Are you a Panera Bread fan? I certainly am! Find out my tips for What to Order at Panera When Trying to Lose Weight.
Panera Bread is my favorite casual dining restaurant for the delicious, nutritious food and ideal “working lunch” environment. I’ve been known to park myself there for a few hours in a local Panera Bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy the Free WiFi and drink refills while working. Like any restaurant, some items are more waistline-friendly than others, check out my picks for What to Order at Panera When Trying to Lose Weight.
Ordering at Panera is made easier by the calorie counts posted directly on the menu for both smaller and larger sizes of each item. Fantastic! Here are a few suggestions from each menu category:
- Steel Cut Oatmeal with Almonds, Quinoa and Honey – 300 calories, 8g protein
- Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries – 300 calories, 13g protein
- Medium SuperFruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt – 230 calories, 11g protein
- Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Power Sandwich- 340 calories, 23g protein
I typically recommend around 300 calories for breakfast for my weight management clients and there are several tasty items available at Panera that fit the bill. An honorable mention goes to the Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Power Sandwich for its impressive protein content.
- Bowl: Turkey Chili – 260 calories, 17g protein
- Bowl: Low Fat Chicken Noodle Soup – 160 calories, 14g protein
These values are for the 1 ½ cup serving or “bowl size”. The cup size comes in the You-Pick-Two combos and will contain 1/3 fewer calories.
- Greek Salad – 400 calories, 5g protein (vegetarian)
- Seasonal Greens Salad – 180 calories, 4g protein (vegetarian)
- Ancient Grain and Arugula Salad with Chicken – 400 calories, 32g protein
- Asian Sesame Chicken Salad – 410 calories, 32g protein
All the Panera salads are delicious and satisfying. The lower calorie options are highlighted above, without including the side like an apple or sprouted whole grain roll with 170 calories and 6g protein.
- Roasted Turkey Cranberry Flatbread – 310 calories, 11g protein
- Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread – 350 calories, 11g protein (vegetarian)
Most of the whole sandwiches are a bit too high in calories for my taste, however, the You-Pick-Two is a great option if you love sandwiches because you can enjoy ½ paired with a lower calorie ½ salad or soup for a meal total that’s more manageable. ½ turkey sandwich on whole grain bread = 280 calories, 11g protein and ½ Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich on Tomato Basil Bread = 220 calories, 9g protein.
- Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea- 0 calories
I love that Panera posts the calories and sugar content right at the beverage station. While the Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea is my favorite with zero calories, the Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresca is a lower sugar option with 100 calories in 20 ounces. My trick is to mix that with black tea to create a low-calorie option or add water or seltzer to the Prickly Pear for a bit of sweet with few calories.
Are you a Panera Bread fan? I certainly am! Find out my tips for What to Order at @panerabread When Trying to Lose Weight. https://wp.me/p4LsrV-VY Click To Tweet
As someone who loves a variety of foods in each meal, the You-Pick-Two option is my favorite!
The Panera website features a tool allowing consumers to mix and match menu items to create a meal totaling less than 600 calories (without the side). I aim for between 400-500 and there are SO many delicious combinations available that meet my criteria 🙂 Of course, those looking to simply make healthier choices without paying attention to calories can choose any combo that’s packed with produce. I recommend making sure you pick at least one veggie heavy item like a salad or veggie based sandwich. Choosing the apple as a side adds more produce as well.
- Cup of Turkey Chili with 1/2 Mediterranean Sandwich and an apple: 470 calories
- Cup of Turkey Chili with a 1/2 Greek Salad and an apple: 450 calories
- Cup of Low-fat Chicken Noodle Soup with a Roasted Turkey Cranberry Flatbread and an apple: 500 calories
- Cup of Black Bean Soup with 1/2 Ancient Grain and Arugula Salad with Chicken and an apple: 370 calories
Panera Bread’s Nutrition Information for the full menu is available on the website, and I really like that they break down each item by size and even add in nutrient info for the salad dressings! https://www.panerabread.com/content/dam/panerabread/documents/nutrition/Panera-Nutrition.pdf
Make sure to visit Panera throughout the year! The menu changes seasonally and the summer items are amazing! The Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken is my favorite and the Watermelon Salad with Farro, Feta and Mint is so refreshing on a hot summer day.
If you love Panera’s products and wish you could have them at home on a regular basis, you are in luck. Now you can find Panera At Home soups, mac and cheese, salad dressings, bread and coffee in your supermarket. I LOVE the Poppyseed and Tangerine Honey salad dressings. Check out all 48 products here: https://www.paneraathome.com/products?page=1
What’s your favorite order at Panera? Please share in the comments below!
Disclosure: From time to time I attend media events hosted by Panera Bread and I have received sample products in the past. I was NOT compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own.