The menu at Panera Bread differs from those of other popular casual dining and fast-food establishments. Rather than burgers and fries, you’ll usually find bakery and café fare such as freshly made bread, bagels, and pastries. Panera serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and a few entrées, such as pasta and noodle bowls, in addition to breakfast.
Panera’s portion sizes are enormous, as they are often when dining out, and meals can be rather heavy in calories. You can, however, always share a menu item with a companion or order a half-portion.
It’s also easy to discover healthier selections at Panera because most of the foods are baked or grilled rather than fried. The website also has guidelines for low-fat and low-sodium diets, and a full meal can usually be put together for $10 or less.
“Panera Bread serves a wide range of delectable foods, accommodates dietary allergies, and offers fantastic half-portion portions of menu items. Pair a dish with a dish that balances the dinner out if one dish is lacking in vegetables or fiber, or is excessive in sodium. If you come here frequently, mix up your orders to ensure you get all of the nutrients you need while staying within the daily sodium limit.”
Willow Jarosh, MS, RD (Willow Jarosh, MS, RD) (Willow Jarosh
Getting Around the Menu
Before you go, look up the nutrition information for Panera’s menu online or on the Panera Bread mobile app to help you plan an order that fits within your daily calorie, fat, and other nutrient consumption. When ordering Panera for delivery, you may also acquire an estimate of nutrition data for your customizations by utilizing the online tool.
Panera’s website also has helpful information about common food allergens1 to help you navigate the menu if you have unique dietary needs and preferences, such as a food allergy.
What to Order and What Not to Order at Panera Bread
- The Healthiest Choices
- Option with the Fewest Nutrients
- Avocado, Spinach, and Egg White (Breakfast)
- Brioche with sausage, scrambled egg, and cheese (Breakfast)
- Flat Bagel with Sprouted Grain (Bagels)
- Bagel with Cinnamon Crunch (Bagels)
- Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese (Low-Fat) (Spreads)
- Spreadable Strawberry Fruit (Spreads)
- Loaf of White Whole Grain (Breads)
- Brioche Bun (Breads)
- Soup Cup with Ten Vegetables (Soups)
- Soup with Baked Potatoes in a Bread Bowl (Soups)
- Salad of Seasonal Greens (Salads)
- Salad with Southwest Chili Lime Ranch Chicken (Salads)
- Tomato Basil Mediterranean Vegetables (Sandwiches)
- Avocado Melt with Chipotle Chicken on Black Pepper Focaccia (Sandwiches)
- Bowl of Mediterranean Grains (Warm Bowls)
- Chicken in a Baja Grain Bowl (Warm Bowls)
- Macaroni and Cheese for Kids (Mac)
- Mac & Cheese with Broccoli and Cheddar (Mac)
- Mini Blueberry Muffins (Desserts)
- A cookie from the Kitchen Sink (Desserts)
- San Pellegrino Sparkling Water is sparkling water produced by San Pellegrino (Beverages)
- Chocolate Chip Marshmallows in a Signature Hot Chocolate (Beverages)
- Option with the Most Nutrients
If you’re looking for the healthiest option at Panera Bread, pick the Mediterranean veggie sandwich on tomato basil bread from the restaurant’s renowned sandwich menu.
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On the go breakfast egg sandwiches and wraps, baked egg soufflés with cheese, veggies, and meat, as well as a selection of hearty steel-cut oats and fresh fruit are all available on Panera’s menu. There’s also a full café menu of espresso drinks including lattes, as well as a range of hot and iced coffee and tea.
Sandwich with avocado, egg whites, and spinach
Choose the avocado, egg white, and spinach on a sprouted grain bagel flat sandwich for a protein-packed morning. It has 350 calories, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 39 grams of carbohydrate, 19 grams of protein, and 690 milligrams of sodium.
Brioche with sausage, scrambled egg, and cheese
Meanwhile, 550 calories, 33 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 33 grams of carbohydrate, 29 grams of protein, and 870 milligrams of sodium are contained in the sausage, scrambled egg, and cheese on brioche.
Choose a 35-calorie serving of egg whites instead of entire eggs, which may be up to 100 calories depending on how they’re prepared, to start your day with a protein-packed breakfast with less fat.
Skip the frills like cheese and instead fill up on vegetables for a lower-fat breakfast. Avoid processed breakfast meats like sausage and bacon if you want to reduce the salt content of your egg sandwich. While there are plenty of bread options, stay away from high-carb bagels and rolls for breakfast. Choose a whole-grain wrap or whole-grain bread instead.
Spreads and Bagels
The bakery of Panera Bread has a large range of bagels. Standard flavors such as plain, everything, sesame, and whole grain are available, as well as uncommon ones like chocolate chip, French toast, and cranberry walnut. Even the healthier-sounding bagels, though, are still heavy in calories and carbs—and that’s before you add any kind of spread.
Flat Sprouted Grain Bagel
If you’re searching for a low-calorie, low-carb breakfast, a bagel is unlikely to meet your needs. A plain, everything, sesame, or sprouted grain flat bagel is under 300 calories when eaten as is. The sprouted grain flat bagel has 180 calories, 2 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, and 410 milligrams of sodium.
Bagel with Cinnamon Crunch
The cinnamon crunch bagel has 420 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 82 grams of carbohydrate, 33 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, and 390 milligrams of sodium.
The sweet-sounding bagel options can be rich in sugar in addition to being over 300 calories and high in carbs. Only the chocolate chip and French toast bagels contain more sugar, at 15g. The other popular cinnamon swirl and raisin bagel have 310 calories, only 1.5g fat, 65g carbs, 10g protein, and 12g sugar. The asiago cheese bagel contains 320 calories, 5 grams of fat, 55 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein.
Of course, unless you’re going to eat your bagel plain, keep in mind the calories, fat, and sodium level of whatever you add to it. Even a small amount of butter can quickly add 100 calories to a meal.
Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese (Low-Fat)
Request the reduced-fat garden vegetable cream cheese for the healthiest bagel spread. Two tablespoons of this spread provide 70 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 220 milligrams of salt.
Strawberry Fruit Compote
Two tablespoons of strawberry fruit spread, on the other hand, contain 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 23 grams of carbohydrate, 22 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 0 milligrams of sodium.
Panera’s spreads vary depending on location and availability, although most of the essentials, such as butter, peanut butter, and basic cream cheese, are always available. Bear track of your portions: most spreads have a normal serving size of two teaspoons, so keep in mind that a larger container will contain more than one serving.
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Panera’s claim to fame, as you might imagine from the name, is freshly made bread. There aren’t any low-carb options on the bakery menu, but there are a few possibilities to search for if you’re looking for a base for a healthy sandwich.
Loaf of White Whole Grain
A 2-ounce portion of white whole grain bread contains 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and 240 milligrams of sodium.
Panera’s country rustic, sourdough, tomato basil, and whole-grain bread all have 150 calories or less per serving, while only the whole grain has 26 grams of carbohydrates or less. Whole-grain bread, which adds 6 grams of protein per slice, is another way to boost the protein content of your sandwich.
Brioche is a type of bread that is used to make rolls.
The brioche roll from Panera Bread includes 210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 31 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, and 300 milligrams of salt.
Choose the country rustic, sourdough, or sprouted grain roll for a low-fat alternative, as each slice contains 0g of fat. While a French baguette may be the traditional accompaniment to soup, even Panera’s smallest side order adds 180 calories and 36 grams of carbohydrates to your dinner.
Sweetbreads, like cinnamon raisins or those topped with cheese, are higher in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium than whole-grain selections, just like bagel options.