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,” “GF,” or “DF” — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (soy-free, gluten-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 “Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per Bowl):
- 260 calories
This is more of a snack than a meal.
- 16 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated, 0.5 a gram of trans fat
Most soups are predominantly carbs, but the chicken, butter, cream, and milk contribute to the fat content. Unfortunately there is some trans fat.
- 35mg of cholesterol, and 1390mg of sodium
This is high in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is some cholesterol, likely from the chicken and dairy.
- 27g of carbs, 5 of which are fiber, and 2 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
A great sugar to fiber ratio.
- 10g protein
This is a little low for my liking.
- Lastly, 15% of the DV for Vitamin A, 0% of your daily Vitamin C, 8% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
Not high in much, from what we can see at least.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 55% fat, 30% carbs, 15% 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]):
- Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- White Meat Chicken
- White Meat Chicken
- Chicken Broth
- Rice Starch
- Wild Rice
- Wheat Flour
- Sea Salt
- Chicken Stock And Flavor
- Soybean Oil
- Chicken Fat
- Onion Powder
- Spices, including
Contains milk and wheat.
- Not outstanding in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least, but it does have about 3/20 of your daily vitamin a.
- Some trans fats.
- The most common macro is lipids
- Great on the fiber and sugar but not enough protein.
- Some cholesterol and high sodium.
- There are 24 unique ingredients.
- The sources of carbs are alright.
- There is a “flavor” added.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!