Balance that java buzz with these delicious and healthy bites.

Reviewed by Dietitian Maria Laura Haddad-GarciaReviewed by Dietitian Maria Laura Haddad-Garcia

Perhaps you hit snooze one (okay, three) more times than you would have liked. Maybe you’re a couple of days behind on your Instacart order and are fresh out of eggs and oatmeal. Or perhaps you’re at the airport around dawn to catch a flight and catch your stomach growling, too. 

Sure, you could simply skip breakfast. But science proves that this can not only increase cravings and feelings of anxiety throughout the day but might also decrease calorie burn, lead to brain fog, impact sleep quality and, over time and in extreme cases, spike risk for nutrient deficiencies and eating disorders.

Instead, dietitians wholeheartedly approve of grabbing your morning meal to-go. Places ranging from McDonald's to Subway to Starbucks all have solid options. Quite possibly your best bet for a stop?

“Starbucks is my favorite place to grab breakfast on the road,” reveals Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., RDN, founder of Nutrition Starring YOU and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook. “It offers some great options to jump-start the day with nutrient-dense foods like protein, whole grains and produce.”

Homemade is “just always going to be better,” according to Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a Dobbs Ferry, New York-based dietitian and author of Everyday Snack Tray; since it’s fresh, it doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives, you know exactly what went into it, and it’s far more affordable. However, skipping breakfast entirely or drinking coffee and calling that “breakfast” can actually negatively impact your health in the long run.

“No single meal or food choice stands on its own,” Harris-Pincus confirms. “We need to look at how these meals contribute to our overall diets and lifestyles. I'd rather someone choose one of these options than skip breakfast altogether. Any meal with protein, produce and fiber provides important nutrients.”

Related: The 4 Best Low-Sugar Starbucks Drinks for People with Diabetes

Many coffee shops only offer baked goods for breakfast, admits Molly Bremer, M.S., RD, a Washington D.C.-based registered dietitian and the founder of the virtual nutrition counseling private practice Mosaic Nutrition. So she’s particularly fond of the diversity on the Starbucks a.m. menu.

“They have a wide variety of foods ranging from breakfast sandwiches, wraps and egg bites to oatmeal, yogurt and baked goods,” Bremer says. And as a mom, Largeman-Roth adores the fact that Starbucks has choices that will please vegans, carnivores and picky eaters.

When we asked our panel of dietitians to select the best of the bunch, they landed on these four orders.

1. Spinach, Feta and Cage-Free Egg White Wrap

Nutrition facts: 290 calories, 34 g total carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 5 g total sugars, 20 g protein, 8 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 840 mg sodium

Harris-Pincus hand-picked this wrap as her “favorite Starbucks breakfast.” She gives it top marks because it packs 20 grams of protein for 290 calories, keeping you full for longer. 

“It's also filled with veggies and whole grains for a great vegetarian meal on the go. Pair it with a banana or other fruit for a delicious plant-forward meal,” she recommends.

As a reminder, egg whites are a potent source of protein; however, the majority of the nutrients (vitamins B12 and D, choline) find their home in the yolks. So when you are at home and have control over your breakfast sandwich, feel free to keep some or all of the yolks in the mix—yes, even for many people who have high cholesterol. (Always consult with your doctor for personalized recommendations.)


Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs Every Day

2. Eggs and Cheddar Protein Box

Nutrition facts: 460 calories, 40 g total carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 3 g total sugars, 21 g protein, 24 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 450 mg sodium

Largeman-Roth swears by this protein box. The variety keeps things interesting and covers a wide array of nutrition needs in one easy-to-eat-on-the-road package. Each box includes two hard-boiled eggs, sliced tart apples, a handful of grapes, a wedge of white Cheddar cheese, a piece of multigrain bread and Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter (which Largeman-Roth likes to slather on the apple slices).

“This mini snack tray has 22 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, which is nothing to sneeze at,” Largeman-Roth says.

3. Rolled and Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries 

Nutrition facts: 320 calories, 46 g total carbohydrates, 7 g dietary fiber, 2 g total sugars, 15 g protein, 12 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 130 mg sodium

If you are not an egg person or prefer a plant-based option, this steel-cut oatmeal is here to save the day. Add-ons—nut medley, berries, agave, dried fruit and brown sugar—are optional. (The berries, nut medley and agave are included in the nutrition info above.)

Bremer recently enjoyed this while traveling in LA and confirms that “this is a great breakfast option. Oatmeal and fruit contribute fiber, the nuts provide protein, and the brown sugar and agave syrup add tastiness and some quick carbohydrates.”

This healthy Starbucks breakfast is lower in protein than the other options. So, if you want to add some more, Harris-Pincus suggests adding a tall 12-ounce latte with whole milk, which provides around 9 grams. 7  The amount of protein may vary depending on the type of milk and size you choose. 

