Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eating out: Panera Bread

Since we seem to eat out at least once a week--usually at our beloved Cheetah--I thought I'd start posting a summary (and pics, if I remembered the camera) of what I'm eating on those days. It isn't fair for you to think that I'm *not* eating out, so why not show you how I try to keep it clean? I've added an "eating out" tag to the list on the right for easy reference.

Today the little guy and I had lunch with one of my college profs/mentors at Panera. We have a standing monthly lunch date with "Grandma Judy" here, and I try not to order the same thing twice. Am I the only one who does that? Even at our usual place, I hesitate to try something I've already had. There's just so much I want to taste! I'm a big fan of soup-salad-sandwich combinations for this reason. If you'll recall, I did the same thing at my birthday lunch on Monday.

Looking at the menu ahead of time is key if you're trying to stay on any kind of healthy-eating track, whether that track is clean, Weight Watchers, vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. It's good to know what you're up against. It's also good to have a backup plan in case they tell you your planned meal is unavailable. This morning I took a peek at the menu and took advantage of the handy nutrition calculator tool. Very helpful, and eye-opening, if you weren't aware of just HOW much sodium Panera packs into those "healthy" meals!

I decided on a "You Pick Two" combination of vegetable soup (no pesto, to avoid unnecessary sodium) and half of a Fuji apple chicken salad (no onions--personal preference) with dressing on the side. My side item was an apple, which I bought home for an afternoon snack. I left there feeling satisfied, pleased with my choices and sticking to my plan, and not sodium-laden. My meal (not including the apple) came to 340 calories with 1260mg of sodium, 19g of protein, 16g of total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, and 40mg of cholesterol. I had the camera with me, but forgot to take a pic until we were leaving!

The little guy had an organic strawberry yogurt tube, the ham and cheese from his sandwich, and half of a shortbread cookie that Grandma Judy shared with him. That's their tradition. :) He also ate the tomatoes from my salad and would've eaten my soup if I'd let him. Hungry little monkey!

We ended up at *gasp* The Cheetah tonight since The H was late getting home and the little guy and I were playing outside instead of making dinner. Oops. Eating out twice in a day is not ideal, and I don't like doing it, but whatever. I had a warm black rice salad that came with a small (actually, probably a proper, non-super-sized American portion) fillet of seared salmon on top. The little guy loved the rice.

When you eat out, do you stick with "the usual" or try to mix it up?


  1. What is that black rice? Is it actually black, or is it prepared to look that way (a la squid ink pasta)? Very tasty looking.

    I usually splurge when we go out, so I'm no help. We do tend to eat at great little local places that I've gotta imagine are lower on the processed-food content...but sometimes a slice of pizza or french fries just hit the spot. :)

  2. It's just black rice. Cool, huh? :) It was nuttier than brown rice.