McDonald’s Entire Breakfast Menu—Ranked For Nutrition!
Ever since McDonald’s began offering breakfast all day long in 2016, its profits have been bubbling like the oil in a fry basket. Despite Wall Street’s pessimistic predictions, McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. rose an impressive 1.7 percent in the first three months of 2017. That’s good news for them and for us—not just because we love breakfast (especially when we don’t have to wake up early to get it), but because breakfast sandwiches like the McMuffin are among the healthiest options on the McDonald’s menu.
Is it just the lure of scrambled eggs at all hours, or are the folks serving breakfast through the window more pleasant as well? The chain announced that the starting wage at its corporate-owned stores is above $10 per hour. While both the all-day breakfast menu and happier employees may have helped boost revenue, offering special deals to the penny-pinchers among us has also been part of the chain’s strategy, with the fast-food joint constantly updating its deals and rolling out the McDonald’s app, which offers even more discounts.
To catch up on the very best (and worst) the chain has to offer for breakfast lovers, the team at Eat This, Not That! has ranked the absolute best and worst options on the McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu. For more intriguing insights about McDonald’s (like what the McRib is made out of), check out the things you didn’t know about McDonald’s!
FIRST… THE WORST MCDONALD’S BREAKFAST ITEMS
Ranked from pretty bad to really bad…
The “best of the worst” is the plain ol’ Sausage McGriddles. While it’s a bit high in sugar (you can thank the Griddle Cakes for that), it clocks in under 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is a rarity for savory McDonald’s breakfast items.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles
It doesn’t matter if it’s wrapped between a pancake or a biscuit, the ooey, gooey goodness of a bacon, egg and cheese ain’t good for you. The McGriddles features more than half a day’s sodium and nearly half a day’s saturated fat—that’s as much saturated fat as 105 Funyuns!
Imagine putting four Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Original Pork Sausage Links between a big ol’ slab of greasy bread, and holding the whole shebang. Because that’s the saturated fat equivalent you’re getting with this breakfast biscuit.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
The bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit packs in about a full day’s worth of saturated fat and more than half a day’s worth of sodium.
It’s not the worst of the worst, but we had to dock points for the fat content in this toasty sandwich. A half-gram of trans fat is a half-gram more than what you should consume in a day. And 10 grams of saturated fat equated to almost a full day’s worth of the artery-clogging fat.
Sausage McMuffin with Egg
McDonald’s decided to upgrade its Sausage McMuffin by slapping a slice of “pasteurized process American cheese,” an egg, and an extra helping of butter. We’ll pass.
Sausage Biscuit With Egg
Like the sandwiches above, these have way too much sodium (half a day’s worth) and more than your entire daily allowance of saturated fat. There are better breakfasts to be enjoyed at the golden arches.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles
You wouldn’t expect 60 percent of your daily recommended amount of sugar to be packed into a savory sausage, egg, and cheese. But after further examination of the ingredient list, we noticed that sugar is the third ingredient in the griddle cakes and that the sweet crystals are also present in the sausage. Another reason to skip this sandwich: the sky-high sodium count.
RELATED: No-sugar-added recipes you’ll actually look forward to eating.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel
Like most of the sandwiches here, the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel has more than half a day’s fat—but more sodium than many of its competitors. In fact, it has as much sodium as 15 Chicken McNuggets! Start your day instead with our top pick—the Egg McMuffin—and a cup of warm tea from The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse if you want to enjoy some McDonald’s breakfast without completely ruining your day.
Steak, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
If you wouldn’t start your day with a Big Mac, then why order this steak, egg, and cheese combo for breakfast? This a.m. meal is packed with five more grams of heart-harming saturated fat and 560 milligrams more sodium than the OG burger!
These golden flapjacks are nothing but empty carbs. With just two grams of fiber and a whopping 102 grams of carbs and 45 grams of insulin-spiking sugar, and you’ll start your day with a serious energy crash. Not the picture of a healthy breakfast, if you ask us.
Hotcakes and Sausage
Sugary bread and salty meat? You probably thought this would be #1. And with as many carbs as four slices of white bread. With the whipped butter and hotcake syrup, you’re looking at 790 calories, nearly two days’ worth of sugar, and the carb equivalent of just about seven slices of white bread. And yet there are even worse a.m. meals coming up next.
This gigantic breakfast platter comes packed with scrambled eggs, hot sausage, a buttered biscuit, and hash browns. Mickey D’s claims that this “satisfying” meal is “perfect for any morning,” but we beg to differ. This platter seems more like a one-way ticket to a wide waistline.
The Worst McDonald’s Breakfast Is The… Big Breakfast With Hotcakes
Just when you thought the Big Breakfast couldn’t get any bigger—or worse for your health—McDonald’s had the grand idea of adding its signature hotcakes to the platter. The result? A whopping 65 grams of fat (as well as two days’ worth of saturated fat and a half-gram of trans fat), nearly a full day’s worth of sodium, and about three times the amount of carbs in the Big Breakfast.
AND NOW… THE BEST MCDONALD’S BREAKFAST ITEMS
Ranked from better-for-you to best-for-you…
Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait
The parfait is essentially the worst of the best, but still on the best list. It’s not really a full meal as much as a grab-and-go starter. This McDonald’s breakfast item does what it’s meant to do: offer a light and lively choice on a menu otherwise devoted to bacon and eggs. “With six grams of protein, it’s a good snack,” says Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN. However, the lack of fiber and high sugar content wouldn’t keep your blood sugar levels stable enough to feel satiated. And if you’re looking to make your own at home, turbocharge your fat-burn with one of these best yogurts for weight loss!
This sausage burrito is made with peppers, onions, eggs, tomatoes, sausage, and cheese all wrapped in a soft tortilla. And it contains 15 percent of your day’s calcium, which is about what you’ll find in a Greek yogurt (albeit with far more sodium).
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
“If you feel that you’re low on energy and McDonald’s is your only bet, try getting the fruit and maple oatmeal—just skip the calorie-laden Craisins,” advises Jim White, RD, ACSM HFS, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. “This will most likely curb your appetite until your next meal because the carbohydrates will take longer to digest than your typical high-sugar doughnut or pastry.” We agree—but why not make one of these best overnight oats recipes at home instead? Yum!
Egg White Delight McMuffin
Made with grilled egg whites, white cheddar and extra lean Canadian bacon on a muffin made that packs in a bit of fiber, this is McDonald’s living up to it its own marketing hype.
The Best McDonald’s Breakfast Is… Egg McMuffin
Yup, the classic. “Not only do I eat guilt-free at McDonald’s,” says Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago area registered dietitian and nutrition communications consultant, “but I think they get a bad rap all too often.” She recommends a staple Eat This, Not That! has approved for years—more so now that it’s being made with real butter: “When I’m flying in the morning, I typically get an Egg McMuffin and a coffee,” she says. “The sandwich only has 300 calories and it offers 18 grams of satiety-providing protein.” And it beats the Egg White Delight because…? “I stick with the whole egg sandwich because the yolk contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals,” says Palumbo. Eggs also boast choline, a potent flab-fryer, which is why eggs can help you lose weight!