SOUTH BEND The business of breakfast is booming for fast food chains, as society demands more choices on-the-go. It's not just the population of fast-food eaters that is growing either, the menu itself is expanding to meet changing tastebuds.
Breakfast wasn't always an option at fast food restaurants, in fact, it's only been around for the past 40 years at McDonald's. When it started, the Egg McMuffin was the only choice. Now, consumers have dozens of options to start the day.
As the trends show, consumers are in the market for not only more options, but healthier choices too. In fact, area franchise owner, David Sparks, says the menu is constantly changing to keep up.
"The whole business of breakfast has grown," said Sparks. "People want more choices and they want it at more times. When we first got into breakfast we opened at 7 a.m., then we moved it back to 6 a.m., then it was 5. Now, we're open 24 hours. You even have a segment that wants breakfast after midnight."
McDonald's, like other fast food chains, offers customers a first-hand look at nutritional values of its products online. Plus, people can make the healthier choices by adding wheat buns to any breakfast sandwich, and by substituting eggs for egg whites.
"It's all about the healthy, active lifestyle and keeping things in balance," said Sparks. "We understand that people's tastes are changing, people's eating decisions are changing."
In part one of "16 Morning News: What's for Breakfast," Purdue University Extension Educator, Edie Sutton, said any meal can be made more nutritional by adding different food groups to the mix.
"It's more important to have something to eat than nothing at all," said Sutton. "So, if you start your day with something, even if it tends to be a little more sugary than what you want, at least you'll have the energy to keep you going until lunch."
Sutton continued with information about "My Plate," a nutritional guide suggesting people pick at least three of the five food groups at breakfast.
If people choose a higher fat or calorie breakfast, Sutton suggests adding food from other groups.
"If you're going to choose something like this, make sure you pair it with a glass of juice and maybe a glass of milk."
For more information about McDonald's breakfast menu options, click here.