Panera Bread is all the rage. With more than 700 locations and another 155 on the way in 2005, this impressive chain is quickly gaining popularity. But what's all the fuss about? Hungry Girl is here with some of her favorite food finds from Panera.
"Two" Good to Be True
The best thing Panera offers is their "Pick Any Two" option. That basically means you mix and match any two half-sandwiches, half salads, soups or a fruit cup to create your own meal. Here are some of my favorites, and for the purposes of this review, all of the nutritional info is for the "pick any two" sizes.
Asian Chicken Salad
Half Size, No Dressing: 160 calories, 5.5 grams fat, 14.5 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 1 gram fiber
This salad is a mix of romaine lettuce, chicken breast, sesame seeds, thinly sliced roasted almonds and crispy noodles. It's excellent. The chicken is awesome, the lettuce is fresh, and the almonds aren't salted (an added bonus). I love this salad, but I recommend ditching the crispy noodles (you don't really need them). The dressing that comes with this salad (like most of Panera's dressings) is very high in fat and calories. At 100 calories and 4 grams of fat per ounce, I say avoid it, and go for the sugar-free poppyseed dressing (sweet, Asian-inspired), which is a great swap!
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Half Size, No Dressing: 180 calories, 6.5 grams fat, 11 grams carbs, 19 grams protein, 1.5 grams fiber
This salad consists of romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan (sooo yummy), hunks of tender chicken breast and homemade croutons. Make sure you order dressing on the side, and dip sparingly. The Caesar dressing has 100 calories and 10.5 grams fat for one ounce, and if you dip carefully, you can get away with using only half of a one-once container. The salad is so flavorful that you don't really even need the dressing, but use a little of it as an extra treat! Panera also serves a regular Caesar salad without chicken. (It contains 70 fewer calories for the half size.)
Half Size, No Dressing: 115 calories, 8 grams fat, 7.5 grams carbs, 4.5 grams protein, 2.5 grams fiber
This salad is a combo of lettuce, fresh tomatoes, red onion, olives and feta cheese. It's fantastic, and makes a great side salad. The thing you need to watch out for is the Greek dressing. One measly ounce of it has 145 calories and 16 grams of fat! Use either the Fat-Free Poppyseed, or the Fat-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette.
5 ounces: 70 calories, 0 grams fat, 19 grams carbs, 1 gram protein, 1 gram fiber (1 Weight Watchers point)
This fruit cup is a perfect mix of red grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew. All the fruit is really fresh, too. And five ounces is the perfect size!