Starbucks is best known for their coffee, but their selection of bakery and breakfast options continues to grow. Their focus is still convenience, though. There are tons of options that seem like they would make for a healthy meal, but aren’t actually good for you at all. But that doesn’t mean you can’t order breakfast from Starbucks. It just means you should be careful when choosing what you eat. Here’s what you shouldn’t order from the menu, and which items are truly about as healthy as they seem.
1. Worst: Sausage, Cheddar & Egg Breakfast Sandwich
All your favorite breakfast foods on one English muffin sounds like a great idea in theory, but is the convenience and taste really worth the sacrifice? This sandwich has nearly 1,000 milligrams of sodium thanks to the sausage patty and cheddar cheese. Plus, the eggs are advertised as fluffy, but it takes a long list of questionable chemicals and fake butter to get scrambled eggs into a “puffed” state while keeping them in a sandwich-suitable shape. The English muffin that makes this breakfast portable is also full of preservatives, soybean oil, and added sugar.
Next: Choose a sandwich that’s not quite so salty.
2. Better: Gluten-Free Smoked Canadian Bacon & Egg
Though this sandwich is slightly healthier than the previous one, still be careful. If you think gluten-free automatically means healthy, you’re going to want to pay attention. This sandwich can easily trick you into thinking it’s healthy if you don’t glance at what’s inside. Long ingredient lists usually aren’t a good sign, and this case is no exception. A mixture of chemicals and flours is used to create a gluten-free bun — and while these additives are generally recognized as safe per FDA standards, it’s a little unsettling that you can’t pronounce half of them.
Next: Of all the breakfast sandwiches, this one’s the best.
3. Even better: Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich
While cheese is to blame for many of these breakfast sandwiches’ questionable saturated fat content, that’s not the case here. Reduced-fat cheddar cheese is less worrisome than feta or full-fat cheddar, and turkey bacon is slightly leaner than traditional bacon. Plus, all the ingredients in this sandwich are placed on a whole-wheat English muffin. This means the grains used to make the muffin aren’t stripped of nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber. Research suggests whole grains might even lower your heart disease risk due to their many health benefits, so this really is a smart choice.
Next: Is a scone really as healthy as you think it is?
4. Worst: Blueberry Scone
Sorry to break it to you, but most scones aren’t actually as healthy as they sound. They’re loaded with butter, milk, and eggs to make them fluffy — but the result isn’t so nutritious. A blueberry scone from Starbucks has 10 grams of saturated fat and a small amount of trans fat. There’s also more than 500 milligrams of sodium and 20 grams of sugar. With only 2 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, this isn’t the smartest breakfast option.
For less than 400 calories, you can get an entire blueberry muffin with yogurt and honey. That sounds like a pretty easy swap.
Next: Is bread any better than a sugary scone? Maybe a little bit.
5. Better: Pumpkin Bread
Better than a blueberry scone — but still not perfect. Even if a food’s nutrition label seems reasonable, don’t forget to look at the ingredients before you make a purchase. Food ingredients are listed on labels in order of quantity. That means the first item you see is the most plentiful in that product. So, considering the first thing on pumpkin bread’s ingredient list is sugar, you should know it’s still not the best option out there. There are a total of 39 grams of sugar — 63 carbohydrates total. Keep in mind, this is just one slice of bread. You might want to try saving pumpkin bread for actual dessert.
Next: Here’s a scone that won’t totally ruin your diet.
6. Even better: Petite Vanilla Bean Scone
When it comes to breakfast, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Unlike the blueberry scone, this tiny treat weighs in at just 120 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of sodium. It’s not any better in the fiber or protein department, but just one vanilla bean scone has less than half the amount of sugar in a blueberry scone. If you’re looking for something small and tasty to hold you over until your mid-morning snack, this is a much healthier option.
Next: There’s a lot of sugar in this yogurt — but there are better options.
7. Worst: Lemon Chiffon Yogurt
When yogurt is paired with fresh fruit, it becomes a breakfast worth enjoying. But when it’s flavored with something other than honey, it suddenly belongs in the dessert category. It’s the lemon curd that makes this particular parfait so unhealthy. How do you make lemon curd? Lemon juice, obviously — but also sugar, butter, and eggs. It’s meant to add a unique flavor to plain yogurt, but all it really does is contribute to the parfait’s 8 grams of saturated fat and 35 grams of sugar. When buying yogurt, it’s always better to start plain and add your own fresh ingredients than settle for processed flavorings that offer zero health benefits.
Next: This yogurt is berry delicious — and slightly healthier.
8. Better: Berry Trio Yogurt
Normally, regular yogurt isn’t the best source of protein and carbs, at least compared to Greek yogurt. However, this yogurt is packed with protein and fiber because of what comes with it. Granola adds both protein and carbs to the mix, and the three kinds of berries offer a variety of health benefits: The American Society for Nutrition suggests blueberries have heart-healthy properties that can lower your risk of cardiovascular-related diseases. Fresh strawberries and raspberries also add intense flavor to the yogurt, so no processed sugars are needed.
