Panera Bread is so much more than just its toasty fresh bread and soup. Nowadays, they have a full menu which includes breakfast items! Just as we have reviewed healthy options from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonald’s in the past, today we will sift through Panera’s best breakfast options for a healthy option when on-the-go. Keep in mind that sodium is always a concern when eating out, but you can still find some relatively healthy options if you are mindful. Let’s dive in!

 

Panera Bread’s “Power Sandwiches” are good choices. They contain a good amount of fiber from the sprouted grain bread and lean protein option from the egg. Any of the options would be a good choice, but I would recommend the Avocado, Egg White and Spinach Power sandwich because of the heart healthy fats found in the avocado and the nutrient dense spinach.

Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich
“Egg whites, a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar, fresh avocado, fresh baby spinach and tomato on a freshly baked Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat.”
Calories 400
Total Fat 13g
Sodium 650mg
Carbs 52g
Fiber 5g
Protein 12g

Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich
“Turkey sausage cooked into egg whites, a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar, fresh spinach and tomato all grilled on a freshly baked Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat.”
Calories 400
Total Fat 11g
Sodium 800mg
Carbs 50g
Fiber 3g
Protein 16g

Ham, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Power Sandwich
“All-natural egg, freshly cracked every morning, a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar and smoked, lean ham all grilled on our freshly baked Whole Grain Bread.”
Calories 340
Total Fat 15g
Sodium 920mg
Carbs 31g
Fiber 4g
Protein 16g

 

The Egg & Cheese on Ciabatta is not the healthiest option, as it lacks whole grains and fiber of the power sandwiches, but it is still relatively low in Calories and makes up for it with it’s increased protein content.

Egg & Cheese on Ciabatta
“All-natural egg, freshly cracked every morning, and a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar all grilled on our freshly baked Ciabatta.”
Calories 390
Total Fat 15g
Sodium 720mg
Carbs 43g
Fiber 2g
Protein 19g

 

Last, but not least, one of your best options for breakfast at Panera Bread is their Power Almond Quinoa Oatmeal. It contains a whopping 9g of heart healthy, hunger fighting fiber which is about 1/3 of your daily needs (Women need 25g, men need 35g daily). There is minimal added sugar from the honey, but otherwise this is a balanced breakfast worth having.

Power Almond Quinoa Oatmeal
“Organic, steel cut oats topped with organic quinoa, sliced toasted almonds, ground cinnamon and honey.”
Calories 290
Total Fat 6g
Sodium 220mg
Carbs 51g
Fiber 9g
Protein 8g

 

For more information, check out Panera Bread’s full nutrition guide.

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This is another entry in our Best of Breakfast series in which we have been looking at some healthy choices when resorting to eating breakfast at a fast food restaurant. We have looked at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts so far and have found some pretty good options. Today, we take a look at McDonald’s which unfortunately does not fair as well. With only a handful of breakfast items worth choosing, you may want to find an alternative or better yet, make something at home!

 

This is not your best yogurt option if you are on the run, but one of the better choices at McDonalds. For example, a non-fat strawberry flavored greek yogurt would be similar in Calories, lower in sugar and fat, have 3 times the protein content all while saving you some money.

Fruit ‘n yogurt Parfait (with low-fat granola and berries)
Calories 150
Fat 2g
Carbs 30g
Sugars 23g
Fiber 1g
Protein 4g
Sodium 80mg

Though this sandwich may be lighter in Calories than other options, the “liquid margarine” contains partially hydrogenated soybean oil aka Trans Fats (though not enough to list it on the nutrition facts) which are generally NOT recognized as safe. On the plus side, the egg whites are 100% egg whites and this sandwich does contain a fair amount of fiber. All things considered, this is probably still one of the better breakfast options at the golden arches.

Egg White Delight McMuffin (with Canadian style bacon, cheese)

Calories 250
Fat 8g
Carbs 30g
Sugars 3g
Fiber 4g
Protein 18g
Sodium 770mg

Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber, which can be beneficial to your heart health. The standard choice isn’t the worst, but a bulk of the Calories come from sugar.

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (oatmeal with brown sugar, diced apples, cranberry raisin blend, light cream)
Calories 290
Fat 4g
Carbs 58g
Sugars 32g
Fiber 5g
Protein 5g
Sodium 160

Opt for the oatmeal without brown sugar and hold the “cranberry raisin blend” and you will save 100 Calories, most of which coming from sugar – 29g of sugar!

