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 270/570 cal” — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the medium bowl is 380 calories, while a large is 680.
- “SF,” “EF,” or “DF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (soy free, egg free, dairy free)
- “low chol” — your food or drink has a low amount of cholesterol 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 Breakfast
- Find and click on “Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries & Pecans.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per bowl):
- 340 calories
For a full meal, this is low A unit commonly used to measure the amount of energy that is... More, but it depends on the person and context. If you eat a larger lunch and dinner or are metabolically sluggish, this could be plenty.
- 14 grams of fat, 2 of which are saturated, 0 grams of trans fat
Oats are mostly carbs, but the oil and nuts contribute to the fat content. Thankfully there is no trans fat.
- 0mg of cholesterol, and 160mg of sodium
This is low sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is no cholesterol, as this is entirely plant-based.
- 51g of carbs, 9 of which are fiber, and 16 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
Not the best sugar to fiber ratio in my opinion.
- 6g protein
A little low protein for my liking.
- Lastly, 0% of the DV for Vitamin A, 35% of your daily Vitamin C, 6% for Calcium, and 15% of your Iron
A good source of vitamin c.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 37% fat, 56% carbs, 7% 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]):
- Steel Cut Oatmeal
- Cooked Organic Steel Cut Oat Groats (May Contain Traces Of Wheat And Mustard)
- Fresh Strawberries
- Oil Roasted Pecans
- Cottonseed Oil
- Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- Modified Corn Starch
- Soybean Oil
Contains tree nuts. May contain wheat.
- Not outstanding in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least, but it does have over 1/3 of your daily vitamin c (the strawberries).
- No trans fats.
- The most common macro is carbohydrates
- Alright on the fiber, but too much sugar and not enough protein.
- No cholesterol and low sodium.
- There are 10 unique ingredients.
- The sources of carbs are alright.
- There are no “flavors” added, but there is sugar and some salt.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!