No matter how much preparation you put into your meals, fitness, and overall health, there are always going to be times when you need food on the run. Panera is one of those places that I stop by for breakfast on my way to work when I don’t have time to prepare anything, and it’s also a place I like to grab coffee and a healthy snack to write these blog posts ; )
Before recently, the general thought about Panera in the healthy eating community was that they disguised themselves as a healthy restaurant when really their food was made with chemicals, additives and lots and lots of unhealthy carbs… until recently. Have you guys heard about all of the changes Panera has made? Of course, they’re not perfect and there are still improvements to be made, but this is an awesome start.
So what are some things you can order if you’re trying to eat well and you need to grab something on the run?
One of the best things on Panera’s breakfast menu is the Steel Cut Oatmeal with strawberries and pecans. It comes with a sugar and cinnamon topping, but you can ask for that on the side (like I did in the above photo).. That way, you control the amount of sugar you want. I would say I use less than half of what they give you. This oatmeal is also great to-go because it re-heats well.
One trick I’ve learned at Panera: they have spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cocoa over at the coffee bar. When I order the Steel Cut Oatmeal (or coffee), I put a little cinnamon and cocoa on my oatmeal to flavor and sweeten it without all of the processed sugar. Try it and let me know if you like it!
If you’re looking for other breakfast choices, try the Avocado, Egg White & Spinach breakfast sandwich. It’s so good! I like that they use a flat/thin bagel, which gives it just enough carbs after a tough AM workout.
In terms of drinks, Panera has a great selection of unsweetened iced teas (try the new unsweetened Mango iced tea – it’s great!), hot brewed teas, and coffee. If you’re looking for non-dairy milk, just ask someone behind the counter and they will grab you a non-dairy alternative that they keep in the refrigerator.
Have you noticed Panera’s push to provide some healthier options? Have you tried any? What do you get at Panera? Let me know so that I can try it!