- McDonald’s is rolling out two new chicken breakfast sandwiches nationwide, the Chicken McGriddle and McChicken Biscuit.
- One major competitor, Chick-fil-A, also serves chicken on its breakfast menus.
- Dietitians weigh in on the Chicken McGriddle and McChicken Biscuit nutrition information, and whether or not it’s healthy to eat chicken for breakfast.
Once upon a time, fast food breakfasts were limited to eggs sandwiches and pancakes, if you wanted to get fancy. But now, more chains are adding chicken sandwiches to their breakfast menus—and McDonald’s is the latest.
McDonald’s is rolling out two new chicken breakfast sandwiches nationwide—the Chicken McGriddle and McChicken Biscuit—starting today in participating restaurants for a limited time. According to a company press release, these breakfast sandwiches have been a “staple” in southern restaurants for a while now, so they aren’t entirely new for McDonald’s.
It’s also worth noting that McDonald’s is not the first fast food giant to serve chicken for breakfast—Chick-fil-A actually has several chicken sandwiches on their breakfast menu.
But is it a good idea to eat chicken for breakfast? And what’s the deal with these sandwiches when it comes to nutrition? We asked dietitians for their thoughts—and you may be surprised.
What’s in the new McDonald’s chicken breakfast sandwiches?
Both sandwiches have a base of the crispy McChicken patty, nestled between either a buttery biscuit (the McChicken Biscuit) or pancakes (the Chicken McGriddle).
⏰ IT’S TIME ⏰ The best place to get your chicken breakfast sandwich...bright and early and 7 days a week. Chicken McGriddles and McChicken Biscuits, now available nationwide. pic.twitter.com/6I53OxKcqp— McDonald's (@McDonalds) January 28, 2020
McDonald’s chicken breakfast sandwiches nutrition
Here’s what you can expect on the nutrition front with each, plus how they stack up against competitors.
- Calories: 390
- Protein: 14 g
- Fat: 14 g (4.5 sat fat)
- Carbs: 51 g (2 g fiber)
- Sugar: 14 g
- Sodium: 980 mg
- Calories: 420
- Protein: 14 g
- Fat: 20 g (9 g sat fat)
- Carbs: 46 g (2 g fiber)
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 1,040 mg
Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill
This contains egg whites, grilled chicken, and cheese on a multigrain English muffin.
- Calories: 290
- Protein: 26 g
- Fat: 8 g (3.5 g sat fat)
- Carbs: 29 g (1 g fiber)
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 970 mg
Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit
Expect breaded chicken on a buttermilk biscuit.
- Calories: 460
- Protein: 19 g
- Fat: 23 g (8 g sat fat)
- Carbs: 45 g (2 g fiber)
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 1,510 mg
Are the McDonald’s chicken breakfast sandwiches healthy?
No shocker here: Grabbing a fried chicken sandwich for breakfast is never going to be as healthy as, say, having some hard boiled eggs and fruit. But the idea of chicken for breakfast isn’t the problem here. “Most of us in the U.S. grew up eating cereal in front of the television, but chicken is consumed for breakfast all over the world,” says Scott Keatley, R.D., of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.
However, he adds, “you’re going to be hard-pressed to have any dietitian tout the nutrition of anything ‘McGriddle,’ which is essentially a pair of pancakes with some maple syrup in them.” The chicken itself in these sandwiches is “not bad, despite being fried,” he explains, but overall they’re high in calories, fatty, and major salt bombs.
Still, when you compare these sandwiches to some of the other options on fast food menus, they’re not terrible, says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. “They are all a little high in sodium and the McChicken Biscuit is high in saturated fat. However, they do make a much better choice than the sausage versions,” she says.
If you’re into the idea of fast food chicken for breakfast, Keatley says the Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill is “far and away the best choice” on the nutrition front, given that it’s made with grilled (not fried) chicken and served on a multigrain English muffin. He also recommends having any of these options with an apple to “bring up the fiber without adding calories, which will help keep you fuller, longer.”
But if you’re just looking to add more protein to your breakfast and aren’t sold on the idea of having chicken before noon, Gans says eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, nuts, seeds, turkey, and tofu, all pack a nice protein punch.
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