The healthiest bread at Panera should be easy to find since the actual name of Panera is Panera Bread.
When you walk into a Panera all you see is bread (and cookies and muffins) before you get to order. Because I had posted: Which is the Healthiest Bread at Subway, I thought it would be a good idea to check out Panera.
Panera is famous for soups, salads, and sandwiches and for making fast food that is healthier and fresher than the competition. I have visited to define The Perfect Order at Panera (with Smart Points).
Now, with the advent of touch screen ordering - you know all of your choices when it comes to the bread for your sandwich.
When I visited the store, I didn’t even see a person near the check-out counter. I simply ordered on the screen, grabbed a coffee mug, and waited for my sandwich. I then wondered if I wasted my money paying for the coffee since there was no one to see me grab a mug (but I do not condone stealing).
I do wonder how they know if you paid for your drink but maybe they don’t care?
The healthiest bread you can buy is a 100% whole grain loaf. It should have 4 grams of fiber or more per serving and less than 5 grams of added sugar. You would think that Panera would offer 100% whole grain because it is so popular with the healthy crowd.
I chose the Whole Grain Pan Loaf since it was the only whole grain choice for my sandwich on the screen. Here is the nutritional information for one slice:
130 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, 240 mg sodium, 4 Freestyle SmartPts
One thing you notice right away is the fiber content is lower than it should be. This “whole grain” is not 100% whole grain and none of the breads at Panera are 100% whole grain.
You can tell by just looking at it that it is not a 100% whole grain loaf as it is quite fluffy. My primary bread is a sprouted wheat type so I am not used to fluffy.
But, the bread does well on added sugar. Two grams is great!! My only concern is the sodium which seems really high. Two slices will put 580 mg in your body which is high for bread. Once you add bacon to your sandwich, you are in high salt heaven.
How did it taste? It was okay. I found the consistency a bit gummy and the flavor was bland (even with all that salt).
Go ahead and choose the whole grain option when you are looking for the healthiest bread at Panera.
Panera Breads to Avoid
Do not order a sourdough bread bowl (670 calories and 1160 mg of sodum!), the honey wheat loaf (not whole grain and 4 grams of sugar) or the cinnamon raisin swirl bread (12 grams of sugar per slice!!).
What do you order when you go to Panera? Are you surprised that there is no 100% whole grain option?
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I decided to look for the positive at Panera. Isn’t it better to see the glass as half full?
Which is the healthiest bread at Subway? You would think the answer to that question would be easy.....