Healthy Options at Corner Bakery, Part 1: Breakfast & Bread

Healthy Choices at Corner Bakery Cafe

I recently received an email from Eating Rules reader Michele, asking me to review Corner Bakery Cafe. It’s a great choice, especially because it’s one of those chains that appears in quite a few airports, where dining options are often limited.

I’m going to split up my review, covering just their breakfast options (and a bit on their breads) for today.  (The rest of the menu is here: Healthy Options at Corner Bakery, Part 2: Lunch & Dinner)

Michele also asked me to highlight the pescetarian and vegetarian-friendly options, so I’ll put a note on the non-obvious ones as well. (I don’t think there’s any seafood on the breakfast menu…).

Corner Bakery denotes vegetarian and vegan options in their menu and in the full nutrition list (PDF).  They also point out gluten-free items (though not certified) , which is a good step.

So without further ado, here’s your guide to getting a better breakfast at Corner Bakery! (And remember, don’t be afraid to ask them to customize your meal — some simple and delicious substitutions can really make a huge difference!).

Oatmeal & Yogurt – Better Choices

If you’re being careful about sodium, these are really the only good options for breakfast at Corner Bakery. (The included “Sweet Crisp” is the worst part about these options, so ask for them to skip it. It’ll save you 150 calories, 12g fat, 8g sugars, and 110mg sodium.)

Hot Oatmeal, without Toppings or Sweet Crisp
140 cal, 1.5g total fat, 230mg sodium

Hot Oatmeal, with all Toppings but without Sweet Crisp
330 cal, 9g total fat, 240mg sodium

Chilled Swiss Oatmeal, without Sweet Crisp
360 cal, 3g total fat, 130mg sodium

Oatmeal & Yogurt – Honorable Mention

Fresh Berry & Yogurt Parfait
390 cal, 12g total fat, 36g sugars, 170mg sodium
Good for calories and sodium, but it clearly has a lot of added sugar.  I believe the Sweet Crisp is not included.

Hot Oatmeal, with all Toppings and with Sweet Crisp
480 cal, 13g total fat, 35g sugars, 350mg sodium

Chilled Swiss Oatmeal, with Sweet Crisp
510 cal, 7g total fat, 63g sugars, 240mg sodium
A bit higher in calories, and a lot of sugar, but at least the sodium is low.

Oatmeal Toppings – Better Choices

Currants or Dried Cranberries
25 to 35 cal, no fat, 5 to 7g sugars, no sodium

Toasted Almonds or Walnuts
35 to 50 cal, 4 to 5g fat,  no sugars, no sodium

Oatmeal Topping – Worst Choice

Brown Sugar X
45 empty calories, 12g sugar
That’s about three teaspoons of sugar.

Breakfast Entrées – Better Choices

The numbers here do not include side dishes.  (Hint: Substitute the “Seasonal Fruit Medley” for the bread & potatoes.)

The Farmer’s Scrambler is vegetarian.

Farmer’s Scrambler (Whole Eggs)
410 cal, 27g total fat, 660mg sodium

Farmer’s Scrambler (Egg Whites)
250 cal, 11g total fat, 690mg sodium

All American Scrambler, with Bacon (Whole Eggs)
350 cal, 27g total fat, 770mg sodium

All American Scrambler, with Bacon (Egg Whites)
190 cal, 11g total fat, 800mg sodium
Low cal, but it’s high in sodium

Breakfast Entrées – Worst Choices

These are all over 1,000mg of sodium — without any side dish.

All American Scrambler, with Sausage (Whole Eggs) X
350 cal, 20g total fat, 1,050mg sodium

All American Scrambler, with Sausage (Egg Whites) X
190 cal, 3g total fat, 1,080mg sodium

Anaheim Scrambler (Whole Eggs) X
580 cal, 46g total fat, 1,060mg sodium
To be fair, some of the calories & fat in this one are coming from Avocado (not a bad thing) — but there’s still way too much sodium… probably from the bacon.

Anaheim Scrambler (Egg Whites) X
410 cal, 29g total fat, 1,090mg sodium

Breakfast Sandwiches – All Worst Choices

Disappointingly, all the breakfast sandwiches have at least 1,130mg of sodium (and go up to 1,570 at the top end) — which means that you’d be having at least half your day’s recommended amount just for breakfast!  Sodium #fail.

I’m listing the numbers for the “whole egg” versions.  If you get egg whites instead, you can subtract about 80 calories and 8 grams of fat — but ADD 30 milligrams of sodium.

