Panera Bread is a national sandwich chain that’s known for their fresh sandwiches, soups, and baked goods.
They’re also known for high calorie sandwiches loaded with refined carbs, fat, and salt. In fact, some of their sandwiches have close to 1,000 calories and a day’s worth of sodium.
For a restaurant that has a reputation for fresh food and (supposedly) high nutrition standards, that’s quite excessive if you ask me.
Let’s have a look at some of the stuff you want to stay away from on Panera’s menu.
Avoid These Unhealthy Menu Options at Panera
This is just a small sample of Panera’s unhealthy dishes. In general, I recommend avoiding most of their whole sandwiches, soups, and breakfast sandwiches.
- Full Italian Combo on Ciabatta: 980 calories, 41 grams of fat (15 saturated), 95 grams of carbs, 2620 milligrams of sodium (more than a day’s worth!)
- Full Sierra Turkey on Focaccia with Asiago Cheese: 920 calories, 49 grams of fat (12 saturated, 1 trans), 79 grams of carbs, 1900 milligrams of sodium
- Signature Mac & Cheese – Large: 980 calories, 61 grams of fat (26 saturated, 1 trans), 75 grams of carbs, 2470 milligrams of sodium
- Full Steak & White Cheddar on French Baguette: 970 calories, 33 grams of fat (13 saturated, 1 trans), 111 grams of carbs, 1820 milligrams of sodium
- Sourdough Soup Bowl (just the bread with no soup): 590 calories, 118 grams of carbs, 1210 milligrams of sodium
- Chopped Steak & Blue Cheese Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing: 970 calories, 73 grams of fat (19 saturated, 1 trans), 38 grams of carbs, 1510 milligrams of sodium
Healthy Menu Options
Panera has become popular from last years in providing some real quality nutrition. Now they are offering apple or some baked chips for you to consume as a healthy option for meal. They also have organic yogurt and whole grain bread (which you should also opt for). Still, their menu has some really dangerous choices that are loaded with calories, unhealthy carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, so choose wisely.
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I would suggest you to try their pick number 2 for a healthier option having half sandwich and salad. Choosing whole grain bread and ditching the cheese and sauces will save you lots of calories on many of Panera’s dishes. Here are my top picks:
My Top Picks
- Half Napa Almond Chicken Salad on Sesame Semolina: 340 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 45 g carbs, 15 g protein, 600 mg sodium
- Half Mediterranean Veggie on Tomato Basil: 300 calories, 6g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 48 g carbs, 11 g protein, 700 mg sodium
- Half Tuna Salad on Honey Wheat: 250 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 33 g carbs, 14 g protein, 580 mg sodium
- Half Smoked Turkey Breast on Country Wheat: 210 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 33 g carbs, 16 g protein, 820 mg sodium
- Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup (You Pick 2): 80 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 960 mg sodium
- Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (You Pick 2): 170 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 880 mg sodium
- Low Fat Garden Vegetable Soup (You Pick 2): 100 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 620 mg sodium
- Half Classic Café Salad (with Reduced Fat Balsamic dressing): 210 calories, 15 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 380 mg sodium
Click here to see the complete calories burning Nutrition Chart
Checkout some healthy food trends:
Bottom Line: If you stick to the “You Pick Two” combos and pick a half sandwich and soup or salad from the list above, you’re getting a decent balance of protein, carbs, and fat. However, Panera Bread still has some work to do to get rid of the exorbitant amount of calories, carbs, fat, and sodium plaguing many of its’ soups and sandwiches.