Are Fast Food Breakfasts Healthier Than Your Fancy Brunch?

by | April 10, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Food

(Taco Bell)

We look down upon the fast food breakfast wars as something hardly nutritious, but many gourmet brunch dishes actually pack more fat and calories than a typical Taco Bell breakfast. Who knew?

By Joanna Fantozzi, TheDailyMeal.com Editor

The words A.M. Crunchwrap sound disgusting (and slightly tempting) to many breakfast-eaters who would rather stick with their weekly Sunday morning Greek omelet and wouldn’t dare venture to a fast food chain to cure a morning hangover. But The Daily Meal recently counted calories on the new Taco BellBurger King, and McDonald’s breakfast menus and found that they actually might be a healthier option than chowing down on a plate full of fancy pancakes and hash browns.

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Let’s start with the Bacon A.M. Crunchwrap, one of the new offerings from Taco Bell who just unveiled their breakfast menu last month in an attempt to cash in on some of the success McDonald’s and other fast food chains have been experiencing in the morning. Checking in at a whopping 660 calories, the Bacon A.M. Crunchwrap is far from healthy but it’s still better than ordering eggs Benedict, which at many restaurants, depending on the serving size, tips the scale at over 1,000 calories (it’s probably the fact that the dish is slathered in Hollandaise sauce, which is made from pure butter).

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 If you decide to start your morning with some pancakes, you probably already know that a stack of buttery pancakes dripping in sugary maple syrup can’t be good for you. Sure, if you stick to one or two whole wheat pancakes with a topping of fresh fruit instead (check out our low-cal recipe), you’ll be fine, but most servings of four or more pancakes can total more than 1,000 calories, which is way more than ordering a 12-pack of Cinnabon Delights off of the new Taco Bell menu (930 calories), or the French toast sticks from the new Burger King breakfast value menu which has 580 calories.

Even a New York bagel with a shmear of cream cheese isn’t safe: just one will put you at around a 400-calories breakfast, which is less healthy than a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin at 290 calories.

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And don’t get us started on mimosas. We know they’re bottomless, but just one will set you back 140 calories.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi