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Panera Bread: Fast Food Masquerading as Good Food

by Mike

Many health conscious people, including my own slim, trim, and active little sister, vehemently decry fast food, yet there is one restaurant that seems to escape their collective ire: Panera Bread.

This is largely because of its image, with its hot soups in bread bowls and various baked goods seemingly obviously a good choice for a meal on the go when you're losing weight.

Yet if you actually look at the nutrition facts you may as well have gone to McDonalds: A bagel at Panera has 370 calories while a hamburger at McDonalds has only 250 calories.

Their Bread Bowl has 560 calories while a Big Mac only has 540, it goes on and on.

Granted Panera might be a little more nutritious but calories are calories.

Not to mention that despite their appearance of selling fresh food most dishes from Panera arrive frozen and are merely defrosted.

Make no mistake, their food is tasty, but for dieting there's nothing worse than fast food pretending to be good food.

Comments for Panera Bread: Fast Food Masquerading as Good Food

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Too many carbs at Panera Bread
by: Dr. Dan

Good point, Mike. You have to watch the calories wherever you go.

It's easy to get too many calories in restaurants. Especially when you eat baked goods, like bread and muffins. They're all carbohydrate -- and that really packs on the pounds!

I agree
by: Anonymous

You make an excellent argument. After looking at the website and the nutrional information that is available there, I have sworn off Panera Bread myself. I will occasionally go there for the Fat Free Vegetable Soup in a cup, not a bread bowl, and get a side of whole grain bread.

You need to be careful no matter where you want to eat and no matter how healthy you think it is.

Panera is bad, but Outback is worse for me!
by: Naomi A

I used to go to Panera all the time during college and get the broccoli and cheese soup, AND a sandwich, AND a dessert... talk about too much food!! Needless to say I didn't really have a 'diet' while in college.

Whenever I have to eat out now I like to get some awesome iced tea to help fill me up, then a salad, then my entree, so I eat so much less of it than before. I never get a salad as my entree cause usually they're more fattening than some sandwiches!

The worse place by far is Outback steakhouse and their EVIL onion blossom which (even when shared) is almost your entire days worth of calories! Not to mention it has absolutely no vitamins or nutritional value. I'll take an extra long walk today just to burn off the calories of something like that!

Hidden Calories
by: Ryan Rudy

I totally agree, the baked goods are especially calorie-ridden. However, there are a few good choices if you love to eat at Panera but want to stay on your diet.

When I'm trying to eat healthy I have a side salad and a bowl of their vegetable soup. You can get different sides; chips, french bread, wheat bread, or an apple.

Sometimes it's hard to choose the apple and healthier soups and salads when the other ones look and sound so appetizing, but the healthy ones actually are pretty good!

I remember reading an article about a Panera sandwich that had over 500 calories in it...all because of the mayo or dressing. So if you really want a sandwich there, ask them to lay off the mayo!

Panera Bread: bad food, an even worse company
by: Anonymous

First I'd like to say if you think you are eating healthy at Panera think again! The salt content alone is enough to kill you in any soup they sell and the calorie and fat content in almost everything is extremely high.

Two ounces of yogurt along with granola and fresh strawberries has 350 calories. Not bad if its a whole meal but we are talking about two ounces of yogurt.

Second, they are a horrible company to work for. I know first hand. They claim to be about honesty and integrity while they are about neither.

The managers force underpaid employees to work off the clock to keep labor down and bonuses up. I was actually told to commit insurance fraud by several managers above me while working there.

Some stores are franchised so the quality of managers may vary but not at the corporate stores.

Panera Fraud
by: Anonymous

Panera Bread Is a joke. Aside from their bread and produce everything comes in frozen. The food has high calories and sodium. And yes they are a lousy company to work for.

Panera Bread
by: Anonymous

Yes, everything at panera has a ridiculous amount of calories (especially from fat)!! I worked at panera for about a year and agined 25 pounds!

by: Anonymous

I have been an associate at Panera for over two years now. The ONLY thing that we receive frozen is soup. Everything else is baked fresh EVERY DAY. We have bakers that come in an hour before close each night and work until about half an hour after we open in the morning.

Note from Dr. Dan

Thank you for this information about Panera. I know bakers have a hard job. Nobody has fresh bread in the morning unless somebody else has gotten up pretty darn early to make it for them.

Dr. Dan

dangerously high blood pressure soups
by: Gautom B

I have spoken many times to the manager of Panera Bread franchise about their high salty soups they are serving to people.

I wrote to one time to Panera Bread about their salty chicken soup.

Only soup I eat their is black bean, its the lowest salty among all soups. Still high in salt.

They got to do something about it. Sooner or later government official will catch up with them.

I like to go their because they have good salad and salty sandwiches and their presentation is good. Hope somebody from Panera Bread reads my comments. Peace out now.

bread isn't that fresh either
by: anonymous

I work there too and while the bread is "fresh baked" every night, it's delivered the day before it's sold and sits in a freezer or cooler all day before being baked, hardly what I would call fresh. Even though I work there and get a discount I never get bread from panera because I know I'll get better stuff from a local bakery where the bread is actually fresh. I will say that some of the food there is not bad, but it's definitely not worth the price and pales in comparison to many of the local places I've gone to.

It's crazy how many people think that panera is healthy, I've set so many friends and family members straight over the past couple of years that I've been working there. I thought it was healthy too before working there-- when I first started people would ask me to look up nutritional info/calories for them and I was shocked at how unhealthy everything was.

Fat people blame food not themselves
by: Anonymous

Calories are not unhealthy. Big fat pigs are unhealthy. If you're overweight stop eating. Stop eating. Stop eating!!!!!!!!!! easier to blame the restaurant. You people are morons.

Unhealthy & Underpaid
by: Anonymous

Most of the comments made on this site are true. I have been a manager at Panera for about a year and is all about misleading customers and people that work for them.

It's all about money.

Menu items, procedures, ingredients, change constantly, sacrificing the quality of the product, yet making a higher profit.

Just because Panera offers Organic Squeezable yougurt tubes, organic american cheese and organic stoneyfield yougurt, these are only 3 ingredients out of more than 1000 that panera uses every day in the operations.

About the employee satisfaction to work for panera, well, it's all painted bright and shiny when you apply, but the trust and honesty they promote, it seems to be a one way street, and it's pointing to them...

I guess people love to be mislead.

Stupid people like to trash talk
by: Ryan

I have been an associate at a small town panera for the last eight months. Really i think its honerable in alot of ways and dishonerable in other ways.

In case you didn't know, the calories are clearly posted on the menu. So if you're trying to lose weight and you order something that has 500 calories which is made known then is it really Panera's fault? No!

You morons just need to watch what you eat.

And to the person who was forced to work off the clock: Not all Paneras are like that.

I myself have worked off the clock but only to help a coworker who was behind. My manager never asked me to. It was completely my decision. It's illegal for a manager to force you to.

Alot of the food is frozen because it is food. Not chemicals. We freeze the food to perserve it and we have a cooler to keep food fresh longer.

But when food goes bad we throw it away. Thats why its so expensive.

And if you have ever made bread before you would know that the bread dough sometimes takes several weeks before it can be baked. Ever heard of a starter?

Anyways i just think people should do their research and use a little common sense before they trash talk.

bad food, worst soup.
by: Anonymous

This is another fraud put out by some big company, paying a ad company to pump up the public. I made big mistake going to a Panera cafe for lunch. The soup wad the worst excuse for onion soup I have ever suffered. The "grilled" cheese was wet on the bottom, and the top had what looked like hot wire burn marks and had melted cheese that was cold. The piece of bread had no taste. What a rip off. I have yet to know why anyone can say the bread is "good", it tastes like nothing. No flavor, no aroma, yuck

Panera is much better than mcdonalds
by: Anonymous

Panera is high in carbs or calories but if you really would pick mcdonalds over panera your a complete idiot. Mcdonalds meat is not even real meat the quality of mcdonalds is 100x worse for you than panera. No I do not think panera is the best choice either but either way it's better to feed your body with paneras fattening food than fake meat and bi products

the many Masqueraders of Fast-Food
by: Living Sacrifice/Silverstar012345

i have chosen 2 chicken items that i have had before from panera & Mcdonald's the Crispy Chicken Wrap and the Chicken Tortellini Alfredo pasta.
so let's compare them side by side:





37gTotal Fat
89gTotal Carb

They also have a high salt content
by: Anonymous

Check out the salt content on it's soups and bread too! Wow! I ate there soup and was sick for a day. I couldn't walk about, because I had vertigo from the high salt content in their soups.

Salty soup!!!! NEW
by: Skip

The soup at Panera ( I have tried them all) has way too much salt in every bowl I have had. It is almost inedible! It looks so appealing but I can hardly taste the ingredients because of the salt. If you have high blood pressure do not eat their soups! It’s very bad for you! It’s a shame because they could be so much healthier and tasty by cutting back on the salt. Have they even tasted them? It’s ridiculously salty.

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