Cuban Black Bean
8 ounces: 210 calories, 5 grams fat, 28 grams carbs, 11 grams fiber, 13 grams protein
This is one of Panera's newer soups and one of the best I've ever tasted. It's so thick that it's almost chili-ish in its consistency. Panera describes it as "plump black beans and earthy petite lentils simmered with pork carnitas and ground chiles in a garlic-scented tomato broth spiked with chipotle, scallions, dry sherry and fresh squeezed lime juice." We couldn't have put it any better ourselves. This soup completely rocks! And it even has 11 grams of fiber. Wow!
French Onion -- No Cheese or Croutons
8 ounces: 80 calories, 3 grams fat, 12 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 2 grams fiber
Hooray! I applaud this soup (with very loud clapping). It's sweet, delicious and the most calorie-friendly soup of all.
Low-Fat Chicken Noodle
8 ounces: 100 calories, 2 grams fat, 15 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber, 5 grams protein
This soup actually tastes homemade. There are big chunks of white meat chicken, carrots and egg noodles floating around this light, yummy, herbed broth.
Most of Panera's sandwiches are very high in fat and calories. They've got lots of cheeses, mayo and other questionable items piled on 'em that can make the calorie counts soar. If you want a half-sandwich for one of your "Pick Any Two" options, we say go for the smoked turkey on either Sourdough, Artisan County Miche, Artisan French Miche, Artisan Stone-Milled Rye Miche or Artisan Sesame Semolina Miche breads. That half sandwich (sans mayo!) will run you about 200 to 250 calories and 2 grams of fat (4 to 5 Weight Watcher points). Not too bad! Their low-carb breads are smaller and not quite as good (I'm not a fan of low-carb breads in general), though if you are really watching carbs, you might want to give their Pumpkin a whirl. (It has 90 calories, 2.5 grams fat and 9 carbs per slice). My favorite bread item, by far, was Panera's new Artisan Whole Grain Baguette (140 calories, 1 gram fat, 3 grams fiber).
Hungry Girl Heads Ups!
Beware of Panera's Salad Dressings! The one-ounce serving nutritionals are insane enough, but if you order a regular full-size salad, you'll get two ounces of dressing. Many of those tiny containers have more than 300 calories and 25 to 30 grams of fat -- for the dressing alone! Try to stick with the Fat-Free Poppyseed, Sugarless (25 calories for 2 ounces) or the Raspberry Vinaigrette Fat-Free (50 calories for 2 ounces).
Extra HG Warning: Do not be fooled by the Balsamic Vinaigrette, Reduced Sugar dressing. Two ounces of this dressing has 350 calories and 36 grams of fat! That's way more than even their Caesar dressing. Yikes!
Their "Pick Any Two" option is a real winner! Choose fruit and soup, a half salad and soup or a half sandwich and fruit. The choices are endless (okay, they end, but they are plentiful).
You can order full-size salads, too. They're great and still diet-friendly. Just double our nutritionals above.
For more recommendations, go to hungry-girl.com.