One of the major themes of my Meal-Talk Monday posts has been keeping my meals light, quick, and easy. Now, don’t get me wrong. Some of the best and healthiest meals take a lot of prep work – and they’re well worth the effort. But especially during the summer, I’m busier than ever and I simply don’t have the time to invest in cooking.
Sometimes, I just have to resort to fast food.
Panera is probably my most frequented fast-food joint, because its one of the few fast food restaurants I don’t feel as guilty visiting. Unfortunately, even though they advertise a “fresh and healthy” menu – and took steps to drop at least 150 artificial additives and preservatives from their food¹ – its really easy to wrack up the calories and exceed your daily nutritional goals if you aren’t vigilant.
I’ve done a lot of research and vetting of the different options on the Panera menu. If you’re not interested in checking it out yourself and just want a quick-n-dirty order option, here’s what I typically get for my meal:
My Panera Order (You Pick Two)
- Steak and Arugula Half Sandwich
- Greek Goddess Half Cobb Salad with Chicken
- Side: Fresh Fruit Cup
Nutrition Facts (total meal): 600 calories, 52g carbs, 30g fat, 32g protein, 925mg sodium, 14g sugar ² ³
Now, this is what I would normally get for my dinner. My current daily nutritional goals have me targeting about 1300 calories a day on my non-workout days, since I’m trying to cut some fat while simulataneously slacking off on my workout routine. So keep in mind, this might be a little lower than your daily calorie intake depending on your gender and fitness goals. But for me, this falls into a good calorie range for my dinner. It also helps me to knock out some protein, while keeping the sodium under control.
What kind of fast food do you turn to on days when you’re just too busy to cook? What’s the healthiest alternative and meal that you’ve found? Let me know in the comments below!