Men’s Health – Panera Bread has built its reputation on offering health-conscious fare to its customers.
In 2004, Panera was the first chain to use antibiotic-free chicken. Ten years later, Panera targeted 96 ingredients on its menus to blacklist by 2016. Today it showcases a menu free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavors, and colors.
And its succeeded. As of 2018, Panera had become the 11th-largest chain in America in terms of sales, and its competitors—from McDonald’s to Wendy’s—were copycatting its menu.
But for every “clean” salad, there’s a bread bowl filled with mac ‘n’ cheese waiting to derail your diet.
There are delicious, high-fiber, high-protein options. And then there are, well, clunkers …
Here’s how you should order if you want healthy food at Panera Bread.
Look for unsweetened teas.
Ignore the health halos that hover over most of Panera’s beverages. Every smoothie has at least 29 grams of sugar and not enough fiber to help blunt blood-sugar-spiking effects.
Some of its other drinks are culprits, too. A large Passion Papaya Green Tea has 31 grams of sugar.
A large Blood Orange Lemonade has 63—about as much as a 20 oz Dr Pepper.
If you need something to drink, the unsweetened brewed iced tea and the Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea are zero calorie.
Avoid the muffins.
Muffins aren’t good picks anywhere, even if they have “clean” ingredients.
Case in point: Panera’s Cranberry Orange Muffin, which has 480 calories and 71 grams of carbs, 40 of which are sugar, and only 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.
Instead, order the Avocado, Egg White & Spinach on Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat, which has 21 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and only 5 grams of sugar—all for 410 calories.
Fight dessert with soup.
Pastries and double fudge brownies tempt those left unsatisfied, so better to fill up on fiber. Order an apple (4 grams of fiber), banana (3), or sprouted grain roll (3) as your side … Read more.