Stopping at Panera Bread for a healthy, balanced meal probably seems like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, a world of unhealthy food choices lies behind the simmering soups and bountiful salads. Sometimes everything is not sunshine and rainbows. Some menu options are packed with fat and added sugar, which makes eating out so damn tricky. Never fear, we’re here to break down Panera’s best and worst menu items!
I love a warm cup of soup as much as the next person, but you need to be smart about your selection. Soup can be divided into 3 main categories: creamy, noodle, and veggie based. Unsurprisingly, your creamy soups are going to contain a lot more fat than a vegetable soup. Since fat is the most calorie-dense nutrient, higher fat means higher overall calories! A broth and vegetable-filled soup is a great way to begin your meal! Veggie soup tends to be low in calories while providing a ton of volume, which means that you will feel full, quicker. Check out our chart below to compare Panera’s best and worst soups!
Salads might seem like an easy go-to healthy option on any menu. Surprisingly, many salads offered at restaurants are laden with fat and an astronomical number of calories. The Oriental Chicken Salad at Applebee’s packs a whopping 1440 calories, literally a whole day’s worth for some people! The good news is, Panera Bread does a pretty solid job at keeping their salads healthy. Check out the chart below to see how the infamous Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad stacks up against the offerings at Panera Bread.
Pro Tip: Here’s how to determine if your favorite restaurant salad is sitting on a throne of lies, and how to modify your order. Let’s make salads great again!
In the carb-fearing world we live in, sandwiches tend to get a bad rep. Similar to salads, sandwiches are only unhealthy if the ingredients used are unhealthy! A prime example is Panera’s Steak and White Cheddar Panini served on an Artisan Ciabatta. Cruising in at 910 calories and 41g of fat, this dangerous (yet delicious) creation is seriously lacking in nutrition. The ciabatta roll is made from regular old flour, meaning it contains minimal fiber, vitamins, or nutrients. Both steak and cheddar cheese are notoriously high in saturated fat, leading to nothing but excess fat storage, clogged arteries, and increased cholesterol. So, which sandwiches make the grade? Check out the chart below!
The Bottom Line
Of the endless quick-service restaurants, we can confidently say that Panera Bread is one of the best. Staying on track is easy when you're given healthy options across the board, and the option to create combos of soup, sandwiches, and salads. Next time you're in the market for a quick bite, look no further than Panera!
Want to read more about your favorite restaurants? Read about Chipotle, Panera, Starbucks, and more, here!
Nutrition information for Panera Bread can be found here
Nutrition information for Applebee's can be found here