The Wendy's Breakfast Menu—Ranked by Nutrition!
Every fast food restaurant has their own qualities that they're known for. If you want salty fries, a Big Mac, and Coke that is actually proven to taste better, you know to go straight to McDonald's. If you want the best chicken sandwich, delicious sauce options, and polite service, you know to head to Chick-fil-A. And of course, when you're craving a Frosty (and maybe fries to dip in it), everyone knows to run to Wendy's. But Frosty aside, Wendy's also has an extensive breakfast menu full of sandwiches, biscuits, croissants, and more. And while all of these breakfast items are deliciously satisfying, some are healthier than others.
Let's face it, it's hard to find fast food that is actually healthy. This cuisine is known for being high in saturated fat, calories, sodium, and added sugar, while also being notoriously low in helpful nutrients like fiber. In fact, some researchers have found that fast food consumption can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and heart complications. However, even though we are certainly not claiming that fast food is healthy, we understand that sometimes, it's the only option. Life can be chaotic and expensive, and the convenience and affordability of fast food is helpful sometimes—especially on busy mornings when you need to grab a quick breakfast on-the-go. When this is the case, it's nice to know what some of your "healthier" options are out there.
To learn more about your options at Wendy's, in particular, we spoke with two dietitians who are also members of our Expert Medical Board: Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, registered sports dietitian and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook; Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, award-winning nutrition expert and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Family Immunity Cookbook; and Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. Based on their expert insight, we've ranked every item on the Wendy's breakfast menu from least healthy to most nutritious. Even if these items are not considered "healthy" in the conventional sense, having this information will empower you to make well-informed dietary decisions, putting you at ease the next time you're in a bind and need a quick morning meal on the go.
The Breakfast Baconator
Coming in at No. 12, this sandwich may please your tastebuds, but it packs a punch of negative qualities.
"As the most unhealthy option, the Breakfast Baconator boasts 710 calories and 48 grams of fat," says Goodson. "It does have the highest protein content of any item, but its high calorie and fat make it the most unhealthy Wendy's breakfast menu item."
Sausage, Egg, & Swiss Croissant
"At 590 calories, this sandwich is another menu item with no fiber and a high saturated fat content of 16 grams," says Goodson. Based on the American Heart Association's recommendation of only 13 grams of saturated fat per day, this sandwich exceeds that in just one sitting.
Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit
A classic biscuit breakfast sandwich will certainly satisfy those savory, greasy cravings, but "this sandwich comes in toward the top, due to its high calorie and fat content from the biscuit and sausage," says Goodson. She also suggests omitting the sausage if you want to make this one a bit of a healthier choice.
It might seem like this is a decently healthy option at first because it doesn't have any cheese or other toppings on the sandwich, but it still contains some not-so-great levels of fat, sodium, and calories.
"With 13 grams of saturated fat, the Sausage Biscuit ranks toward the top with higher total fat, saturated fat, and lower protein compared to other sandwiches like the Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant," says Goodson.
Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant
The words maple, croissant, and bacon don't make for the healthiest connotation, and we definitely aren't claiming that this is a healthful choice. However, it's fairly middle-of-the-road in relation to other items on The Wendy's breakfast menu.
"While this sandwich uses chicken for protein versus pork, which is lower in fat, the chicken is still fried, giving it a moderate fat level," says Goodson. Unfortunately, this sandwich still has a "higher sugar content at 13 grams from the maple bacon."
Sausage Gravy & Biscuit
"While the Sausage Biscuit is 100 calories less than some of its counterparts, like the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, it ranks lower due to its higher saturated fat content, and less than half the protein," says Goodson.
It's also important to note the sodium level in this sandwich, as well as all fast food items. The FDA recommends that the average person sticks to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and this breakfast item provides over half of that in just one meal.
Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit
It's hard to read "Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit" on the Wendy's menu and not be tempted to order it. This one certainly isn't the worst sandwich option on the list and has fewer grams of saturated fat than many others, but you'll still need to watch the sodium and fat content.
"The Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit is an alternative for those looking for no eggs or pork," says Goodson. "And yes, it does have 2 grams of fiber, but at 500 calories, 9 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of fat, there are definitely healthier choices."
Classic Sausage, Egg, & Cheese
This sandwich still comes with a lot of fat, but you can make it a lot healthier by "ordering it without the sausage to cut back on the saturated fat," says Goodson.
"[I] like the protein content from the egg and cheese in this sandwich, but the saturated and total fat content is high due to the sausage patty," Goodson says.
Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit
"The Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit is a hardier sandwich with a fluffy buttermilk biscuit, making this a higher calorie and fat option compared to the Classic Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich," says Goodson. However, it's lower in calories and saturated fat than many of the other sandwiches on the menu.
Bacon, Egg & Swiss Croissant
"This is not the best option, but better than many other options offered for breakfast at Wendy's," says Amidor. "To cut back on those not-so-healthy nutrients, ask for the sandwich without the bacon."
Goodson adds that it isn't a terrible option for you and only has 370 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat, "but this sandwich is one of the few items on the menu with no fiber." The Bacon, Egg, & Swiss Croissant also has much less sodium compared to the other breakfast sandwich options featured here.
Fresh Oatmeal Bar
"Made with whole grain oats, this bar can be a satisfying addition to a breakfast when you are on-the-go, and the 4 grams of fiber it provides can help give this breakfast addition some serious staying power," says Manaker.
Amidor adds that this bar is also made with blueberries and cranberries, making it "a nice way to get in some fruit and whole grains."
Classic Bacon, Egg, & Cheese
"Ranking at No. 1 due to its high protein and only 320 calories, this sandwich uses a traditional roll, which has less fat and fewer calories compared to a biscuit or croissant," says Goodson.
To make this a bit of a more well-rounded option, Amidor recommends "adding some veggies like baby carrots or fruit like their apple bites on the side."
Even though this breakfast sandwich comes in as the first choice, it's important to remember that fast food is almost always going to be higher in things like saturated fat, sodium, added sugar, or calories. Finding a balance between not eating it every day but also not depriving yourself completely is going to serve you and your health goals best. And when you do pull into the Wendy's drive thru for breakfast, knowing some of your healthier options can give you more confidence and assurance.