Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Panera Bread For Lunch!

Probably one of the most difficult challenges for people on the new WeightWatchers PointsPlus plan is what to order when eating out.  I don't know about you, but many of the places I like to choose from are not included in theWW Dining Out Companion.  Not to fret - there is still a way to make this less painfull.  Many restaurants have nutritional information on their websites, making it easier to know what your best options are.  Also, it makes it easier to choose ahead of time and not be tempted by everything else when you arrive.

Yesterday a good friend called to meet for lunch.  I let her choose the destination - she chose Panera Bread.  I immediately cringed (silently, of course) because all I could think of was high-calorie-carbs!  After agreeing to a time to meet, I grabbed my laptop and did a quick search for Panera's website.  Not only do they have the nutritional chart there, but they have a friendly 'meal builder''s the link:

I explored my options and was so pleasantly surprised by what I discovered! I was able to enjoy a really filling lunch that really tickled my tongue...and stay well within my daily points allowance.  I didn't feel 'deprived' at all!!  What did I choose?

I chose the "Pick Two" option...and first ordered their new Thai Chopped Chicken Salad. It's layered with chicken, Thai spiced cashews, fire-roasted vegetables, with hints of lime and cilantro. Tossed with their Thai Chili Vinaigrette and finished with a peanut sauce, it was really, really good.  Also, I had a nice bowl of their Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean soup.  Nicely seasoned, warm, thick, and also - really, really good.  A surprise to me was that you get an option - bread, roll or apple with that...and not being prepared with the knowlege of any low points options on the breads or rolls, I chose the apple.  So far - I am up to 8 points plus for the entire meal!  I say 'so far' because then I got thrown for a loop..."would you like something to drink with that?"  Usually, when I go out with Chuck, I just take a few sips off his drink...but Chuck was not quickly I looked up at the menu, spotted "Iced Chai Latte" and took that...THEN I spotted the cost (ugh) and then I thought about the unknown many points?  I have to admit, my pride kept me from changing my order...I paid and enjoyed every bite and sip...and when I got home I pulled up my e-Tools tracker and began plugging in my nutritional info.  Iced Chai Latte was not really soooo bad after all...4pp, and I got in one serving of dairy to boot! 

Where are you planning on eating out?  Have you made a trip to the restaurant's website?  Care to share your points plus victories?

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