In this series, “Eating out: What’s in it?” we will be going over how you can figure out for yourself if something is unhealthy. Today we are taking a trip to Panera Bread.
1. Check the menu
In more and more urban and developed cities, some nutrition information is being publicly displayed on the menu. Look for numbers or symbols next to the menu item.
- “S/M 250/550 cal” — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small bowl is 250 calories, while a medium is 550.
- “V,” “SF,” or “GF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (vegan, soy free, gluten free)
- “high prot” — your food or drink has a high amount of protein per serving
These indicators are convenient and effective ways of narrowing down choices.
2. Go online
If you are eating at a chain restaurant, you can almost guarantee they will have the nutritional info on their websites. Some even have ingredients, and most include a common allergen guide.
In this case we have an extensive amount of information online for all of Panera Bread’s products.
- Go to their website
- On the main menu hover over “Menu Items” and select Pastries & Sweets
- Find and click on “Apple Crunch Muffin.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per muffin):
- 450 calories
For a dessert, this is low or medium A unit commonly used to measure the amount of energy that is... More, depending on the person.
- 12 grams of fat, 3 of which is saturated, 0 grams trans fat
Bread is mostly carbs, but the higher calorie deserts have more fat. Thankfully no trans fat here.
- 55mg of cholesterol, and 380mg of sodium
This does have some sodium in it, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
A little bit of cholesterol. This does occasionally pop up in bread.
- 80g of carbs, 2 of which is fiber, and 49 of which is sugar (the remaining is starch)
Not a good sugar to fiber ratio.
- 7g protein
Most deserts are high carbs and high fat, with not very much in the way of protein.
- Lastly, 2% of the DV for Vitamin A, 2% of your daily Vitamin C, 8% for Calcium, and 10% of your Iron
An OK source of these 4 Something we need in very small amounts to stay alive. The e... More.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not grams): 24% fat, 70% carbs, 6% protein.
See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?
Our ingredients (to avoid confusion, I indented ingredients that composed other ingredients, and unique ingredients are red [vocab word] or blue):
- Muffin Dough
- Enriched Wheat Flour
- Malted Barley Flour
- "[Iron] prepared by reacting ground ferric oxide with hydrog... More
- Thiamine Mononitrate
- Folic Acid
- Soybean Oil
- Annato Extract (Color)
- Barley Flour
- Brown Sugar
- Butter With This term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Flavor
- Natural Flavor
- Canola Oil
- Cultured Nonfat Milk
- A form of glucose, a basic sugar.
- Corn Starch-Modified
- Natural Buttermilk Flavor
- Natural Caramel Cream Cheese And Vanilla Flavor
- Natural Vanilla Flavor
- Nonfat Milk
- Wheat Flour
- Wheat Starch
- Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- Modified Corn Starch
- Soybean Oil
Contains egg, milk, and wheat. Manufactured on equipment that processes items containing soy.
- Alright in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least.
- No trans fats.
- The macros are mostly carbs.
- Not enough fiber, in my opinion.
- There are 33 ingredients.
- Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid are all micronutrients.
- The sources of fat and sugar are not the best.
- There is some flavoring.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!