Is it healthy to eat Panera Bread

“Is it healthy to eat Panera Bread?” If you are looking for straight forward answer than YES they have heathy options(for the most part).

Is it healthy to eat Panera Bread

Panera Bread is a popular bakery-cafe chain in the USA that offers a variety of dishes, including bread bowls, salads, and soups. some of their menu items are high in sodium, carbs, and calories, that may not be good for your body but there are also plenty of healthy options available.

What Experts Say
“Panera Bread features a wide variety of flavorful dishes, meets food allergy needs, and offers great half portion sizes of menu items. If one dish is lower in veggies or fiber, or higher in sodium, pair it with a dish that balances the meal out. If you eat here regularly, vary your order to help ensure you meet nutrient needs without exceeding daily recommendations for sodium.”
— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD
Via Verywellfit

So let’s discuss what should be best options for you and what you should avoid.

Top 5 healthy option

1. Steak and Arugula Sandwich

For meat lovers, the dream of having steak declared as a health food might just come true, and Panera Bread has a sandwich that strikes a balance between delicious meats and staying healthy.

Let’s dig into the details of this sandwich that has caught the attention of nutritionists. In one serving, you’re looking at around 500 calories, with 19 grams of fats, 870 mg of sodium, 4 grams of fiber, and a whopping 25 grams of proteins.

Now, what makes this sandwich a nutritional delight? First up, the arugula in the mix is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s like a superhero for keeping you healthy, fighting off diseases, and slowing down the aging process. Plus, it’s a natural detoxifier, boosts metabolism, and acts as a strong anti-cancer agent. If that’s not enough, it’s fantastic for prenatal care due to its high folate content.

Now, onto the star of the show – the steak. Despite red meat getting a bad rap in the media, going for unprocessed and hormone-free options brings a bunch of health benefits. It’s loaded with iron, proteins, and zinc, which are key players in maintaining muscle mass and strong bones. Not just that, it also plays a protective role for your brain and heart, while helping to regulate insulin.

What makes this sandwich even better is Panera Bread’s recent move to cut out all processed meats from their menu. With the steak and arugula sandwich, you’re getting the best of both worlds – the goodness of meats and the freshness of greens. It’s a win-win for your taste buds and your health!

2. Lentil quinoa broth bowl with chicken

Panera Bread has a special bowl for all the meat and chicken lovers – a tasty mix of healthy goodness that’s a treat for your body.

Let’s talk about the Quinoa Lentil Broth. First off, the chicken in this dish is antibiotic-free, so you get your animal proteins without worrying about superbugs.

Now, the cool combo of lentils and drug-free chicken gives you a hefty 33 grams of proteins – and it’s toxin-free, which is awesome.

And don’t forget the trio of brown rice, lentils, and quinoa – they add a solid 10 grams of dietary fiber to keep your tummy happy and healthy.

But hold on, there’s more! This tasty soup also throws in some kale and spinach – two greens that everyone loves. Kale is like a superhero with antioxidants and stuff that helps lower cholesterol. And spinach? It’s packed with loads of nutrients like vitamins B6, B9, E, C & K, folic acid, iron, and calcium.

So, next time you’re at Panera, why not try this wholesome and hearty Quinoa Lentil Broth? It’s a delicious and nutritious choice for a bowl full of goodness. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

3. Avocado, egg white, and spinach sandwich

Imagine a breakfast sandwich that’s not just delicious but also super healthy. Picture this: creamy avocados giving you healthy fats, sturdy egg whites for protein, and the green goodness of spinach. It’s like a powerhouse of nutrients to kickstart your day!

Here’s the trick – go for the whole grains bread option when you pick this sandwich. That adds more fiber to your breakfast, making it even better for you.

Now, let’s talk numbers. This humble sandwich packs in 21 grams of proteins and 7 grams of fiber (thanks to spinach and whole grains). What does this mean for you? It means a steady source of energy that keeps you feeling full until lunchtime.

Proteins, healthy fats, and fiber – these are the three amigos that not only keep you satisfied (goodbye hunger pangs!) but also prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar, which can be linked to diabetes.

So, with this simple combo of superfoods, carefully chosen to boost your health and make your taste buds happy, you’re getting a breakfast that’s not just tasty but also loaded with benefits you might not find in your usual breakfast options. It’s a win-win for your taste buds and your well-being!

4. Half Greek Salad with Black Bean Soup

When Panera Bread says “You Pick Two,” it can be tempting to go for the New England Clam Chowder and The Italian on a Hoagie Roll. But wait, one’s loaded with sodium, and the other packs a punch in carbs and calories.

