MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - School is back in session and sometimes a home-cooked breakfast is just not an option, while the thought of cold cereal can seem soggy.
But as you're pressed for time in the morning, there are faster ways to get your healthy breakfast fix.
Consumer Reports looked at six popular chains that include Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Panera Bread, and Starbucks. They tasted and rated about 48 items that stood out on the menu as better choices - sandwiches, oatmeal, smoothies and other morning favorites.
According to Consumer Reports, overall, Panera Bread fared best with five recommended items, Starbucks land four recommendations.
Finding healthy options was a little more difficult at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's, but both chains scored high for taste.
Consumer Reports say sandwiches items that did well tended to use whole grain breads, egg whites, leaner proteins like turkey bacon, and veggies.
Panera Bread's avocado, scrambled egg white and spinach on a flat-sprouted grain bagel was Consumer Reports' top rated. It even got an excellent rating for taste.
McDonald's Sausage Burrito received a good rating for taste, but Consumer Reports says for nutrition, it was high in sodium.
If you try oatmeal or other whole grain foods, they can be a great source for antioxidants and fiber. However, diet experts for Consumer Reports say watch for added sugars. They recommend asking for your sweeteners on the side so you can control the amounts.
Consumer Reports also says the best oatmeal is unsweetened and topped with fresh fruit, nuts, and raisins. They also recommended Steel Cut Oatmeal with strawberries and pecans as an option.
Starbucks' classic oatmeal with dried fruit, nut medley and brown sugar did well too. McDonald's fruit and maple oatmeal was not recommended, but it did get a good rating for its fruit and raisins topping.
Consumer Reports recommended the Starbucks eggs and cheese protein box, saying it did have more fat than other options but much of it was unsaturated fat.
Read more about the fast-food breakfast choices on the Consumer Reports website.