Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as they say. At the same time, you might not always have time to prepare a well-balanced and nutritious meal before you head out the door to tackle your busy schedule. In that case, you might rely on frozen breakfast foods. While these grocery items come in handy when you're in a pinch, not all options are as healthy as you hoped.
"Most frozen breakfast sandwiches and pastries are high in unhealthy fats and added sugar," Catherine Gervacio, RDN, registered dietitian and nutrition writer for Living.Fit, tells Eat This, Not That! "These fats […] can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Excessive sugar consumption, on the other hand, can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and other health issues."
Sodium is another nutrient you have to be concerned about, as it's often added to frozen foods because it acts as a flavor enhancer as well as a preservative to extend shelf life. "Some frozen breakfast items, like breakfast burritos and sandwiches, can contain high levels of sodium to act as a preservative and enhance flavor," says Gervacio. To put the issue into context, the American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day, although 2,300 milligrams is the absolute limit. However, Americans tend to eat more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day which is obviously way too much. That's not ideal, as Gervacio explains that "too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues."
With that in mind, you'll surely want to check out the following frozen breakfast foods which happen to be some of the unhealthiest options around and ones that you may want to avoid. Read on, and for more, don't miss 12 Best & Worst Frozen Waffles on Grocery Shelves, Say Dietitians.
Jimmy Dean Bacon Breakfast Bowl
Jimmy Dean Bacon Breakfast Bowl offers you a pretty typical American morning meal with bacon, eggs, and potatoes along with cheddar cheese. Coming in a bowl that you can simply pop in the microwave, the brand promises "a protein breakfast." Indeed, Gervacio acknowledges the high amount of protein as well as the "moderate carbohydrates." However, she also tells us, "This has a lot of saturated fat and sodium and is low in fiber and sugar. This won't help people with hypertension, high lipid problems, or those who are trying to reduce excess fat in the belly, arms, legs, or other body areas."
Bob Evans Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Singles
"The sodium content is also quite high," says Gervacio while talking about Bob Evans Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Singles, a product that delivers on its name when it comes to what it offers. Gervacio explains that "excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease." That's why, "for individuals watching their sodium intake, this product may not be the best choice."
Beyond that, Gervacio notes that "this product does provide a decent amount of protein, but it's relatively saturated fat." She explains that "it's important to enjoy items like this in moderation and consider them as an occasional treat rather than a regular part of the diet."
Hot Pockets Applewood Bacon, Egg & Cheese
Hot Pockets Applewood Bacon, Egg & Cheese adds an extra layer of flavor to its frozen breakfast option, and Gervacio tells us, "With 290 calories, it's a bit lower in calories compared to some breakfast sandwiches on the market. This can be a positive for those looking to manage their calorie intake.
On the other hand, Gervacio also says, "Sodium is at 600 milligrams, which is relatively moderate. While it's not excessively high, it's still a notable amount, especially for individuals who need to monitor their sodium intake due to high blood pressure or other health concerns."
Jimmy Dean Meat Lovers Breakfast Burritos
Jimmy Dean Meat Lovers Breakfast Burritos wraps a combination of egg, bacon, sausage, and cheese in a flour tortilla that can be prepared in an oven or microwave for your convenience. Unfortunately, if you opt for this frozen product, then you should be aware of the fact that it contains too much of one thing and not enough of another.
As Gervacio says, "The sodium content is high. For individuals watching their sodium intake, this might be something to be mindful of, especially if they are managing high blood pressure or other health concerns related to sodium." On the flip side, Gervacio points out, "The dietary fiber content of 1 gram is relatively low. Fiber is important for digestive health and satiety. Best to pair this with a side of fruits or vegetables to increase the fiber content."
