When first transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, I was a little intimidated by eating out. I wanted to stick to my diet and do what I believed was best for my health, animals, and the environment. Throughout my experience as being a vegan, I've learned what questions to ask and how to read ingredient lists in order to know which foods are ok to eat.

Panera is perfect for college students because it's relatively affordable and it consistently has delicious meals at all their locations. The staff is very friendly and willing to work with the customer to alter meals to their liking. If you're thinking about going vegan and are hesitant to eat out, or just want quick healthy meal on the go, Panera should be your go to place. I've done the dirty work and constructed a list of everything cruelty-free, yet tasty to eat, all for under $10. 


Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you're driving to class and there is a Panera near by, their Blueberry Bagel, Everything Bagel, Whole Grain Bagel, Plain Bagel, Sesame Bagel, and Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat are all vegan and less than $1.39. Have a plain bagel or Ciabatta bread with avocado, spinach, and tomatoes instead of egg or cheese for a filling breakfast that costs about $5. If you're into a more savory meal top your bagel with preserves and or peanut butter for a total of $2.97.


Surprisingly, a good portion of Panera's breads are vegan. Their Whole Grain, Sour Dough, Country, Hoagie Roll, Tomato Basil, French Baguette, Sea Salt Focaccia, Ciabatta, Sesame Semolina, Rye, and Sprouted Grain Roll are all vegan. For lunch feel free to pick any of these breads and add your favorite veggies. My favorite is the Veggie Sandwich with no cheese for $6.89. 


My absolute favorite salad at Panera is their new Roasted Beet, Quinoa, and Citrus Salad with no cheese ($9.39). But if this doesn't sound appealing, the Chinese Citrus Cashew Salad with avocado rather than chicken is a great alternative ($9.39). Other vegan salads include, the Spicy Tai Salad with no chicken ($9.19), the Modern Greek Salad with quinoa and no cheese ($8.99), and the Seasonal Greens Salad ($6.39). 


Sadly, the only vegan soup at Panera is the Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup. I do love this soup especially with a side of bread to dip in it, but I do wish Panera had more options. 


On the side of your dish, the Carrot Pineapple Smoothie ($4.49) and Green Passion Smoothie ($4.39) are great beverage options. 

Panera has a plethora of vegan dishes as well as dishes that can easily be altered to make vegan. The best part is, they're all under $10. Don't listen to the stigma that being vegan is expensive, at Panera it is simple to get a nutrient dense dish without putting a dent in your wallet.