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 340/540 cal” — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small bowl is 340 calories, while a regular is 540.
- “SF,” “GF,” or “DF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)
- “low sug” — your food or drink has a low amount of sugar 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 “Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per bowl):
- 530 calories
This is a 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.
- 43 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated, 0 grams of trans fat
Many salads are predominantly carbs, but here the oil and olives contribute to the fat content. Thankfully no (or a negligible amount of) fat has been partially hydrogenated.
- 15mg of cholesterol and 870mg of sodium
This is so-so in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is little cholesterol, as is common in plant-based foods.
- 27g of carbs, 7 of which are fiber, and 4 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
A good sugar to fiber ratio in my opinion.
- 12g protein
Not great, in my opinion.
- Lastly, 110% of the DV for Vitamin A, 110% of your daily Vitamin C, 20% for Calcium, and 15% of your Iron
A great source of vitamins a and c.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 73% fat, 18% carbs, 9% 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
- Quinoa Sofrito Tomato Blend
- Organic Quinoa
- Organic Golden Quinoa
- Organic Red Quinoa
- Sea Salt
- Glucono Delta Lactone
- Roasted Tomato Sofrito Blend
- Canola Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Dried Garlic
- Organic Quinoa
- Greek Dressing
- Soybean Oil
- Distilled Vinegar
- Olive Pomace Oil
- Cider Vinegar
- Organic Gum Blend
- Organic Gum Acacia And Organic Guar Gum
- "The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
- Dehydrated Garlic
- Black Pepper
- Lemon Juice Concentrate
- Dehydrated Tarragon
- Dehydrated Oregano
- "Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
- Dehydrated Parsley
- Dehydrated Rosemary
- Dehydrated Thyme
- Dehydrated Bay Leaves
- Feta Cheese
- Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk
- Cheese This refers to a culture of cells- keeping things like yeast... More
- Microbial & Animal Enzymes
- Toasted Almonds
- Kalmata Olives
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Sea Salt
Contains milk and tree nuts.
- Good in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least: it contains 100% of one’s daily vitamin a and c.
- No trans fats.
- The most common macro is lipids
- Good on the fiber and sugar but not great on the protein.
- Some cholesterol and OK in sodium.
- There are 41 unique ingredients (considering gum acacia and guar gum separately)
- The fat sources are good.
- The sources of carbs are good.
- There are no “flavors” added.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!