In my experience, Panera is the Beyoncé of the ‘fast-casual’ dining world. It is a staple, a haven, a delicious wonderland for so many of us. Like Disneyland for your mouth. The bounty of fresh bread, soups, salads, and cookies tickle any fancy. Not to mention, the word Panera directly translates to ‘bread bowl’—aka a perfectly crafted carbohydrate Jacuzzi filled with broccoli cheddar soup. Its reputation and fandom are unparalleled. With so many people praying at the Church of Panera, I decided to investigate the menu and venture to my local Panera to try and make the most health-conscious order. Eating at your favorite fast food restaurant does not have to mean eating an unhealthy, enormous meal that leaves you bloated and sluggish afterwards. You can enjoy yourself, eat delicious food, and continue to feel great afterwards.
Prior to my Panera adventure, I did my due diligence by looking at the nutrition facts of the Panera menu online to see what my options were. Following our Nutrition Label Decoder, I knew I was looking for a light meal that with low in sugar, and full of healthy fats and protein. I settled on the Greek Salad, as it would provide a great base for the aforementioned healthy fat and protein—which took shape as avocado and chicken.
The Greek Salad had 200 calories, 18 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein, so it checked off all the points on our Nutrition Label needs & wants list. In addition, I ordered the Green Goddess dressing on the side, as dressings are often added in unnecessarily large portions, and can be filled with sugar, unhealthy fat and artificial flavorings. If possible, it is always best to go with a plain balsamic vinegar and olive oil. If you’d rather get another dressing, get it on the side so you can control your portion size!
Follow me in the video below as I adventure to Panera and make healthy choices. Trust me, this is new for me as well, but if I can do it, you can do it. Why not enjoy a treat, while simultaneously nourishing yourself from the inside-out. That’s a win-win, if you ask me.
COVER IMAGE: @panera