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Taco Bell breakfast: How does the nutrition stack up?

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Taco Bell’s Feb. 24 announcement that it will be offering its breakfast menu nationwide beginning March 27 adds another option for on-the-go families when looking for a quick drive-thru morning meal. Traditional breakfast fare of eggs, bacon and sausage will be wrapped for portability in tortillas or, a Taco Bell innovation, waffles.

So how nutritious is this new menu? With most items including eggs and meat, expect to find enough protein to fuel the morning. However, the calories and fat may tip the scales in the wrong way.

The Waffle Tacos, scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage or bacon wrapped in a waffle, comes in at 460 calories with 30 grams of fat. The Waffle Taco, which was tested marketed last spring in three Southern California stores, will be served with a side of maple syrup.

The A.M. Grillers are less weighty with 220 calories and 14 grams of fat for the sausage and 230 calories and 14 grams of fat for the bacon.

The heaviest offerings are the A.M. Crunchwraps — eggs, hash browns, melted cheese and a choice of bacon, sausage or steak tied together with a tortilla. Depending on the meat choice, one serving starts the day with 650 to 690 calories and 40 to 46 grams of fat.

These numbers are comparable to McDonalds breakfast fare. The classic Egg McMuffin has 290 calories with 12 grams of fat. A Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel bought at the Golden Arches has 680 calories with 32 grams of fat.

Health-conscious consumers should recognize that the ratio of fat to calories in many breakfast menu items at both restaurants exceeds U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. The maximum recommended total fat intake for a 2,000 diet should not exceed 65 grams. As with everything, moderation is the key to a healthy diet.

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