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Best fast-food egg sandwiches

We tested these breakfast mainstays for taste and nutrition

Consumer Reports magazine: June 2012

The Subway Egg White and Cheese was very tasty and had decent nutrition.

When you order a breakfast sandwich, can you “start your morning off right” (as Dunkin’ Donuts claims) and “wake up to deliciousness” (as McDonald’s says)?

Looking at calories, fats, sodium, sugars, and fiber, we graded the nutrition of 106 egg sandwiches from Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway, and Wendy’s. Then we had four tasters try one or two of the more nutritious choices from five of those chains, omitting Wendy’s because its breakfast sandwiches aren’t to be offered nationally until later this year. Tasters visited at least three locations per chain. Prices are from stores in the New York area.

What we found. Of the 106 choices, just six rated Very Good for nutrition, and all of those came from Subway. No breakfast sandwiches from Burger King, McDonald’s, or Wendy’s rated better than fair. See nutrition information below.

When it came to taste, only one of the sandwiches we tried rated Very Good: Subway’s Egg White and Cheese on Mornin’ Flatbread. Its components blended well, its flatbread was tender, its egg whites were flavorful. The rest had one or more drawbacks. Cheese in both Starbucks sandwiches was saucelike; egg in McDonald’s Egg McMuffin was slightly rubbery. Others had mediocre muffins or flavorless eggs. Sandwich quality often varied from one location to another within a chain. The BK’s eggs were fluffy in two restaurants and wet in a third.

Bottom line. It’s hard to find a nutritious, tasty breakfast sandwich at a fast-food joint. Based on their experience, our tasters have three suggestions: Ask for any of these sandwiches well toasted; toasting blended the flavors and made the bread taste better. If you’re looking for good nutrition, skip cheese or meat, substitute egg whites for whole eggs, or avoid a footlong. And eat right away, because quality fell as the sandwiches cooled off.

Most nutritious sandwiches

Starbucks Sandwich

To mix food images, breakfast sandwiches are not peas in a pod. Choose the least-healthful option and you'll make a big dent in—or even exceed—the generally recommended daily limits for calories (2,000), fat (65 grams), and sodium (2,300 milligrams). The toll for Subway's Footlong Sausage & Cheese: 1,210 calories, 71 grams fat, and 2,820 milligrams sodium. Nutrition numbers are from restaurant websites.

Calories for the sandwiches we tested ranged from 150 to 1,210; fat ranged from 3.5 to 71 grams; sodium ranged from 340 to 3,270 milligrams; and fiber ranged from 0 to 11 grams.

Nutrition Ratings

Subway Muffin Melts: Egg White & Cheese (with or without Bacon, Ham, or Steak); Egg & Cheese (with or without Ham)

Dunkin' Donuts Wraps: Egg White Turkey Sausage, Veggie, or Western; Egg & Cheese

Starbucks Sandwich:
Turkey Bacon & White Cheddar Classic

Starbucks Wraps: Chicken Sausage; Spinach, Feta & Egg White

Subway Muffin Melts: Steak or Bacon, Egg, and Cheese; Breakfast BMT with Egg or Egg White

Subway Mornin' Flatbreads: Egg or Egg White & Cheese (with or without Bacon, Ham, or Steak)

Subway Subs: Sunrise Melt with Egg or Egg White

Editor's Note: A version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "Fast-Food Egg Sandwiches."
   

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