In my last post, I ranked the healthiest bakery items at Panera Bread. Today, I’ll take on sandwiches, which is what Panera does best at the noon hour and beyond. The chain makes four categories of sandwiches: breakfast sandwiches, hot paninis, signature sandwiches and café sandwiches.
Armed with the nutrition information, I set out to find the best sandwich choices — the ones with the least amount of saturated fat, sodium and calories and the most fiber and protein. This is what I came up with for the winners.
Best Breakfast Sandwiches
These two sandwiches contribute a good amount of protein and are lowest in total fat and saturated fat (with no trans fat) and are the lowest in calories and sodium. The Breakfast Power Sandwich is also the highest in fiber.
Breakfast Power Sandwich: 360 calories, 4 grams fiber, 23 grams protein, 14 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 880 mg sodium and 36 grams carbs.
Egg & Cheese on Ciabatta: 380 calories, 2 grams fiber, 18 grams protein, 14 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 620 mg sodium and 43 grams carbs.
Best Hot Panini Sandwich
Although the sodium is high for this sandwich (the Tomato & Mozzarella had the lowest with 1290 milligrams per full sandwich), the following sandwich was rich in protein, had the most fiber and was the second lowest in calories, and the lowest in total fat and saturated fat (with no trans fat).
Full Turkey Artichoke on Focaccia: 750 calories, 7 grams fiber, 42 grams protein, 24 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 2420 mg sodium and 90 grams carbs.
Best Signature Sandwiches
All the sandwiches offer at least 43 grams of protein but only two have less than 1300 milligrams of sodium (Asiago Roast Beef on Asiago Cheese and Chicken Caesar on Three Cheese); the rest had between 2170 and 3080 milligrams. And while the Asiago Roast Beef is the lowest in calories and total fat grams, the Chicken Caesar sandwich is the second lowest in calories and has the least amount of saturated fat. The Bacon Turkey Bravo on Tomato Basil also has the least amount of saturated fat and is the second lowest in total fat but it was hard to look past the sodium price tag of 3010 milligrams.
Full Chicken Caesar on Three Cheese: 720 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 43 grams protein, 32 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1270 mg sodium and 69 grams carbs.
Full Asiago Roast Beef on Asiago Cheese: 690 calories, 3 grams fiber, 48 grams protein, 27 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1270 mg sodium and 64 grams carbs.
Best Café Sandwiches
This category has a few sandwich options that have less than 1500 milligrams of sodium and 5 grams or less of saturated fat. All three have between 5 and 10 grams of fiber and no trans fat.
Full Mediterranean Veggie on Tomato Basil: 610 calories, 10 grams fiber, 22 grams protein, 13 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 1450 mg sodium and 100 grams carbs.
Full Napa Almond Chicken Salad on Sesame Semolina: 680 calories, 5 grams fiber, 29 grams protein, 26 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 1200 mg sodium and 90 grams carbs.
Full Tuna Salad on Honey Wheat: 590 calories, 6 grams fiber, 20 grams protein, 28 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 1160 mg sodium and 67 grams carbs.
Part One: Best Baked Goods at Panera Bread
Part Two: Best Sandwich Choices at Panera Bread