The Commuter Croissant X X
680 cal, 44g total fat, 1,130mg sodium

Anaheim Panini X
550 cal, 32g total fat, 1,140mg sodium

Chicken Apple Sausage Panini X X
540 cal, 24g total fat, 1,560mg sodium

Smoked Bacon & Cheddar Panini X
540 cal, 32g total fat, 1,280mg sodium

Ham & Swiss Panini X X
490 cal, 22g total fat, 1,510mg sodium

Baked French Toast – All Worst Choices

Good Lord!  The “Baked French Toast & Eggs” tops out at 1,200 calories!  I’m trying hard not to be snarky here, but that’s just inexcusable.  Just the plain French Toast, with no syrup or sides, is 630 calories.

The numbers below include the vanilla syrup — see my note below.

Baked French Toast, with Bacon or Sausage and Eggs (Whole or Whites) X X
1,040 to 1,200 cal, 31 to 55g total fat, 1,150 to 1,460mg sodium

Baked French Toast, with Bacon or Sausage and Fresh Fruit X
1,030 cal,  31 to 39g total fat, 770 to 1,050mg sodium

Baked French Toast (plain, no syrup or sides) X
630 cal, 28g total fat, 350mg sodium

Vanilla Syrup X
220 cal, 30mg sodium
At 4 calories per gram, this doesn’t add up.  Maybe it’s only 120 calories, or maybe it’s more like 55g sugar. I’ve asked @CornerBakery, and if they get back to me I’ll let ya know.  Let’s move on.

Breakfast Sides – Better Choice

Seasonal Fruit Medley
70 cal, no fat, 10mg sodium

Breakfast Sides – Worst Choices

On their own, most of these don’t appear that bad.  Until you consider that they’re side dishes.

Chicken Apple Sausage (Two patties) X X
110 cal, 3g total fat, 670mg sodium

Bacon (Three slices) X
110 cal, 11g total fat, 390mg sodium

Breakfast Potatoes
140 cal, 4g total fat, 290mg sodium

Harvest Toast
170 cal, 2.5g total fat, 270mg sodium
“Harvest” is a sneaky way to imply whole grain…but with only 3g fiber per 170 cal serving, I promise you it’s made with mostly refined flour.

Bagels, Muffins & Pastries – Better Choices

Personally, I’d probably order one of the “better choice” entrées listed above — it’ll have fewer calories and sodium than a bagel with cream cheese, AND it’ll keep me satisfied longer. (To be totally honest, I might go for the 8-Grain with Peanut Butter.) I’m still listing these as “better” because, well, they’re certainly better than any of the breakfast sandwiches or French Toast.

8-Grain Bagel, without Cream Cheese
330 cal, 2g total fat, 4g fiber, 500mg sodium
Not to be confused with whole grain, this bagel one does have one gram more of fiber than the others.

8-Grain Bagel, with Plain Cream Cheese
460 cal, 15g total fat, 4g fiber, 700mg sodium

8-Grain Bagel, with Peanut Butter
570 cal, 23g total fat, 6g fiber, 690mg sodium
Although the peanut butter adds more calories than the cream cheese, it’s also more nutritious and the fats are better for you. (Here’s info on the types of fat in foods.)

Bagels, Muffins & Pastries – Worst Choices

If I asked which was healthier, a muffin or a croissant, I’m guessing most people would answer muffin.  Yet, all of Corner Bakery’s muffins are significantly higher in calories, and most are much higher in sodium, than their croissant. (And the croissant still has the same 2g of fiber.)

Cream cheeses will add 110-130 calories and 150-200mg sodium.

Everything Bagel, without Cream Cheese X
330 cal, 2.5g total fat, 3g fiber, 800mg sodium
That’s more than 50% more sodium than the 8-Grain bagel… and one less gram of fiber.  So much for “everything.”

Blueberry or Cinnamon Raisin Bagel, without Cream Cheese
330 to 340 cal, 2 to 2.5g total fat, 3g fiber, 540 to 650mg sodium

Plain or Sesame Seed Bagel, without Cream Cheese
330 cal, 2 to 3.5g total fat, 3g fiber, 650 to 660mg sodium

Banana Muffin
530 cal, 26g total fat, 36g sugars, 1g fiber, 500mg sodium

Blueberry Muffin
510 cal, 22g total fat, 36g sugars, 1g fiber, 380mg sodium

Chocolate Muffin X
530 cal, 28g total fat, 36g sugars, 2g fiber, 620mg sodium

Cinnamon Crumb Muffin X
650 cal, 30g total fat, 50g sugars, 2g fiber, 520mg sodium

Pumpkin Muffin
460 cal, 18g total fat, 48g sugars, 2g fiber, 430mg sodium

340 cal, 16g total fat, 6g sugars, 2g fiber, 370mg sodium

Cinnamon Roll X
650 cal, 24g total fat, 48g sugars, 4g fiber, 490mg sodium

Pecan Sticky Bun X X
1,020 cal, 62g total fat, 6g fiber, 610mg sodium
Wow.  Just… wow.

