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Delicious and Healthy Fast Food Options for People on the Go

Eating all your meals out for one day does not need to ruin your diet. Here is a one day meal plan for Panera Bread that can help you navigate the challenges of finding healthy fast food options.

Often eating healthy on the go can be a challenge whether you are traveling or making the most of your limited time. With many fast food restaurants responding to customer demands for healthier choices, there is still a lot of confusion of what foods are actually nutritious and lower in calories.

General rules for fast food choices:

  • Read the nutrition facts handouts/ pamphlets for fast food places online or available in the store. Many states now require that the nutrition facts are now listed on the meal signs too- Support legislation to make healthier informed choices!
  • Choose water, herbal tea, coffee or sparkling water over soda
  • Reduce the number of dipping sauces, packets of ketchup and salad dressings
  • Whenever possible choose baked or roasted options instead of fried. Baked fish over fried chicken!
  • Although it can seem like a deal, avoid super-sizing your selections
  • If offered, choose whole grain options like whole wheat tortillas or bread
  • Go light on sour cream and cheese- they can add up fast!
  • Vote with your dollar and support fast food chains moving towards organic and pesticide-free
  • Try more international fast food restaurants for more variety of different nutritious options- like hummus, falafel, tofu, edamame, whole grains or diverse salads
  • More Veggies! More Beans! Increasing the amount of plant-based meals can be both filling and nutritious

Panera Bread

Panera Bread continues to be a popular choice because it produces whole food options that you modify with whole grain choices, limited salad dressing, and half sizes. A one day meal plan at Panera Bread can offer you healthy choices with room left over for snacks or even a dessert!

Breakfast:

For a power packed breakfast with almost 1/3 of all the fiber you need in a day try a breakfast sandwich at Panera Bread with an apple and your morning coffee!

ü 1 coffee

ü 1 apple

Calories 80, Fiber 4 (g), Sugars 15 (g)

ü 1 Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich

Calories 410, Fat 13 (g) Saturated Fat 6 (g) Trans Fat 0.4 (g) Cholesterol 25 (mg) Sodium 640(mg) Carbs 52 (g) Fiber 5 (g) Sugars 5(g) Protein 21(g)

Total: Calories 490, Fiber 9 (g), Protein 21 (g), Fats 13 (g), Carbs 52 (g)

Lunch:

Half Salads are a great option with your choice of a bowl of soup. This is a filling choice and leaves room for a bread roll or other side/ snack. But be aware- people who are salt sensitive may want to look at other choices for soup.

ü Sparkling Water with Lemon

ü Greek Salad Half (half salad)

Calories 190, Fat 17 (g) Saturated Fat 4(g) Trans Fat 0 (g) Cholesterol 10 (mg) Sodium 570(mg) Carbs 6 (g) Fiber 2 (g) Sugars 2(g) Protein 4(g)

ü Sprouted Whole Grain Roll 2.2 oz

Calories 160, Fat 1 (g) Saturated Fat 0(g) Trans Fat 0 (g) Cholesterol 0 (mg) Sodium 360 (mg) Carbs 33 (g) Fiber 2 (g) Sugars 3(g) Protein 6(g)

ü Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup Bowl (1 1/2 cups)

Calories 230, Fat 3.5 (g) Saturated Fat .5 (g) Trans Fat 0 (g) Cholesterol 0 (mg) Sodium 1120(mg) Carbs 42 (g) Fiber 9 (g) Sugars 2(g) Protein 17(g)

Total: Calories 580, Fiber 13 (g), Protein 27 (g), Fats

Dinner:

By choosing meal items with lentils and lots of protein, you can choose both a filling and nutrient dense meal. Substituting soda or other caloric beverages for tea or even coffee can help you reduce the number of non-nutritious calories you consume.

ü Plum Ginger Hibiscus Iced Tea

ü Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Cage-Free Egg (1 bowl)

Calories 350, Fat 11 (g) Saturated Fat 2.5 (g) Trans Fat 0 (g) Cholesterol 185 (mg) Sodium 1200(mg) Carbs 47 (g) Fiber 10 (g) Sugars 6(g) Protein 18(g)

ü Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken Half (half salad)

Calories 300, Fat 20 (g) Saturated Fat 8 (g) Trans Fat 0 (g) Cholesterol 80 (mg) Sodium 640 (mg) Carbs 5 (g) Fiber 1 (g) Sugars 1 (g) Protein 25(g)

Total: Calories 650, Fiber 9 (g), Protein 43 (g), Fats 31 (g), Carbs 52 (g)

So one full day meal plan at Panera Bread can offer low calorie, nutritious, plant-based choices with room left over for other fruit, nut, or vegetable snacks. Making informed and educated decisions about fast food choices can help make eating out easy and healthy.

Grand Total One Day Meal Plan: Calories 1,720, Fiber 9 (g), Protein 21 (g), Fats 13 (g), Carbs 52 (g)

Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.

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