Sunday, June 1, 2014

Panera Bread Soups





So I went to the mall with my nieces a few nights ago to go get pedicures and my oldest niece really wanted to stop by Panera. Of course, she was enticed by all of the fresh baked donuts and bagels that were on display and she couldn't decide what to eat (literally, we stood in front of the counter for a good 5 minutes looking at food). Honestly, I thought that if she didn't choose sooner the worker might turn into the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld...and well, long story short we wouldn't get any soup.


I have a lot of friends that are...dare I say it....obsessed with Panera. They are especially obsessed with the Broccoli Cheddar soup.

With this being said I would like to bring to people's attention about how to pick a good soup because not all soup is good for you--even if it is considered a lighter side to most people.




Here are the options Panera usually has to offer:


Calories
Fat
Protein
Chicken Noodle
130
1.5
9
Baked Potato
350
21
8
Bistro French Onion
320
15
12
Broccoli Cheddar
330
21
14
Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice
310
20
9
Low Fat Garden Vegetable with Pesto
140
5
4
Low fat Chicken Orzo
180
4.5
18
Low fat Vegetarian Black Bean
260
3
13
New England Clam Chowder
720
62
9
Vegetarian Creamy Tomato with Croutons
450
32
8
***all of these values are for a bowl (1 1/2 cups)

Some of these numbers were probably pretty shocking to you. The reason for some of the soups being so high in calories and fat is because of all of the cream that is added to them as thickeners. Soups such as Baked Potato, Broccoli Cheddar, New England Clam Chowder and others are loaded with butter, milk, flour, and cream. Comparing these nutrient values to soups like Chicken Noodle and Chicken Orzo--there is a major difference. The main ingredients in these soups are chicken broth, noodles and veggies.

When choosing your soup, be sure to pick soups with a broth base that are loaded with vegetables and lean protein for maximum nutrients.

Another popular item at Panera is their bread bowl. This will definitely add more substance to your meal, but this bread is a whopping 660 extra calories.

If you still have that hankering for bread, you can swap out a french or grain baguette for your bread bowl. These baguettes are only 180 calories which is almost 73% less calories.

If you don't want just soup for lunch, you can always add on a side dish. One of the best things about Panera is that they offer so many healthy alternatives for side dishes that it makes it easy to choose well!

Sides available include apples, pickles, baked and regular potato chips.

Meal Recommendations:
Chicken Orzo with Grain Baguette
Chicken Noodle with Grain Baguette

Black Bean Soup with Fresh Apple or Grain Baguette
All of these options are low fat, high protein, and loaded with vegetables. Black Bean soup is the best vegetarian option and the Chicken Orzo is the best non-vegetarian option in my opinion. 


Thanks for reading!

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