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 360/560 cal” — this could be found right after a salad, indicating that the medium bowl is 360 calories, while a large is 560.
- “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 Soups
- Find and click on “Turkey Chili.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per Bowl):
- 260 calories
This is more of a snack than a meal.
- 13 grams of fat, 2.5 of which are saturated, 0 grams of trans fat
Soups are mostly carbs, but the turkey contributes to the fat content. Thankfully there is no trans fat.
- 50mg of cholesterol, and 1210mg of sodium
This is high in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is some cholesterol, likely from the turkey.
- 32g of carbs, 16 of which are fiber, and 6 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
A nice sugar to fiber ratio.
- 19g protein (at the time of this post, the website says 59g of protein, but the math adds up to 19, so it is likely a typo)
This is a little low for my liking, but not bad.
- Lastly, 35% of the DV for Vitamin A, 0% of your daily Vitamin C, 15% for Calcium, and 20% of your Iron
An OK source of vitamin a.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 45% fat, 25% carbs, 30% 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]):
- Turkey Chili With Beans
- Turkey Raised Without Antibiotics
- Turkey With Rosemary Extract
- Turkey Dark Meat With Rosemary Extract
- Turkey Broth
- Rice Starch
- Garbanzo Beans
- Tomato Juice
- "Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
- Calcium Chloride
- Tomato Paste
- Kidney Beans
- Green Chilies
- Edamame (Soy)
- Soybean Oil
- Sea Salt
- Dried Pasilla Negro And Ancho Chilies
- Tomato Concentrate
- Brown Sugar
- This term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Yeast Extract
- Onion Powder
- Lime Juice Concentrate
- "The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
- Citric Acid
- Not outstanding in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least, but it does have about 7/20 of your daily vitamin a.
- No trans fats.
- The most common macro is carbohydrates
- Great on the fiber and sugar but not enough protein.
- Some cholesterol and high sodium.
- There are 33 unique ingredients.
- The sources of carbs are alright.
- 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!