meal. “It makes for a good on-the-go breakfast that you don’t have to prep yourself and you don’t feel like you threw away your whole day of eating healthy,” she said. Turkey sausage is an option, but bacon is actually lower in sodium and saturated fat. (And it tastes better too, right?)

Dunkin’ Turkey Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

Jessie Hulsey RD, LD, is an Atlanta-based registered dietitian and creator of Health Down South. Here’s what she had to say about this popular offering: “[It’s] a delicious and nutritious option for those looking for a wholesome fast-food breakfast sandwich. Packed with a satisfying 23 grams of protein and 39 grams of carbohydrates, this flavorful sandwich fuels your morning and keeps you satisfied.”

Panera Bread Avocado, Egg White, Spinach & Cheese on Multigrain Bagel Flat

Maybe skip the scary lemonade — have an egg white sando instead. RiverNorthPhotography

Charged lemonade drama aside, Panera is one of the healthier fast food restaurants, often using fresh, good-for-you ingredients. Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness in Indianapolis digs this high-protein day starter.

“Each sandwich contains 19 grams of protein per serving, which provides a great protein boost in the morning,” they said.

“Additionally, this breakfast packs a punch of fiber from the multigrain bagel, which is great for staying fuller for longer and overall digestive health.”

Bonus points, Harris-Pincus said, for the standard inclusion of veggies — not easy to come by at fast food joints before lunch time, if ever!

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich

Double your protein with a chicken and egg white muffin. Susan Vineyard

Double up on protein with this grilled chicken and egg white sandwich topped with American cheese and served on an English muffin, delivering a whopping 28 grams of lean protein, all for only 300 calories. “Enjoy with a side of fresh fruit for a healthy breakfast on-the-go,” said Mandy Tyler, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD from Nutrition by Mandy.