Saturday, June 2, 2012

Good Eats: Panera Bread

One of Donna's favorite places to eat when visiting Conroe is Panera Bread. I'm not crazy about the place because it's so busy. During rush time, it's often hard to find a clean table. But I have to admit the food there is good.

Panera Bread serves for the most part coffee, salads, sandwiches, and soups. What I like about the place is the online menu. The menu provides nutritional information, and you can figure out exactly what you want before you go. Donna and I have been watching our weight lately, so we're counting calories. The "Nutrition Calculator" on the Panera site allows you to specify exactly what you want to eat. For example, I knew that I wanted a salad for lunch that day, so I pulled up the list of salads available. The one that caught my eye was Thai Chopped Chicken, but when I ran the data on it, I saw it was 470 calories, and that is a lot for a salad. I'm trying to stay below 1500 calories a day, and I really like it when I stay under 1000 (I've lost over 15 pounds so far), so that many calories for a salad seemed a bit much.

The neat feature on the calculator, though, shows the individual calorie count for each item in the salad. I reviewed it and saw that crispy wonton strips added 130 calories. Well, I figured I could sacrifice those strips without sacrificing taste, and that would reduce the total calorie count to a manageable 340 calories. Now we're talking!

And the salad was good! It had that alive flavor I was looking for. The chicken slices were beautiful, and the Low Fat Thai Chili Vinaigrette combined with the Thai Style Peanut Sauce created a rich tasting meal. I loved it. I can't wait to return.

And salads at Panera are served in real bowls with real utensils. I get so tired of plastic.

So, Panera is the place for me whether I'm watching my weight or not.

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