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 “Broccoli Cheddar Soup.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.
Summaries- Nutrition (per bowl):
- 360 calories
This is a light meal, but it depends on the circumstances. If you have already eaten a large breakfast and lunch, and/or have a particularly sluggish metabolism, this may be plenty.
- 21 grams of fat, 13 of which are saturated, 1 gram of trans fat
Most soups are predominantly carbs, but the cheese, butter, oil, chicken, cream, and milk contribute to the fat content. Unfortunately there is some trans fat.
- 55mg of cholesterol and 1130mg of sodium
This is high in sodium, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.
There is some cholesterol, likely from the dairy.
- 30g of carbs, 6 of which are fiber, and 6 of which are sugar (the remaining is starch)
An OK sugar to fiber ratio.
- 14g protein
This is a little low for my liking.
- Lastly, 45% of the DV for Vitamin A, 15% of your daily Vitamin C, 35% for Calcium, and 0% of your Iron
A good source of vitamin a and calcium.
- 0mg of Caffeine
Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not mass): 53% fat, 31% carbs, 16% 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]):
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Water (Filtered)
- Whole Milk
- Vitamin D3
- Pasteurized Processed Cheddar Cheese Food
- Cheddar Cheese
- Pasteurized Milk
- Cheese This refers to a culture of cells- keeping things like yeast... More
- Animal Enzymes
- Whey Protein Concentrate
- Skim Milk
- Sodium Citrate
- "Lactic acid, the chemical 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, occurs n... More
- Oleoresin Paprika (Color)
- Annatto (Color)
- Cheddar Cheese
- Whipping Cream
- Corn Starch
- Chicken Base
- Chicken Meat Including Chicken Juices
- Chicken Fat
- Yeast Extract
- Potato Flour
- Carrot Powder
- Wheat Flour
- White Pepper
- Not More Than 2% Canola Oil Added To Aid Processing
- Salted Butter
- Dijon Mustard
- Mustard Seed
- Red Pepper
- Pepper Sauce
- Distilled Vinegar
- Red Pepper
Contains milk and wheat.
- OK in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least: almost half your daily vitamin a, and more than 1/3 of the calcium you need in a day.
- Some trans fats.
- The most common macro is lipids
- Good on the fiber and sugar but not enough protein.
- Some cholesterol and high sodium.
- There are 38 unique ingredients.
- The fat sources are not the best.
- The sources of carbs are OK.
- There is “flavoring” added.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.
Thanks for reading!