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (oatmeal without brown sugar, no cranberry raisin blend, with diced apples and light cream)
Calories 190
Fat 4g
Carbs 33g
Sugars 3g
Fiber 4g
Protein 5g
Sodium 110mg

 

As you can see, there are not many great choices for breakfast at McDonald’s, but you can put together something relatively healthy if you are in a pinch.

See McDonald’s nutrition facts for further information.

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You can grab a relatively healthy breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. Just be aware that as with any other fast food option, sodium will be a concern. Navigating their menu can take some effort, so we did the work for you.
Looking for their “DDSMART” logo is a good tool to use when looking at their menu.

Foods and Beverages with the DDSMART® logo are:
• Reduced in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar or sodium by at least 25% compared to a base product or other appropriate reference product
and/or
• Contain an ingredient or nutrient that is nutritionally beneficial.

According to their website, there are some techniques you can use to have a lower calorie option.

“Make these SMART SWAPS to cut calories:
English Muffin for a Plain Bagel: Cut 170 calories
English Muffin for a Croissant: Cut 170 calories
Ham for Sausage: Cut 185 calories
Reduced Fat Cheddar for American Cheese: Cut 15 calories

The following are based on a Medium Beverage Size
Splenda® for Sugar:  Hot / Iced Coffee: Cut 85-95 calories
Splenda® for a Pre-sweetened Iced Tea: Cut 75-90 calories
Whole Milk for Cream: Hot / Iced Coffee: Cut 50-60 calories
Skim Milk for Cream: Hot / Iced Coffee: Cut 65-70 calories
Skim Milk for Whole Milk: Hot / Iced Latte: Cut 70 calories
Whole Milk for Cream: FROZEN COFFEE COOLATTA®: Cut 240 calories*
(*Cut 160 calories where 16 ounce medium size beverages are sold)
Skim Milk (No Whip) for Cream: FROZEN COFFEE COOLATTA®: Cut 350 calories*
(*Cut 250 calories where 16 ounce medium size beverages are sold)
Enjoy a Flavor Shot instead of Swirl Syrup Flavor in your Coffee or Latte – they are unsweetened and sugar free.”

Some of your best bets at Dunkin Donuts include:
Egg White Veggie Flatbread
(At least 25% reduced in: Calories, Saturated fat, Fat, Sugar & Sodium compared to Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant)
280 Cals
9g Fat
4.5g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
20mg Cholesterol
690mg Sodium
33g Carb.
4g Fiber
3g Sugar
15g Protein

Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
(At least 25% reduced in: Calories, Saturated fat, Fat, Sugar & Sodium compared to Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant)
240 Cals
7g Fat
3.5g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
70mg Cholesterol
490mg Sodium
32g Carb.
7g Fiber
2g Sugar
12g Protein

Ham, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
(At least 25% reduced in: Calories, Saturated fat, Fat & Sugar compared to Sausage Egg & Cheese on Croissant)
280 Cals
8g Fat
3.5g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
95mg Cholesterol
770mg Sodium
34g Carb.
7g Fiber
3g Sugar
17g Protein

Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap
(At least 25% reduced in: Fat, Saturated Fat, and Sugar compared to our Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Wake Up Wrap)
210 Cals
11g Fat
4g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
55mg Cholesterol
550mg Sodium
14g Carb.
1g Fiber
0g Sugar
13g Protein

Keep in mind that we would rarely suggest opting for a donut, but if you must, then your best bet at Dunkin Donuts would be the Sugar Raised Donut. As it is their lowest calorie option, but still full of empty calories.
Sugar Raised Donut
230 Cals
14g Fat
6g Sat fat
0g Trans fat
0mg Cholesterol
330mg Sodium
22g Carb.
1g Fiber
4g Sugar
3g Protein

Be sure to stick to regular black coffee (or iced black coffee) and add your own milk and sweeteners to have control. Stay away from their sugary frozen beverages. For example, the Large Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolata with Cream has 990 Calories! That includes a whopping 130g of sugar and 47g of fat!

Bookmark Dunkin Donuts’ nutrition information for future reference.

