While it seems obvious to stay away from high calorie items at Panera like that delicious pecan roll, if you’re on a diet, you have to be more careful. Sure, a bowl of chicken noodle soup only has 170 calories, but it also has 1330 mg of sodium. That’s almost half of our recommended intake for the day.

Although Panera does well with fresh, clean ingredients, you have to remember that you’re still eating out. Here’s some of the best menu items at Panera if you’re watching what you eat.

If you want something sweet:


Unfortunately, most of the bakery items at Panera are irredeemable if you’re really health conscious. Your best bet to curve that sweet tooth is to stick to a smoothie. Smoothies can provide a ton of antioxidants and other health benefits and the high sugar content is all from natural sugars in the fruit. Some of the best options at Panera are the Superfruit Power Smoothie (210 calories/0 grams fat/30 grams sugar) or the Green Passion Power Smoothie (200 calories/0 grams fat/47 grams sugar).

Chocolate Chip Muffie:

Although a cross between a muffin and a cookie doesn’t sound promising, if you can’t leave the store without a bakery item in your hand, you can compromise with the muffie. Everyone knows the top of the muffin is the best part anyway.

Calories: 320Fat: 14 gramsSaturated Fat: 4 gramsCholesterol: 35 milligramsSodium: 230 milligramsSugar: 28 grams

If you're there for breakfast:

Oatmeal (Power Almond Quinoa or Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans)

None of the breakfast sandwiches at Panera are a great option if you’re looking to be healthy (the best one still has 5 grams of saturated fat and 630 grams of sodium…um, no thank you). Instead, try a bowl of one of Panera’s oatmeals. They’re gigantic and loaded with tons of good for you, but still yummy toppings so you won’t be stuck with boring old oatmeal.

Calories: 300/340Fat: 6 grams/14 gramsSaturated Fat: 1 gram/2 gramsCholesterol: 0 milligrams/0 milligramsSodium: 220 milligrams/160 milligramsSugar: 7 grams/16 grams

Greek Yogurt with Fruit

This yummy parfait is the perfect breakfast treat. Light and refreshing with some yogurt, granola, and mixed berries, there is truly nothing better to wake up to.

Calories: 300Fat: 10 gramsCarbohydrates: 40 gramsSodium: 55 milligramsProtein: 13 grams

If you're there after noon:

Pick Two: Roasted Turkey and Caramelized Kale with a Classic Salad

This sandwich is basically the grown up version of all the turkey sandwiches your mom used to pack you for lunch. Not only is it served on a Black Pepper Focaccia, it also has caramelized kale, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Plus, imagine the beautiful Insta photos you could take of those panini grill marks.

Calories: 360Fat: 16 gramsSaturated Fat: 4 gramsCholesterol: 30 milligramsSodium: 690 milligramsProtein: 15 grams

#SpoonTip: Keep the dressings for your salad light. The Low-fat Thai Chili Vinaigrette, Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette and Asian Sesame Dressing are all healthy ways to make your salad less boring.

Pick Two: Steak and Arugula on Sourdough and Mediterranean & Quinoa Salad with Almonds

The amount of sodium in this pairing is pretty unsavory, but remember that no pairing is going to be perfect when you’re eating out. It’s all about moderation, kids. Either way, the salad contains a ton of great ingredients, like kale, olives, quinoa and almonds. And over 20 grams of protein is guaranteed to keep you full and satisfied for awhile.

Calories: 480Fat: 27 gramsSaturated Fat: 6.5 gramsCholesterol: 45 milligramsSodium: 800 milligramsProtein: 22 grams

Vegetarian Creamy Tomato Soup (Cup):

On those cold days when you want nothing more than a cup of soup, this tomato soup is your best option. Instead of being a bowl full of salt, you’re getting creamy tomato-y goodness. Plus, it also has the added benefit of being vegetarian for all of you on a special diet (sorry, vegans, this doesn’t quite make the cut).

Calories: 210Fat: 14 gramsSaturated Fat: 5 gramsCholesterol: 35 milligramsSodium: 580 milligrams

Calories: 210Fat: 14 gramsSaturated Fat: 5 gramsCholesterol: 35 milligramsSodium: 580 milligrams

Thai Flatbread with Panera Baked Chips

The Thai Chicken Flatbread has 7 grams of protein, which in comparison to some of the “healthy” protein bars out there, stacks up pretty well. Antibiotic free chicken, cilantro jalapeno hummus and nappa cabbage blend with peanut sauce and Thai dressing all combine to form this delectable flatbread that you can’t get just anywhere. Move over Subway.

Calories: 430Fat: 13.5 gramsSaturated Fat: 5 gramsCholesterol: 35 milligramsSodium: 660 milligramsProtein: 7 grams

If you love carbs:

Whole Grain Bread

Panera is a bread company, so it feels wrong not to include your best bread options. Remember that whole grain is usually better for you than white breads are. The serving size is 2 oz, and if you don’t know how much bread that is (I don’t), it’s going to be a small slice, approximately the size of an index card. Go ahead and have two, if the carbs fit your macros.

Calories: 130Fat: 1 gramCarbs: 27 gramsSodium: 250 milligramsFiber: 3 grams

#SpoonTip: Just like with salad dressings, watch your cream cheese portions. Panera has a lot more options than other brands, but the Reduced Fat Wild Blueberry, Reduced Fat Plain, and Reduced Fat Chive and Onion are some of the best choices.

Asiago Cheese Focaccia

Sometimes you’re just craving one of Panera’s specialty breads, like the Asiago Cheese Focaccia. It does have a bit of saturated fat and not as much fiber as the Whole Grain bread, but compare this to another Panera favorite, the cinnamon raisin swirl, and you’re making a much better choice. (12 grams of sugar makes the cinnamon raisin swirl another dessert, rather than a bread). Stick to one slice, and you’re in the clear, enjoying your cheesy goodness.

Calories: 150Fat: 3.5 gramsSaturated Fat: 1.5 gramsCarbs: 24 gramsSodium: 240 milligramsFiber: 1 gram