In the uber-competitive world of quality fast food, new champions come around just about as often as innovations to the French fry. So, basically never. But according to Wall Street, there's a new queen bee in town, it’s none other than Panera. Until recently, Chipotle was the gold medal holder of the food category, however after their brush with E. coli (you know, the debacle that left more than 50 Tex-Mex loving people sick), Panera stole the crown.
Not only has the chain vowed to ditch artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives by the end of 2016, Panera has also implemented a number of other health-focused initiatives. Our all-time favorite: Panera's innovative kiosks that double as your waiter and a nutrition calculator. Not only is the digital ordering system a great way to browse for healthy options (without the pressure of placing your order ASAP), they also allow you to customize your meal by adding and subtracting ingredients. The best part: As you make changes and requests like “light dressing” or “hold the cheese,” you can instantly see the calories, fat, sugar and sodium stats update before your eyes. It’s a dieter's dream come true! If you haven’t seen the ordering stations at your local Panera location, you can check out the chain's website and click “order online” before you head out to eat. As you piece together your mock order (don’t push submit, though!), you’ll gain access to all the handy nutritional stats available on the in-store kiosks.
For even more ways to lose weight at the soup and salad baron, be sure to check out our exclusive report, Every Soup and Sandwich at Panera – Ranked!!