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The Best & Worst Salad at Panera

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Panera Bread

If we were playing word association, "salad" might just be followed by "healthy." The harsh reality is, in the world of chain restaurants, "salad" is often followed by a fine-print nutrition label of 600+ calories and a day's worth of fat — definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of healthy meals.

When it comes to Panera, it's hard to think of anything but bread, and although saying no to a baguette or sandwich might be a feat in itself, some salads might leave your pants tighter than an indulgent panini ever would. We've scoped out the menu and uncovered the best and worst salad option at Panera bread, so your healthy meal doesn't end up costing you more than you've bargained for.

Eat This!

Classic with Chicken Salad

Calories 300
Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Sodium 320 mg
Carbs 20 g
Fiber 3 g
Protein 27 g

Not That!

Chicken Cobb with Avocado

Calories 660
Fat 50 g
Saturated Fat 11 g
Sodium 970 mg
Carbs 14 g
Fiber 7 g
Protein 42 g

This salad will derail any diet with as much fat as five Krispy Kreme doughnuts. While some of these fats are healthy — thanks to avocado and hard-boiled egg — rich, fat-laden toppings skyrocket the count beyond reason — think: bacon and gorgonzola. The beauty of Panera's laid back dining style is the ability to customize any order to your liking, which means the calorie cutting power is in your hands. With the dressing alone, you have more options than you might realize. You can ask for "light" or "on the side" salad dressing to make sure your lettuce isn't swimming in added calories and fat. Ordering "Light" dressing will bring the Chicken Cobb down 120 calories and 13 grams of fat. When it comes to the best, though, there's nothing better than the classics; in this case, the Classic with Chicken Salad tops our list by cutting calories, fat and sodium in half.

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