Now though, some of the major fast food chains are starting to offer healthier options.
In the last few years, they've had to publish their nutritional info, which has put them under the nutrition miscroscope.
On "The Early Show," nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot, a contributor to Cooking Light magazine pointed to several choices that are healthier than typical fast food breakfast fare.
Incidentally, she says breakfast is so important, it's better for you to eat breakfast, even an unhealthy one, than to avoid it for dieting purposes.
Starbucks: Protein Plate
When it comes to breakfast on the run, it can be hard to find one with plenty of protein that's not also oozing with saturated fat. Enter Starbucks' Protein Plate, an energizing combo of fruit, peanut butter, a hard cooked egg, and a mini bagel. Together these deliver the perfect balance of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats to help you power through your morning. One serving provides 370 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 17 grams each of protein and fat, and 5 grams of saturated fat. Pair it with a cup of green tea for an added antioxidant boost.
McDonald's: Scrambled Eggs and English Muffin
You may think of it as the home of the Egg McMuffin but McDonald's also dishes up a simpler - and healthier - scrambled egg breakfast. Just order each item individually (no oversized platters please!) and be sure to bypass the breakfast meat. Try a side of scrambled eggs, an English muffin, strawberry preserves, and a large coffee for 365 calories, 14 grams of fat, and half the sodium you'd get from the McMuffin (460 mg).
Jamba Juice: 12-oz Mango Peach Topper
Jamba's Ideal Meals make the perfect breakfast when there's no time for breakfast. Part smoothie, part yogurt parfait, this meal has it all combining bananas, peaches, mangos, soymilk, and non-fat yogurt with a crunchy organic pumpkin flaxseed granola topping. One 12-oz serving has only 340 calories and 5 grams of fat and supplies 6 grams of fiber and at least half your daily dose of vitamins A and C. Order yours with an extra Whey Protein Superboost for a total of 19 grams of satiating protein.
Burger King: 3-Piece French Toast Sticks
Who says you can't start your day on the sweet side? Instead of a giant cinnamon roll, check out this perfectly sized portion of French toast strips from Burger King. Three strips with a 1-ounce container of syrup provide a respectable 300 calories, 11 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated fat. And it's unusually low in sodium with only 280 milligrams per serving. Grab an 8-oz jug of fat free milk along with it for an additional protein boost plus a third of your day's calcium.
Subway: Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt
The folks at Subway put the breakfast sandwich on a diet and came up with this ingenious muffin melt. They did it by swapping in egg whites for whole eggs and adding fresh vegetables like bell peppers and onions. The result: an egg muffin with only 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, and less than 2 grams of saturated fat. It also packs a satisfying 15 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber along with as much calcium as a glass of milk. Team it up with a bag of apple slices and you'll work in a serving of produce to boot. This breakfast is however, relatively high in sodium at 680 mg.
Dunkin' Donuts: Egg White & Cheese Wake-Up Wrap
These days Dunkin' Donuts serves up a lot more than, well, donuts. Thanks to its new DDSmart menu Dunkin' now has some of the lightest breakfast offerings around with at least 25 percent less fat and calories than the usual fast food fixins. We're still not exactly sure how they do it but their Egg White & Cheese Wake-Up Wrap is about as good as it gets with only 150 calories and 6 grams of fat. Pair it with a small Latte Lite and you'll walk out the door for fewer than 230 calories. This breakfast option is also relatively high in sodium at 520 mg.