I was just perusing Burger King’s website and came across one of their $1 breakfast offerings — a “4-pack of warm, gooey” mini cinnamon buns accompanied by a small container of icing dip.
This breakfast item adds up to:
- 490 calories
- 7 grams saturated fat
- 39 grams (almost 10 teaspoons) of added sugar
- 1 gram fiber
- 400 milligrams sodium
Then, I started hearing the voices. You know, the critical voices that claim healthy eating is something only a certain elite group is capable of doing.
“See, Andy, how can you possibly convince someone to have a healthy breakfast when they can fill up on 490 calories for a mere dollar?”
Time for some budget-conscious nutrition 101!
Let’s suppose that, rather than start the day off with this cinnamon bun breakfast, our hypothetical subject instead toasts two slices of 100% whole grain bread, tops each with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and chows down on a banana.
Based on prices I have seen online as well as in various markets in New York City, I think it is fair to say that one can buy a 20-slice loaf of 100% whole grain bread for $2.89.
A standard 16-ounce jar of natural peanut butter can be purchased for $3.29 (even less if it’s a generic brand).
A medium banana sets you back approximately 25 cents.
Now, for some simple math:
2 slices of a $2.89 20-slice loaf of bread= 28.9 cents
2 tablespoons of a $3.29 16-ounce, 28-tablespoon peanut butter jar: 23.5 cents
Add 25 cents for the banana and you get a grand total of 77 cents for the healthier breakfast (which, by the way, takes no more than 5 minutes to make).
Even when you consider tax, you are looking at no more than 82 or 83 cents.
For the record, this is the nutritional breakdown of the healthier breakfast:
- 515 calories
- 2.5 grams saturated fat
- 460 milligrams sodium
- 11 grams fiber
- 4 grams (1 teaspoon) added sugar
- 17 grams protein
While the sodium count is slightly higher, it is still within reasonable parameters. Remember, ideally you want a calorie-to-sodium ratio of 1:1. Hence, 460 milligrams of sodium in a 515-calorie meal is much more acceptable than in a 150-calorie snack.
Besides, an additional 60 milligrams of sodium are not worth worrying about when the healthier breakfast provides less saturated fat, a lot less added sugar, and significantly more fiber than Burger King’s $1 “value breakfast”.
More importantly, the healthier breakfast contains higher amounts of magnesium, manganese, monounsaturated (heart-healthy) fats, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
In this case, choosing healthy over convenient truly is the better deal.