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 350/550 cal” — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small portion is 350 calories, while a regular is 550.
- “SF,” “GF,” or “DF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-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 Salads
- Find and click on “Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per bowl):
- 410 calories
This is a light to medium-sized meal, but it depends on the circumstances. If your other meals were/will be larger, and/or you have a particularly sluggish metabolism, this may be plenty.
- 21 grams of fat, 3 of which are saturated, 0 grams of trans fat
Many salads are predominantly carbs, but here the chicken and oil contribute to the fat content. Thankfully no (or a negligible amount of) fat has been partially hydrogenated.
- 80mg of cholesterol and 540mg of sodium
This is so-so in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is some cholesterol, as is common in animal-based ingredients.
- 25g of carbs, 4 of which are fiber, and 5 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
A good sugar to fiber ratio in my opinion.
- 32g protein
- Lastly, 50% of the DV for Vitamin A, 40% of your daily Vitamin C, 8% for Calcium, and 15% of your Iron
A good source of vitamins a and c.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 46% fat, 23% carbs, 31% protein.
See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?
Our ingredients (to help clarify, I indented ingredients that composed other ingredients, and unique ingredients are blue [or red if a vocab word]):
- Romaine Lettuce
- Citrus & Pepper Chicken
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets With Rib Meat
- This term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Smoke Flavor
- Sea Salt
- Dehydrated Garlic
- Dehydrated Onion
- Dry Lemon Peel
- Dehydrated Rosemary
- Dehydrated Basil
- "Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
- Malic Acid And Paprika For Flavor
- Rice Starch
- Asian Sesame Vinaigrette Dressing
- Distilled Vinegar
- Soybean Oil
- Sesame Oil
- "The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
- Rebaudioside A (A Non-Nutritive Sweetener From Stevia)
- Rosemary Extract
- Black Pepper
- Dehydrated Onion
- Dehydrated Parsley
- Crispy Wonton Strips
- Wheat Flour
- Canola Oil
- Salt (May Contain Egg)
- Toasted Almonds
- Sesame Seeds
Contains tree nuts and wheat. May contain egg.
- Good in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least: it contains 1/2 of one’s daily vitamin a and over 1/3 for vitamin c.
- No trans fats.
- The most common macro is lipids, but there is no 50% majority.
- Good on the fiber, sugar, and protein.
- So-so in cholesterol and sodium.
- There are 33 unique ingredients.
- The fat sources are pretty good.
- The sources of carbs are OK.
- There are no “flavors” added, but there is a sweetener, Reb A.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!