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A Healthier Drive-Thru Breakfast

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Breakfast sandwiches

How you start the day, in terms of fueling your body, matters. Breakfast is an important component of a healthy diet, and it’s essential to make smart food choices most of the time, practicing moderation, not deprivation. If you’re trying to be health-minded but find eating on the run is part of your morning routine, here are a few things to keep in mind.  

Boost fiber with fruit and whole grain choices

Fiber is lacking in the American diet with an average daily consumption of 10-15 total grams. The recommended amount according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture is 21-38 grams of fiber a day, depending on your age and gender. Start the day with a dose of fiber to reap the benefits of lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, improving intestinal health and helping with weight management. Order higher fiber options for example oatmeal or whole grain foods such as whole wheat wraps or English muffins. Combine fruit with your meal, whether it’s in the oatmeal, yogurt or on the side. Opt for apples, berries or pears with the skin, as most fiber is contained in the skin.

Go lean with protein

Protein refuels your muscles and is continuously used for tissue and muscle repair. If you skip breakfast, you miss this necessary opportunity to sustain your lean body mass. Opt for lean proteins low in saturated fat, such as egg whites, lower fat cheese, Greek yogurt and leaner meat alternatives like Canadian bacon and turkey sausage. 

Limit saturated fat

Saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol. If you’re not careful, you can blow through a day’s worth of saturated fat before noon! Beware of common culprits such as bacon, butter (hidden in food prep), eggs and egg bites, full-fat yogurt and most cheeses served in breakfast sandwiches or protein box meals.

Scale down the sugar

Skip the juice and beware of added sugars in smoothies, pastry items, sugar-loaded yogurts and toppings including honey, agave and brown sugar. Fruit is an ideal option that is naturally sweet and satisfying to your sweet tooth. If you choose to add sugar, such as a topping on your oatmeal, intentionally choose to use less.

Lighten up your morning with these dietitian-approved drive-thru options if you find yourself on-the-go for your next breakfast.


  • Starbucks Spinach, Feta and Egg White Wrap: 290 calories, 8 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 34 g carb, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein, 840 mg sodium
  • McDonald’s Egg McMuffin® (order with no butter): 280 calories, 11 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat, 30 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 17 g protein, 750 mg sodium
  • Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill: 290 calories, 8 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 34 g carb, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein, 840 mg sodium
  • Starbucks Turkey Bacon, Cheddar and Egg White Sandwich: 230 calories, 5 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 28 g carb, 3 g fiber, 17 g protein, 550 mg sodium


  • Starbucks Classic Oatmeal - with no brown sugar (contains a dried fruit and nut medley): 230 calories, 5.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 36 g carb, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein, 125 mg sodium
  • Starbucks Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal – with no agave syrup (contains nuts): 280 calories, 12.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 30 g carb, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein, 125 mg sodium
  • Panera Steel Cut Oatmeal (contains strawberries and pecans): 370 calories, 15 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 52 g carb, 9 g fiber, 8 g protein, 150 mg sodium


  • Smoothie King Lean1™ Vanilla (contains banana and almonds, 20 oz. serving): 240 calories, 10 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 22 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 21 g protein, 320 mg sodium
  • Chick-fil-A Greek Yogurt Parfait: 270 calories, 9 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 36 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 13 g protein, 80 mg sodium

As we’re all taxed for time, these tips can help you power up quickly and make smarter breakfast choices at the drive-thru.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDCES, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.