Panera Bread's New 280 Calorie Salad

June 15, 2010

Upon our arrival at Panera Bread, we were greeted with a larger version of this sign which I photographed by the register:

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad - 280 Calories & Frozen Strawberry Lemonade 150 Calories

It was at the register that I noticed it was only 280 calories for what looked like a decent size salad and 150 calories for a frozen strawberry lemonade. The gal who helped us, Kelsey, was very helpful. I was impressed that she knew just where to look when we asked her if the frozen strawberry lemonade had artificial color in it. (My son is allergic and I avoid it too.)

I remarked about the 150 calories being not bad as Kelsey pulled out a big 3 ring binder, found the frozen strawberry lemonade, took out the page and handed it to me so I can see it easily. I was pleased to see, no artificial color! (I wasn't thrilled with the high fructose corn syrup, but since it was low on the list and there was real sugar in it too, I let that slide.)

Kelsey then pointed out that a regular frozen lemonade has only 90 calories as she presented me with its page. It too was dye-free (but it too had HFCS which I was willing to let slide since there was some real sugar too). So my son got the frozen strawberry lemonade and I got the regular frozen lemonade. I love it when a restaurant has good service; restaurants need more people like Kelsey. (It really puts a damper on our visit when we ask about ingredients and they don't know or seem bothered that we ask. Getting service with a smile is so much nicer.)

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad and Frozen Lemonade at Panera Bread

I think that the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad looked even more delicious in real life and it wasn't just "decent" it was HUGE. (Sure, they didn't put the chicken all in the center, but it was fine spread out.) The dressing seemed to be a lemon poppyseed vinaigrette, which I enjoyed. The frozen lemonade was a nice treat on a warm summer day. (Thanks again Kelsey for the suggestion!)

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad - 280 calories

Just look at all the wonderful fruits the salad has! There were strawberry, pineapple, blueberries, and mandarine oranges. I had to wonder if my salad was really only 280 calories with all those pecans, but I didn't give it much thought. I just enjoyed it until I could eat no more. I left about 1/2 the lettuce in the bowl; it was just way too much food.

I enjoyed the salad so much that I'm definitely going to have it as many times as I can while Panera carries it. I hope they have it all summer!