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The Best Panera Lunch Order for Weight Loss

A dietitian shares her top-recommended Panera menu options for those who want to lose weight.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Selecting the right meal at popular eateries can be daunting in the quest for healthier eating choices. At Panera Bread, known for its wide array of fresh and flavorful soups, sandwiches, salads, bread bowls, and baked goods, choosing a meal that aligns with your weight-loss goals can seem overwhelming. However, fear not, as we unveil the #1 best Panera lunch order for weight loss.

This carefully selected meal combines taste and nutrition, offering a satisfying and balanced option to support your journey to a healthier you. Join us as we delve into the details of this optimal choice, providing insights into why it stands out as the top pick for those seeking to shed pounds while enjoying a delicious meal.

The Balsamic Chicken Greens with Grains Salad paired with a Bubly Lime drink is the best Panera lunch order for weight loss.

Panera balsamic chicken greens and grains salad

The next time you're at Panera, be sure to order the chain's tasty Balsamic Chicken Greens with Grains Salad and Bubly Lime beverage.

This salad is packed with nutrition, offering leafy greens, whole grains, and lean protein. It's low in calories compared to other menu items, making it a great choice for weight management. The combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats keeps you feeling full, while the balsamic vinaigrette adds flavor without excess calories or unhealthy fats.

Per Balsamic Chicken Greens with Grains Salad: 580 calories, 29 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 1330 mg sodium, 49 g carbs (9 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 36 g protein

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What makes this Panera order a healthy option for weight loss?

Panera Bread
Photo: Shutterstock. Design: Eat This, Not That!

This salad features a mix of romaine and crisp greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette and topped with cooked whole grains, grilled chicken, sliced cucumbers, pepperoncini peppers, fresh avocado, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, and a drizzle of Green Goddess dressing.

This meal is bursting with flavor and provides a balanced mix of macronutrients. With 9 grams of fiber, 36 grams of protein, and fewer than 600 total calories, this salad is a fantastic choice for those looking to shed pounds.

The fiber content helps keep you full, reducing the likelihood of overeating later in the day. Protein is crucial for preserving muscle mass, which is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism during weight loss. The variety of vegetables and healthy fats from the avocado and pumpkin seeds provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting overall health and well-being. Plus, the Green Goddess dressing adds flavor without excessive calories or unhealthy fats.

Additionally, opting for a regular-sized Bubly Lime Sparkling Water beverage won't cost you any calories, and it's an incredibly refreshing pairing with your salad-grains bowl. And if you're really thirsty, the large size is just five calories.

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Why is fiber important for weight loss?

fiber foods concept

Fiber is crucial for weight loss for several reasons. First, foods high in fiber are often lower in calories than foods high in sugars and fats. This means you can feel full and satisfied without eating too many calories, which is key for weight loss.

Second, fiber slows down digestion, which helps keep your blood sugar levels steady. This can prevent spikes that make you feel hungry and crave unhealthy foods. Plus, steady blood sugar levels can help you avoid energy crashes that lead to overeating.

Fiber also adds bulk to your diet, making you feel full longer and less likely to overeat. It also keeps your digestion on track, which is important for overall health and can help with weight loss.

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Why is protein important for weight loss?

high-protein foods, concept of the best protein for weight loss

Protein is super important for losing weight! First, it keeps you full and satisfied, so you're less likely to snack or overeat. Plus, your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting fats or carbs, which can boost your metabolism.

Protein also helps you retain muscle while you lose fat. This is great because more muscle means a higher metabolism, which helps you burn more calories even when you're not working out.

Kristen Carli, MS, RD
Kristen Carli is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. Read more about Kristen
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