You chose Panera Bread because it’s simple, tasty, and healthy. So, instead of doubling up on sodium, carbs, and calories in one go, how about a smart combo of salad and soup?

Let’s talk about the Greek Salad. It’s not just a fancy name – it’s actually super healthy. Packed with fresh veggies, it has zero trans fats, hardly any saturated fats, low sodium and sugar, and just 200 calories.

Now, let’s dive into the Black Bean Soup. In its low-fat, vegetarian form, it’s a star on the menu. Zero trans fats, no saturated fats or cholesterol, less than 90 calories, a tiny bit of sugar, but lots of fiber. The main player, black beans, is a plant-based protein powerhouse, just like quinoa and oatmeal. They keep you feeling full and away from chronic illnesses and body inflammations in the long run.

So, next time you’re at Panera Bread, why not go for the duo that’s not just tasty but also takes care of your health? It’s a win-win for your taste buds and your well-being!

5. Steel cut oatmeal with almonds, quinoa, and honey

When it comes to oatmeal, you’re usually on the right track. But, hey, is there a catch? Are some oatmeal types better than others? And what’s the deal with quinoa?

Let’s break it down. The healthiest oatmeal you can grab is the steel-cut kind. Why? Well, it keeps most of its original nutrients and gets its name because it’s cut with steel knives, just like rice. Sure, it takes a bit longer to cook compared to the instant ones (those tend to be less healthy with lots of preservatives and sugar), but it’s way up there in the nutrition game.

Now, let’s talk about the buzz around quinoa. This little grain from the Andes is a powerhouse – it’s got amino acids (the building blocks of life), loads of fiber (just like oatmeal), and acts like a superhero antioxidant. Throw in some almonds for healthy fats, fiber, and vitamin E, and add honey for sweetness without the sugar hit.

When you bring all these super-nutritious pals together in your breakfast, you’re getting a bowl packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

So, with this gem on the Panera Bread menu, you’re not just building a healthy gut, you’re also keeping those pesky free radicals at bay and staying full for longer. It’s like a breakfast win for your health!

What you should avoid unless it’s your Cheat Day

Watch out! Some Panera Bread meals may surprise you with more calories than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger! Take the Sierra Turkey on Asiago cheese focaccia or the tomato and mozzarella on ciabatta bread – they’re stealthy high-calorie culprits.

Even seemingly healthy salads can be tricky. While they may look fresh and green, some pack more sodium than you should have in a whole day. The Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, Chicken Noodle Soup, and Green Goddess Cobb Salad might not be as innocent as they seem.

And let’s not forget the bagels, soufflés, pastries, and sweets – they can be hiding loads of sugar and artery-clogging fats. Oh, and certain breakfast sandwiches aren’t innocent either.

To make things sneakier, adding dips and extra cheese can load up your meals with trans fats, saturated fats, and sodium. So, next time you’re at Panera, keep an eye out for these undercover calorie and sodium agents!

Factors you should consider before choosing any menu option

Panera Bread offers a variety of menu options, and whether it is considered healthy depends on the specific choices you make. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Menu Variety:
    Panera Bread provides a range of options, including salads, soups, sandwiches, and bakery items. Opting for a menu item that includes a balance of lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables is generally a healthier choice.
  2. Nutritional Information:
    Many restaurants, including Panera Bread, provide nutritional information for their menu items. Checking this information can help you make informed choices, considering factors such as calories, fat, protein, and fiber content.
  3. Whole Ingredients:
    Look for options that incorporate whole, minimally processed ingredients. For example, whole-grain bread, fresh vegetables, and lean proteins can contribute to a healthier meal.
  4. Portion Control:
    Pay attention to portion sizes. Even if a menu item is generally healthy, consuming excessive portions can contribute to overeating. Consider sharing a larger dish or saving part of it for later.
  5. Beverage Choices:
    Be mindful of beverage choices. Sugary drinks can add unnecessary calories and contribute to increased sugar intake. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or other low-calorie beverages.
  6. Customization:
    Many restaurants, including Panera Bread, allow customization of menu items. Take advantage of this by modifying dishes to suit your dietary preferences and requirements. For example, you can request changes to reduce added sugars or modify toppings.
  7. Dietary Restrictions:
    Panera Bread also offers options for individuals with specific dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or vegan choices. These can be healthier alternatives for those with particular dietary needs.
  8. Limiting Highly Processed Items:
    Some menu items may be higher in sodium, additives, or preservatives. Choosing meals with fewer highly processed components can contribute to a healthier overall diet.

In summary, whether Panera Bread is a healthy choice depends on your specific food selections. By focusing on whole, nutrient-dense ingredients and being mindful of portion sizes, you can make nutritious choices when dining at Panera or any other restaurant.
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