Panera Keto Options for Low Carb Diets
One of the fastest-growing chains in the US, Panera Bread has almost 2,000 shops in 46 states. The founders started Au Bon Pain and then bought the Saint Louis Bread Company, intending to expand the idea with the new name ‘Panera.’ It grew so well, they eventually sold off Au Bon Pain and focused exclusively on Panera.
Panera has made multiple commitments to serving ‘clean’ food, from antibiotic-free poultry to healthy kids menus that don’t contain sugary items or enticing toys. In 2017, they announced that their food would contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners and that they would list sugar content on the cups used for soda.
As great as all that forward-thinking stuff is, an establishment with ‘bread’ in its name is not going to be a top pick for keto-eaters. But never fear, most places offer keto-compatible options and Panera is no exception.
Panera’s online nutrition information is extensive and includes a full list of ingredients. However, it is not customizable meaning the only way to find out how many carbs are in a sandwich is by doing the math yourself of subtracting the bread from the rest of the ingredients. Use common sense and read on to find your best picks.
Keto-Compatible Breakfast at Panera
Just because the bagels and other pastries are out doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a measly cup of coffee. Any of the breakfast sandwiches (minus the bread) will work for keto. There are even a couple of ‘hidden’ menu items.
Eggs, sausage, ham, steak, cheese and avocado are all keto-friendly foods. So many people are skipping the bun these days, the server shouldn’t even bat an eye when you ask for ‘Bacon, egg and cheese, hold the bread.’
Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey (2 net carbs) From the hidden menu. You might want to ask for whole eggs, but warm baby spinach, roasted peppers and basil pesto sauce still make this a keto winner. (15g fat, 20g protein)
Power Egg Bowl with Steak (2 net carbs) Another one from the hidden menu. Avocado and tomatoes make this a great pick for keto. (15g fat, 20g protein)
Low Carb Lunch and Dinner Options at Panera
The sandwiches that aren’t grilled will definitely be easier to order without the bread, but most of the fillings are keto-compatible. Use common sense and avoid sandwich fillings with fruit and/or sugary sauces like BBQ. Panera also has ‘hidden’ menu options for every meal of the day.
Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad (7 net carbs) From the hidden menu. Between the spinach, romaine, tomatoes, bacon, egg, oil and lemon juice, it’s like it was designed especially for keto. (24g fat, 37g protein)
Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad (8 net carbs) Another hidden menu item. You could ask for extra olives in place of the onions. (21g fat, 22g protein)
Power Steak Lettuce Wraps (6 net carbs) Comes with basil pesto and cucumbers. These hidden menu choices are so great, they should be on the regular menu. (9g fat, 24g protein)
Salads at Panera for Ketogenic Dieters
Plenty of good options here, although use common sense and avoid selections with fruit.
Greek Salad, half (3 net carbs, 18g fat, 4g protein)
Caesar, half (6 net carbs13g fat, 5g protein) Add chicken for only 1 extra carb. (14g fat, 17g protein)
Seasonal Green Salad, half (8 net carbs) Never a bad idea to get more fiber and micronutrients in. (6g fat, 2g protein)
Greek Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken, half (8 net carbs) Avocado, hard boiled egg and greens all work for keto. (17g fat, 21g protein)
Low Carb Dressings at Panera
All nutrition counts are for a half salad.
- Greek Dressing (0 net carbs, 13g fat, 0g protein)
- Caesar Dressing (1 net carb, 9g fat, 0g protein)
- Chile Lime Rojo Ranch (1 net carb, 3g fat, 1g protein)
- Asian Sesame Vinaigrette (2 net carbs, 4g fat, 0p protein)
- Greek Goddess Dressing (2 net carbs, 5g fat, 1g protein)
Keto-Friendly Drinks at Panera
Coffee, either black or with half-and-half or a little artificial sweetener if that’s your thing, is an easy pick. But you can also enjoy espresso, hot tea, flavored seltzer, San Pellegrino, or plain water with or without a wedge of fresh lemon. There are also diet soda options if you can’t resist. Panera serves Pepsi products.
Even at a store devoted to bread, you can still eat well all while sticking to your keto. It is important to note however, that although Panera uses better quality ingredients, it still falls into the category of fast food and should only be eaten in moderation.