Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but the 70-plus percent of Americans concerned about their weight are hereby on notice: breakfast can be a killer, as well.
The Daily Beast culled nutrition data from a score of national restaurant chains, to find 50 of the unhealthiest morning meals in the country. What can you expect to find within? Oh, we have bacon and sausage. Yep, we have biscuits and gravy. We have cream hotcakes, dozens of scrambled and fried eggs, and pounds upon pounds of melted cheese. One offering, from Friendly’s, even comes with scoops of ice cream.
View Our Ranking Of The 50 Unhealthiest Breakfasts
But breakfast isn’t supposed to bloat the waistband, it’s supposed to help get the brain going in the morning. A healthy breakfast can help improve academic performance. And, for those hundreds of millions of weight-conscious Americans, a well-balanced breakfast is supposed to help when dieting, to avoid hunger pangs later in the day.
Of course, wolfing down the meals here may help avoid hunger pangs for a week. Half of these breakfasts have more than 1,000 calories, and two of the meals have more than 2,000 calories.
“That’s a bad prescription,” says Eddy Chavey, a chef and breakfast enthusiast who goes by the nom de guerre Mr. Breakfast. “You’re going to end up feeling sluggish and considering all the options out there, including many of the fast food options, it’s a real shame when people go for these high calorie meals, and especially the saturated fat.”
The meals most likely to tip the bathroom scales are offered by Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery, known for its 24-hour breakfasts and mountainous buttermilk pancakes. We limited each restaurant chain to five meals, but if we hadn’t Perkins would have nabbed 18 of the top 20 spots. That may be because Perkins specializes in breakfast, so it offers more breakfast items, but it also demonstrates that too many of those meals are rich in calories and saturated fat.
• 20 Most Caffeinated Cities • 25 Worst Meals for Kids• 40 Salads That Can Kill You But, as Chavey says, “fast food restaurants aren’t necessarily villains in this.” All of these restaurants also offer breakfast choices with modest calorie counts. “You talk about going out as a family,” Chavey says, “it’s important to teach your kids to mix it up.”
The Daily Beast examined the data across the four categories available for each eatery: calories, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. Each meal was ranked within each nutritional category, then the ranking each meal received for each nutritional category was totaled to determine the final ranking. Ties were broken by calories.