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Starbucks has been revamping their line of food over the past few years. Some of it is actually a pretty good bet if you need to grab breakfast on the go. Sodium is almost always going to be a concern when eating out (no matter where you go), as most foods will be processed need to be preserved, so be sure to take this into consideration if you have issues with your blood pressure. We have compiled some of your best choices when you are grabbing breakfast at Starbucks. For more information, check out the nutrition section on their website and keep their smart phone app handy for nutrition information on the go.

Their oatmeal option is a fantastic way to start your day with some heart healthy soluble fiber. Just be mindful with your choice of toppings. Your best bet is the Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal with the Nut Medley.

“Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal” without toppings
160 Calories, 2.5g Fat, 28g Carbs, 4g Fiber, 0g Sugar, 5g Protein, 0mg Sodium

For the Hearty Blueberry Version add 60 calories, 0g Fat, 1g of Fiber, 12g of Sugar, 0g Protein and 125mg Sodium to the Classic.

Additional Oatmeal Toppings:
Brown Sugar: 50 Calories, 0g Fat, 12g Carbs, 0g Fiber, 12g Sugar, 0g Protein, 5mg Sodium
Dried Fruit: 100 Calories, 24g Carbs, 0g Fat 1g Fiber, 22g Sugar, 1g Protein, 0mg Sodium
Nut Medley: 100 Calories, 10g Fat, 2g Carbs,1g Fiber,1g Sugar, 2g Protein, 0mg Sodium

Their breakfast sandwiches will be high in sodium, but some of them are packed with protein. The addition of protein at breakfast will help to keep you satisfied throughout the morning.

Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich
220 Calories, 6g Fat, 28g Carbs, 3g Sugar, 2g Fiber, 13g Protein, 560mg Sodium

Spinach & Feta Wrap
290 Calories, 10g Fat, 33g Carbs, 4g Sugar, 6g Fiber, 19g Protein, 830mg Sodium

Egg Cheddar English Muffin
280 Calories, 13g Fat, 27g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 2g Sugars, 12g Protein, 460mg Sodium

If you need something to grab when on the run, a nut bar or yogurt parfait would be a good choice. Both of these choices will provide some fiber and a good amount of protein to hold you over until lunch.

Evolution Harvest Roasted Soybean Almond Pepita Bar
200 Calories, 14g Fat, 13g Carbs, 4g Fiber, 5g Sugar, 10g Protein, 120mg Sodium

Greek Yogurt with Berries Parfait (with granola topping)
220 Calories, 3g Fat, 36g Carbs, 3g Fiber, 19g Sugar, 14g Protein, 115mg Sodium

Be mindful of what you have in your coffee as well. Most plain black coffee will only provide about 5 Calories per serving, but the added milk, cream and sugars will tack on addition Calories. Stick to skim milk for added protein without any fat or add 1-2 Tbsp of your own added half and half or milk to monitor your own portions. Skip the added sugar (which will include about 4g of sugar per packet) if you can, use stevia for a natural calorie free sweetener or include spices such as cinnamon for an antioxidant packed calorie free flavor booster. Your best bet is to always get your coffee black and make it up yourself so you can control what goes in it.

Find yourself in a rush in the morning? This little fluffy “muffins” are great for a quick, grab and go, high protein breakfast or a wonderful snack any time of the day. Try cooking these on a Sunday and use them throughout the rest of the week. Cooked prroteins, such as eggs, can stay safe in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.

Energy Boosting Egg Muffins

by The Nutrition Twins

Ingredients

6 eggs

½ cup skim or 1% milk

¼ teaspoon (tsp) salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 cup low-fat or fat free shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

½ cup chopped zucchini

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until blended. Add cheese, zucchini, bell pepper and onion; mix well.

Spoon evenly into 12 lightly sprayed muffin cups, about ¼ cup each.

Bake until just set, 20–22 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes. Remove from cups and serve warm. Makes 12 mini egg muffins.

Nutrition facts per serving (2 mini muffins): 110 calories; 7 grams g fat; 296 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrate; 12 g protein

Makes about 12 total muffins.

Recipe from: http://nutritiontwins.com/429-energy-boosting-egg-muffins/

The best thing about this recipe is that you can alter it however you like. Use whatever leftover vegetables that you have. Try spinach and some feta cheese for a different spin. Dice up some Canadian Bacon (which is a lean protein!) for a flavor and protein boost without excess calories. If you are watching your cholesterol you can certainly substitute egg whites. Keep in mind that 2 egg whites = 1 whole egg.

Enjoy!