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What’s in Panera’s Spicy Thai Salad with Chicken?

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.

Examples:

  • “S/M 340/540 cal”     — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small portion 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)
  • “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.

 

  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu hover over “Menu Items” and select Salads
  3. Find and click on “Spicy Thai Salad with Chicken.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.

 

 

 

Summaries- Nutrition (“whole” serving):

  • 510 calories

This is a light to 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.

 

 

  • 22 grams of fat, 3 of which are saturated, 0 grams of trans fat

Many salads are predominantly carbs, but here the chicken, peanut butter, and oil contribute to the fat content. Thankfully no (or a negligible amount of) fat has been partially hydrogenated.

 

 

  • 80mg of cholesterol and 750mg of sodium

This is so-so in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.

There is some cholesterol, as is common in animal-based ingredients.

 

 

  • 41g of carbs, 8 of which are fiber, and 12 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)

A good sugar to fiber ratio in my opinion.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts

 

 

  • 42g protein

Very good.

 

 

  • Lastly, 50% of the DV for Vitamin A, 50% of your daily Vitamin C, 10% for Calcium, and 30% of your Iron

A good source of vitamins a and c.

 

 

  • 0mg of Caffeine

Dang…

 

 

Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 39% fat, 28% carbs, 33% protein.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?

 

 

 

Summaries- Ingredients:

Our ingredients (to help clarify, I indented ingredients that composed other ingredients, and unique ingredients are blue [or red if a vocab word]):

  1. Romaine Lettuce
  2. Citrus & Pepper Chicken
    1. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets With Rib Meat
    2. Water
    3. Seasoning
      1. Lemon
      2. Mangosteen
      3. NaturalThis term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Smoke Flavor
    4. Sea Salt
    5. Dehydrated Garlic
    6. Dehydrated Onion
    7. Sugar
    8. Dry Lemon Peel
    9. Spices
    10. Dehydrated Rosemary
    11. Dehydrated Basil
    12. Citric Acid"Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
    13. Malic Acid And Paprika For Flavor
    14. Vinegar
    15. Rice Starch
  3. Fire Roasted Edamame Blend
    1. Edamame (Soy)
    2. Carrot
    3. Red Bell Pepper
    4. Oil (Canola And Olive Oil)
    5. Salt
    6. Black Pepper
  4. Thai Chili Vinaigrette Dressing
    1. Water
    2. Rice Vinegar
    3. Sugar
    4. Soy Sauce
      1. Water
      2. Wheat
      3. Soybean
      4. Salt
      5. Alcohol
      6. Distilled Vinegar
      7. Lactic Acid"Lactic acid, the chemical 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, occurs n... More
    5. Lemongrass
    6. Sesame Oil
    7. Corn Starch
    8. Lime Juice Concentrate
    9. Red Chili Pepper
    10. Xanthan Gum"The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
    11. Natural Flavors Of Kaffir Lime Oil And Kimchi
  5. Crispy Wonton Strips
    1. Wheat Flour
    2. Canola Oil
    3. Salt (May Contain Egg)
  6. Roasted Cashew Pieces
    1. Cashews
    2. Vegetable Oil (Peanut, Canola, Sunflower And/Or Soybean Oil)
  7. Peanut Sauce
    1. Peanut Butter
      1. Peanut
      2. Peanut Or Cottonseed Oil
    2. Soy Sauce
      1. Water
      2. Wheat
      3. Soybean
      4. Salt
    3. Water
    4. Brown Sugar
    5. Tamarind Puree
    6. Rice Vinegar
    7. Coconut Cream
    8. Shallots
    9. Molasses
    10. Orange Juice Concentrate
    11. Distilled Vinegar
    12. Chipotle Pepper
    13. Cultured Sugar
    14. Corn Starch
    15. Aged Red Cayenne Pepper
    16. Salt
    17. Sesame Oil
    18. Sugar
    19. Rosemary Extract
    20. Dehydrated Onion
    21. Xanthan Gum
    22. Dehydrated Garlic
  8. Cilantro

Contains peanut, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. May contain egg.

 

 

 

Breakdown:

 

Nutrients

  • Good in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least: it contains 1/2 of one’s daily vitamin a and c.
  • No trans fats.
  • The most common macro is lipids, but there is no 50% majority (or 40% majority).
  • Good on the fiber, sugar, and protein.
  • So-so in cholesterol and sodium.

Ingredients

  • There are 59 unique ingredients and 9 different oils used.
  • Not very allergy-friendly.
  • The fat sources are pretty good.
  • The sources of carbs are OK.
  • There is added sugar and a “flavor” was used.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients

 

Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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