Panera Bread recently announced that they’re ditching all of the artificial stuff from the food they serve, and leaving behind just real, actual food. It’s a great step in the right direction, and one that folks like me who want to eat healthy, but still end up eating out a lot more than they’d like, can appreciate. Add to that the fact that Panera recently compiled a list of low-calorie menu items– and you can see why they remain one of my favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat.
If you’re trying eat clean and healthy, look for the Clean Pairings Menu, which they have conveniently printed on a take-it-with-you card. If you’re on a 2,000 calories-a-day diet, they figure 500 calories for lunch or dinner is probably a good target, and they’ve set up the menu to help you navigate the calorie count. You can choose from a very sensible 80 calorie half-portion of a classic salad and a Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread, and stay under 400 calories (not including salad dressing).
I haven’t tried everything on the menu, but my favorites so far are the cup of Broccoli Cheddar soup (230) and the Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread (310). While the Clean Pairings Menu encourages you to pick two items to make up your 500 calories, I’m trying to stick to 300 or so calories per meal through the Health Dare program I’m on, so I only pick one item, along with an apple rather than the chips or bread that come with it.
Using the Panera app makes it even easier to grab and go. A few weeks ago I was painting a few bedrooms for a friend, and wanted to grab something to eat quickly and get back to painting. I ordered and paid for my food through the app, including a non-fat Chai Tea latte, and by the time I got to the restaurant, it was there on the pick-up shelf ready to go.
Never assume that because you’re on the go, that you can’t eat healthy. There are healthy choices everywhere you look, and the major chains are continually looking for new foods that will lure us busy-but-healthy Not-So-Fit Folks to their drive-thrus!
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