4. Kale and Mushroom Sous Vide Egg Bites

Nutrition facts: 230 calories, 11 g total carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 1 g total sugars, 15 g protein, 14 g total fat, 9 g saturated fat, 340 mg sodium

All three of the RDs we spoke with swoon over these egg bites since they sneak in 15 grams of protein each and have a reasonable amount of sodium: 340 milligrams. They’re also gluten-free for those who need it; just keep in mind that the entire Starbucks’ kitchen isn’t, so cross-contamination is possible.

Considering their crowd-pleasing qualities and convenience, it’s not surprising that copycats abound, including products sold at Trader Joe’s, Costco, Aldi and other major supermarkets. And if you want to try making your own at home, these Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Egg Bites are better than Starbucks’.

“Many of my clients love the Starbucks egg bites. These are small, tasty and protein-packed mini egg souffles. They also contain fat but minimal carbohydrates,” Bremer says. 

So when Bremer orders her sous vide egg bites, she adds on a banana, a croissant from the bakery case or a slice of her all-time favorite: the Iced Lemon Loaf.

Related: Copycat Starbucks Spinach & Mushroom Egg Bites

How to Choose a Healthy Fast-Food Breakfast 

You could go to Starbucks every day and get any of these dishes and feel “darn good about it,” Largeman-Roth says, “but you’d also be spending an extra $5 to $10 a day, depending on what else you order. If it’s in your budget, picking up a Starby’s breakfast a couple of times a week is just fine.”

Aim to keep your Starbucks stops “sometimes” rather than daily occasions, and when you do land at the coffee shop, try not to let the buzz, the efficient service style or your busy morning overwhelm you. It’s especially easy to over-order when you’re using the app. (Bremer admits, “I have been there!”). So try to plot out your game plan before you even open the app, step up to the counter or roll up to the drive-through ordering microphone.

Related: 22 Restaurant Copycat Breakfast Recipes You'll Want to Make Forever

What to Look For

Harris-Pincus advises her clients to build meals that contain protein, produce, fiber-rich carbohydrates and heart-healthy fats. Although finding that combination in fast food or coffee shop breakfast meals can be tough, it’s not impossible—as these healthy Starbucks breakfasts prove.

As far as the specific nutrition stats go, these vary based on the individual and your activity level for the day. But as a general range, Largeman-Roth and Harris-Pincus recommend shooting for the following features in your breakfast:

  • 300 to 600 calories
  • 15+ grams of protein
  • 3+ grams of fiber

What to Limit

As we mentioned, there’s no need to fret too much about one meal out of the tens of thousands you’ll consume in a lifetime. That being said, it’s wise to watch out for high amounts of added sugars, especially since several Starbucks bakery items have 30+ grams, which may be more than your daily quota. As a reference, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to a daily max of 36 grams teaspoons for men and 25 for women. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting added sugars to less than 10 percent of your daily calories, which is around 50 grams for a 2000-calorie diet.

When possible, limit your consumption of processed meats, such as ham, bacon and sausage, too, since eating too much can increase your risk of chronic inflammation.

Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Skip Breakfast

The Bottom Line

Healthy breakfast items abound on the Starbucks menu. Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory or seeking something vegan or gluten-free, you’ll find a balanced brekkie at Starbucks. Focus on choosing something that’s packed with protein and fiber to help you feel satisfied. And if you’re able to limit the added sugar and sodium, that's even better!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the healthiest breakfast to get at Starbucks?

There are several healthy breakfast items to consider at Starbucks. We recommend choosing one rich in protein and fiber and low in added sugars and sodium to keep you satisfied for longer.

Are egg bites from Starbucks healthy?

Starbucks sous vide egg bites are protein-rich and easy to enjoy on the go. Keep the sodium content in mind as you flesh out your menu for your other meals and snacks; these can be part of a well-rounded menu.

What's the healthiest sandwich at Starbucks?

Try the Spinach, Feta and Egg White Wrap. Add a piece of fruit and/or a latte for a dietitian-approved start to the day.

Are Starbucks egg bites real eggs?

Starbucks sous vide egg bites are made with real eggs. If the texture seems different from your homemade egg muffins, this is likely due to the sous vide cooking method (meaning that they’re essentially cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag in a warm water bath) or the cottage cheese.

Is bacon Gouda from Starbucks healthy?

Starbucks’ Bacon, Gouda and Egg Sandwich features an artisan roll, frittata egg patty, Gouda cheese and uncured bacon. While fairly high in fat, saturated fat and sodium, it’s low in sugar, delivers a reasonable amount of calories and offers a high amount of protein. As long as you consider those factors as you round out your meal plan without making it an everyday breakfast, ordering it every so often is A-OK.

Read the original article on Eating Well.

2024-06-24T23:57:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd