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 240/560 cal” — this could be found right after a salad, indicating that the small bowl is 240 calories, while a medium is 560.
- “V,” “DF,” or “GF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)
- “high fib” — your food or drink has a high amount of fiber 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 “French Croissant.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per pastry):
- 310 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.
- 18 grams of fat, 11 of which is saturated, 0 grams trans fat
Bread is mostly carbs, but the higher calorie deserts have more fat.
- 60mg of cholesterol, and 260mg 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.
- 32g of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, and 7 of which is sugar
Not a good sugar to fiber ratio.
- 6g protein
Most deserts are high sugar and high fat, not much in the way of protein.
- Lastly, 0% of the DV for Vitamin A, 8% of your daily Vitamin C, 2% for Calcium, and 10% of your Iron
An OK source of these four Something we need in very small amounts to stay alive. The e... More. Unfortunately we do not know the levels of any other vitamin or mineral in this pastry.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not grams): 52% fat, 40% carbs, 8% protein.
See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?
Our ingredients (to avoid confusion, I indented ingredients that composed other ingredients, and did not highlight some ingredients to avoid repetition):
- Butter Croissant
- Enriched Wheat Flour
- Wheat Flour
- Malted Barley Flour
- "[Iron] prepared by reacting ground ferric oxide with hydrog... More
- Thiamine Mononitrate
- Folic Acid
- Butter (pasteurized cream)
- Whole Eggs
- Wheat Gluten
- Another name for vitamin c. (dough conditioner)
- Microcrystalline Cellulose is a compound that gives plant cells their rigidit... More
- Corn Starch
- Enriched Wheat Flour
- Egg Wash
- Whole Eggs
- Egg Yolk
- Dried Egg Whites
Contains egg, milk, and wheat.
- Alright in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least.
- No trans fats.
- The macros are mostly fats.
- There are 20 ingredients.
- Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid are all micronutrients.
- "A mixture of partial stearic and palmitic acid esters of s... More is an emulsifier.
- Ascorbic Acid is a preservative.
- Microcrystalline Cellulose is a kind of fiber-y thickener.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!