Next: Choose this yogurt for the most health benefits.
9. Even better: Fresh Blueberries and Honey Greek Yogurt Parfait
There’s nothing wrong with regular yogurt, but Greek yogurt is higher in protein per serving than the regular kind, and also contains less sugar. It’s also an excellent source of probiotics, which populate your gut with healthy bacteria. A high protein and fiber content means even 240 calories’ worth of yogurt will keep you full all morning.
As for the sweeteners, the honey in this parfait offers added flavor without too much extra sugar, and the blueberries provide some antioxidants. Top it off with granola, and it becomes the perfect healthy breakfast treat.
Next: Chocolate for breakfast sounds like a good idea, but only in theory.
10. Worst: Chocolate Chunk Muffin
Not all breakfast foods with chocolate incorporated are bad for you. Unfortunately, this muffin doesn’t qualify for that special honor. It has more calories, fat, and sugar combined than a chocolate chip cookie. It has two different types of chocolate and is made with buttermilk, butter, and vanilla flavoring. It’s actually surprising that it only has 39 grams of sugar. Still, nobody needs that much sweet stuff before they finish their morning coffee. Plus, this muffin is extremely low in protein and fiber for its size. You’ll be hungry again after just a few hours of finishing it.
Next: Swap a high-calorie muffin for a bowl of nutritious oatmeal.
11. Better: Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal
If oatmeal sounds like a boring breakfast to you, you’ve clearly never tried Starbucks’s oatmeal. This isn’t the bland, flavorless, texture-deprived bowl of oats you’re probably expecting. Its combination of blueberries and organic syrup gives it a texture and flavor you won’t regret. It also provides 20% of your daily fiber needs — a perfect way to start your day.
This oatmeal also includes dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, which — in small amounts, as they appear here — are super healthy for you. It’s not just hearty; it’s heart-healthy, and delicious.
Next: This bowl of oatmeal is even better for you.
12. Even better: Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal
At 160 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and only 125 grams of sodium per single serving, this is an excellent breakfast choice. The protein and fiber content combined will keep you full, despite the low calorie count. This oatmeal also has an admirably short ingredient list: water, whole-grain oats, oat flour, calcium carbonate, salt, and guar gum.
Overall, there aren’t any harmful additives — anything added to the simple oat and water mixture is similar to what you would find in other oatmeal products. Guar gum is a harmless product used to thicken foods like oatmeal for a more appealing texture. Calcium carbonate is added to foods like this to prevent it from sticking together in clumps. Starbucks’ Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal is one of the very few menu items containing zero added sugars, making it one of the healthiest things you can order for breakfast.
Next: Cake for breakfast is a treat you’ll probably want to pass up.
13. Worst: Classic Coffee Cake
Coffee cake is a renowned favorite, especially when it comes to Starbucks breakfast foods. Who doesn’t love coffee cake with their morning caffeine fix, after all? It’s often labeled as a breakfast food even though, nutritionally, it more closely resembles a dessert.
According to its nutrition label, one slice of this coffee cake has 10 grams of saturated fat. That’s about half the amount you should be eating in a day. Adding on to that a total of 31 grams of sugar and only 1 gram of fiber, it’s just not worth 390 calories. If you really wanted to, you could order a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast and still get less sugar and saturated fat than a piece of coffee cake. (Please don’t.)
Next: Make a bagel your go-to breakfast instead of a dessert trying to pretend it isn’t.
14. Better: Multigrain bagel
There are 8 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein in one multigrain bagel, making it one of the most nutrient-rich bakery items on the menu. At only 350 calories, its low fat and sugar content are exceptional. While multiple grains don’t necessarily make a product healthy, there aren’t many ingredients here that raise red flags.
It’s not just the bagel itself that gives it such a noteworthy fiber count, either — the topping is just as nutritious. It’s made up of a mixture of oats, flax, and sunflower seeds, which adds not just texture and flavor, but even more health benefits. Any heart-healthy food that fits on a breakfast menu is worth picking.
Next: Add a little sweetness to your bagel — it’s actually even healthier.
15. Even better: Cinnamon Raisin Bagel
Satisfy your sweet tooth with something worth the carbs. A cinnamon raisin bagel from Starbucks is so sweet on its own, you won’t need a spread to go with it. There’s a little more sugar there to make that sweetness happen, but it’s worth it for the 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and lack of saturated fat that comes along with it.
The bagel itself is made with wheat and barley flour, and provides a number of B vitamins as well. Whole raisins, also a major ingredient in this product, are extremely nutritious. According to Livestrong.com, raisins are rich in iron, dietary fiber, and energy-boosting carbs. All these ingredients combined create a sweet and savory breakfast worth waiting in line for.