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 280/570 cal” — this could be found right after a salad, indicating that the small bowl is 280 calories, while a medium is 570.
- “SF,” “EF,” or “GF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (soy free, egg free, gluten free)
- “low sod” — your food or drink has a low amount of sodium 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 Bagels & Spreads
- Find and click on “Chocolate Chip Bagel.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per bagel):
- 380 calories
For a bagel, this is probably medium or low A unit commonly used to measure the amount of energy that is... More, but it depends on the person and context.
- 6 grams of fat, 3 of which are saturated, 0 grams trans fat
Bread is mostly carbs, but the higher calorie desserts have more fat. Thankfully no trans fat here.
- 5mg of cholesterol, and 410mg of sodium
This does have some sodium in it, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
A tiny bit of cholesterol. This can pop up in bread products.
- 68g of carbs, 2 of which are fiber, and 13 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
Not a great sugar to fiber ratio in my opinion.
- 11g protein
More protein than most cupcakes, doughnuts, or bread products, but still not a whole lot.
- Lastly, 0% of the DV for Vitamin A, 0% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 20% of your Iron
An OK source of iron.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 14% fat, 74% carbs, 12% 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):
- Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour
- Malted Barley Flour
- "[Iron] prepared by reacting ground ferric oxide with hydrog... More
- Thiamine Mononitrate
- Folic Acid
- Milk Chocolate Drops
- Whole Milk
- Chocolate Liquor
- Cocoa Butter
- Milk Fat
- Soy "Food grade lecithin is a complex mixture of substances deri... More [An Emulsifier]
- Brown Sugar
- Dough Improver
- Malted Wheat Flour
- Wheat Flour
- Inactivated Yeast
- Acerola Extract
- Fungal Enzymes
- "A mixture of partial stearic and palmitic acid esters of s... More
- Another name for vitamin c.
Contains milk, soy, and wheat.
- Not outstanding in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least.
- No trans fats.
- The macros are mostly carbs.
- Some fiber, but not enough protein in my opinion (although there is a good amount of protein as far bread products are concerned).
- A bit of cholesterol and a moderate amount of sodium.
- There are 25 ingredients.
- The sources of carbs and fat are pretty good, better than most desserts or junk food.
- 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!