Breads – Better Choices

It’s tricky to compare the breads, since they don’t list actual serving sizes.  They do, however, list numbers for a “slice” or the whole loaf.   I’m listing the reported nutrition information for one slice of each.  There’s no excellent choice here (none of the breads have enough whole grains or fiber to make me happy), but the Brioche is certainly the clear loser.  I’m paying close attention to sodium, for sure.

Raisin Pecan Miche
140 cal, 4g total fat, 7g sugars, 1g fiber, 130mg sodium
This would probably get a green check mark, if it weren’t for the sugars.

Traditional Sesame Baguette
50 cal, 1g total fat, no sugars, no fiber, 95mg sodium
This must be a smaller slice than the other breads.

Country Boule
80 cal, no fat, no sugars, <1g fiber, 230mg sodium

Country Small Oblong
110 cal, no fat, no sugars, <1g fiber, 270mg sodium

170 cal, 2.5g total fat, 4g sugars, 3g fiber, 270mg sodium

Focaccia Loaf
110 cal, 1.5g total fat, no sugars, 1g fiber, 250mg sodium

Breads – Worst Choices

Brioche Flatbread X X
330 cal, 13g total fat, 2g trans fat, 3g fiber, 9g sugars, 8g protein, 480mg sodium
Two grams of trans fat is your absolute daily max…and even that is pushing it.

Cinnamon Raisin
220 cal, 7g total fat, 1g fiber, 13g sugars,  220mg sodium

Country Large Oblong
170 cal, 1g total fat, <1g sugars, 2g fiber, 500mg sodium

Mom’s White
130 cal, 3.5g total fat, 2g sugars, <1g fiber, 340mg sodium

White Rye Oblong
180 cal, 1g total fat, 4g sugars, 3g fiber, 460mg sodium

Ciabatta Ficelle (entire item) X
360 cal, 6g total fat, 2g sugars, 3g fiber, 710mg sodium

Poblano Cheese Batard (entire item) X
410 cal, 13g total fat, 2g sugars, 3g fiber, 800mg sodium

Pretzel Demi (entire item) X X
410 cal, 5g total fat, 2g sugars, 3g fiber, 1,600mg sodium (!)

Menu Mondays are my recommendations for the most healthful options at chain restaurants. Although it may be tough to find “perfect” options when eating out, it’s important to choose “better” whenever possible, and I hope these guides will help make that easier for you.

indicates the “best-of-the-best,” and X indicates the “worst-of-the-worst,” more or less.

See Also: Healthy Options at Corner Bakery, Part 2: Lunch & Dinner

Corner Bakery Full Nutrition Information (PDF)

Photo by cafemama.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

Welcome to Eating Rules!

Hi! My name is Andrew Wilder, and I think healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. With just three simple eating rules, we'll kickstart your journey into the delicious and vibrant world of unprocessed food.

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May 5, 2011 8:50 am

First let me say. I am flabbergasted by the amount of VALUABLE info in this post. You do this every Monday? Impressive. Second. Camp… I am so happy to have another man in this field of lovely women I met at camp last year (when I was the ONLY blogger attendee that was male). I hope I’ll see you a lot. We both live in LA and should not be strangers. GREG

May 3, 2011 1:46 pm

What a great idea! this will def be a bookmarked index

May 2, 2011 6:59 pm

Talk about kismet! Meeting you at camp was terrific on its own, but your restaurant review is incredibly appropriate. We are going to PA and NYC in a month and, since my husband’s heart attack, we have done little eating out. Clearly, we will be forced to do so and I have been increasingly anxious about this. Your review presents great guidelines – thanks!

May 2, 2011 6:26 pm

Wow, excellent post! I do not eat at Corner Bakery very often, but I am rather petrified to read next week’s lunches as I love one of their paninis.

It was great getting to know you and hear your humbling words @Camp Blogaway this weekend! 🙂

May 2, 2011 3:40 pm

Wow! What a thorough evaluation — I have family that rave about the Corner Bakery and eat there ALL the time. Definitely pointing them to your post.

It was wonderful meeting you at Camp Blogaway, King PineCone. Hope to see you around our lower elevation soon.