Amy's Breakfast Scramble
Gervacio tells us that Amy's Breakfast Scramble is another frozen food that has a decent amount of fiber which is thanks to the fact that it contains tofu, organic mushrooms, onions, broccoli, potatoes, and meatless sausage. However, despite being a gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, tree nut-free, vegan, kosher, and plant-based product which is ideal for some, Gervacio says that "the 8 grams of added sugar is not ideal for those who are managing blood sugar levels."
Pillsbury Cream Cheese & Strawberry Toaster Strudel
Pillsbury Cream Cheese & Strawberry Toaster Strudel may be a delicious delight, however, you might want to consider it a dessert instead. "At 320 milligrams, the sodium content is relatively moderate. It's not excessively high, but it's still worth considering," says Gervacio. "However, with 53 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of sugar, this strudel is a carbohydrate-rich and sweetened option."
Gervacio explains that "while it provides a quick source of energy, it may lead to a rapid spike and subsequent drop in blood sugar levels." She adds, "This meal is clearly a treat or indulgence due to its high sugar content and relatively low nutrient density. Not for people who have high blood sugar problems or are losing weight."
Kellogg's Eggo Blueberry Waffles
Kellogg's Eggo Blueberry Waffles puts a fruity twist on a classic favorite. Granted, it doesn't provide you with what your body needs for a productive day. Gervacio says, "The dietary fiber content of 1 gram is quite low. Including fiber-rich toppings like fruits or nuts can help increase the overall fiber content of the meal. Also, consider adding protein-rich toppings or pairing them with a protein source for a more balanced meal."
Jimmy Dean French Toast & Sausage On a Stick
Imagine a pogo stick that's suitable for breakfast and you'll end up with Jimmy Dean French Toast & Sausage On a Stick. Another item that tells you exactly what it offers in its name, Gervacio notes that "at 250 calories per serving, this product provides a moderate amount of energy for a meal" and "moderate amounts of nutrients." In order to turn it from an unhealthy option into one that's more ideal, she says you'll need to eat it "with fruits and vegetables to increase fiber amount." She tells us, "This product offers a convenient, grab-and-go option. However, it should still be enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet."
Great Value Sausage Egg and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches
Although the Great Value Sausage Egg and Cheese Croissant Sandwich "provides a decent amount of protein to help with satiety and is essential for muscle repair," Gervacio says that "the dietary fiber content of 1 gram is quite low." That's why it's "best to eat this with fruits and veggies" if you still choose to eat it at all.
Evol Egg & Green Chile Burrito
Although Evol Egg & Green Chile Burritos don't have as much sodium as Jimmy Dean Meat Lovers Breakfast Burritos, it has almost as many calories. That's due to the scrambled eggs, potatoes, pinto beans, and cheddar cheese, not to mention "an authentic veggie Hatch green chile stew" that's served in a flour tortilla. Fortunately, we can suggest a healthy fiber-filled breakfast burrito and a plant-based, grain-free breakfast burrito alternative that you'll surely enjoy.
Walmart Great Value French Toast Sticks
Walmart Great Value French Toast Sticks aren't exactly a nutritious breakfast option and adding syrup or icing sugar isn't going to make them any better. Instead, you'll need to add some fruit on the side to give this meal a nutritional boost. Or, you can make your own French toast sticks with healthier ingredients like using whole wheat bread and adding homemade jam.
Sweet Earth Baja Breakfast Burrito
While addressing the drawbacks of Sweet Earth Baja Breakfast Burrito, Gervacio again noted the amount of sodium. Another wrap that might not be the best option for your morning meal, Gervacio says that you need to be aware of the sodium content in this product and how that might affect you before choosing to consume it as your morning meal.
MorningStar Farms Sausage, Egg & Cheese Vegetarian Breakfast Sandwich
MorningStar Farms Sausage, Egg & Cheese Vegetarian Breakfast Sandwich includes a vegetarian patty on a thin English muffin. Despite being deemed a breakfast sandwich, even the brand notes that you might want to eat it as "a tasty snack at work, afternoon pick-me-up, or late-night bite" as opposed to choosing it as your first meal of the day.