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 portion is 340 calories, while a large is 540.
- “EF,” “GF,” or “DF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (egg-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 “Seasonal Greens Salad.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (“whole” serving):
- 180 calories
This is more of a side or snack.
- 11 grams of fat, 1.5 of which are saturated, 0 grams of trans fat
Many salads are predominantly carbs, but here the vinaigrette contributes to the fat content. Thankfully no (or a negligible amount of) fat has been partially hydrogenated.
- 0mg of cholesterol and 150mg of sodium
This is low in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is no cholesterol, as this is plant-based.
- 20g of carbs, 4 of which are fiber, and 13 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
Not a great sugar to fiber ratio in my opinion.
- 4g protein
Definitely not enough protein.
- Lastly, 100% of the DV for Vitamin A, 100% of your daily Vitamin C, 10% for Calcium, and 10% of your Iron
A great source of vitamins a and c.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 55% fat, 36% 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]):
- Arugula & Radicchio Blend
- Romaine Lettuce
- Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Soybean Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Distilled Vinegar
- Black Pepper
- "The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
- Dehydrated Garlic
- Rosemary Extract
- Red Onion
- Good in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least: it contains all of one’s daily vitamin a and c.
- No trans fats.
- The most common macro is lipids.
- Not great on the fiber, sugar, or protein.
- No cholesterol and low sodium.
- There are 19 unique ingredients.
- The fat sources are pretty good.
- The sources of carbs are OK.
- Sugar, preservatives, and a “flavor” were used.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!