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June 1st, 2013

Panera Bread

In the mood for a healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at any time throughout the day? Try stepping into Panera Bread for a delicious meal served quickly with healthy options at a good price!

I just love walking into Panera Bread and seeing all of the fresh-made pastries and bread loafs. Everything looks and smells delicious! You won't believe how many options you have to choose from, to include deli sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, smoothies, and more! All meals come with an apple or baked chips. There are also several options for healthy children's meals, which is a bonus that most restaurants are not offering yet these days. My favorite thing about Panera Bread is that they have seasonal items! I love this because it means that they are using only the freshest ingredients to make my sandwich, soup, etc.

Panera Bread bakes its bread daily, as its overall goal is to put a loaf of fresh bread in the hands of everyone. Solving the problem of World Hunger is at the forefront of the minds of the owners of Panera Bread and they have contributed immensely for the cause. So, not only do you get a full belly upon eating there, but you are also contributing to a good cause! :) Hooray for bonuses!

Meals at Panera Bread range in prices between $5.00 - $14.00 per person. It is a bit pricier to eat there compared to most fast food restaurants, but the quality of the food is much better, as only the freshest ingredients are used.

The web site for Panera Bread provides many links such as: nutritional information for the menu, their cause to promote solving World Hunger, their desire to provide quality service to customers, information on their reward card program, catering information, information on eating good clean food that actually tastes great, healthy recipes, tips for gardening, a link to the soup of the day, and more. The only thing you can't do yet is order ahead online for individual meals; however, catered meals can be ordered online after you log in.

Downfalls:
  • Some options are promoted as healthy but are actually high in calories - so be mindful when you order (example: the berry smoothie may sound nutritious - and I'm sure it is in some ways - but it's loaded with calories as well!).
  • Panera Bread cannot offer gluten-free products at this time
  • All food items may come into contact with common allergens at any time throughout the kitchen, so if you are allergic to fish, soy, nuts, eggs, dairy, etc., be mindful of the risks.
  • Carb. and sugar loaded pastries are sold at the register and displayed throughout the pastry window (KEEP YOUR WILLPOWER STRONG! :)
*All information was obtained from: http://www.panerabread.com


May 26th, 2013

Jason's Deli

If you love salad bars and fresh made deli-sandwiches, Jason's Deli is definitely the place to be! Just the smell of Jason's Deli makes me happy! They also serve fresh soups and pasta daily!

Jason's Deli boasts its ability to provide multiple options for its customers from vegetarian, gluten-free, "build-your-own," and even healthy meal options for children in appropriate sizes. Catering and delivery services are also available for reasonable prices.

Prices vary slightly by location, but generally stay within the $5.00 - $10.00 range. This is an extremely great value for the quality and abundance of food provided! They even offer smaller side options for up to a dollar less than the regular price as an incentive to make healthier decisions! According to the website, Jason's Deli was the first fast-food restaurant to stop selling items with artificial trans fat and/or high fructose corn syrup. The salad bar is even stocked with organic items that are prepared daily! No brown lettuce or over-ripe avocados there!

You are also almost 100% guaranteed to get great service from the employees at Jason's Deli, as outstanding leadership courses are provided for all who work there! Jason's Deli clearly cares about its employees lives, both on and off the job, as there are even classes on marriage, budgeting, ethics, conflict resolution, etc. The restaurant even created a non-profit foundation for employees in crisis situations! Talk about a good place to work, huh? :) This plays a larger role in service than some would imagine. If a company takes care of its employees and they feel needed there, they will generally work harder and care more about the service they provide their customers.

The website for Jason's Deli is very easy to navigate as well. Orders can be placed online or by phone and delivery is very fast and accurate! There is a nutrition calculator available on the website so that those with specific intake needs can decide on what to order without having to wonder what is actually going into their food.

The only downfall with Jason's Deli is that some of its sandwiches are high in sodium, but the good news is that there are plenty of other options to make up for it!

*All information was obtained from: http://www.jasonsdeli.com/


May 18th, 2013

Jimmy John's

Okay...so here is my weakness: BREAD! I love love LOVE bread! I love the smell of it, the taste of it, the texture of it! It haunts me in my dreams. :)

So if I love bread so much and we know that bread is full of simple carbs (getting into that later on the main blog page), sugar, and fat, why would I be suggesting Jimmy John's as a restaurant on my healthy blog? Well, I have news for you (in case you didn't know yet)....ready?!

Jimmy John's has unwiches!!!

Aren't you super excited?!? I know I am!

Up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea that Jimmy John's was carrying a healthy option on the menu. Yes they have a GIANT oatmeal raisin cookie, (which sneakily sounds healthy with "oatmeal" and "raisin" thrown in the name) but with the nutritional info. for one cookie coming out to 420.85 calories, 16g of fat, and 65g of carbs (EEEKKK!)...you get the point, right? Put the cookie down and no BODY gets hurt!

So what is an unwich and why is it a good or bad choice for anyone going to the restaurant?

An unwich is a sandwich without the bread! Basically, it's a lettuce wrap. :) Just by cutting out the bread alone, you are saving hundreds of calories and cutting down immensely on your sugar, fat, and carbs intake! Although this a good start to being healthy, you still need to pay attention to what goes inside your unwich! If you take away the bread but add loads of condiments and fatty meats and cheeses, you are defeating the point of getting an unwich in the first place! Jimmy John's will turn any regular sandwich into an unwich for the same price. They also have plenty of freebies to add in the vegetable category...so LOAD UP! They are free after all! :)

My favorites are the vegetarian unwich (light on the provolone!), the tuna unwich, and the turkey tom unwich. By staying away from the salami and the smoked ham (along with loads of provolone cheese), I'm able to keep my fat and sodium intake down while still enjoying a great sandwich (unwich!!!)!

Prices at Jimmy John's are between $5-$12...so basically on par with other fast food restaurants, but you are getting way better quality!

Jimmy John's only uses the freshest vegetables and meat cuts (raised on natural farms and ranches without anti-biotics, packaged without preservatives, and sliced fresh daily in the restaurant to ensure complete freshness!). YUM!

Jimmy John's provides fast and efficient service (even though each sandwich/unwich is prepared only when ordered). There is a drive-through option available at most locations, you can pre-order online, and they even cater! My favorite feature on the Jimmy John's web page is the nutritional page. You can create your own sandwich/unwich on the nutritional page and see the nutrition info. for that specific meal. How great is that?!?!?

*Advice: Skip the chips and the soda fountain and go with water and a pickle. Also, go light on the cheese and the olive oil on your sandwich/unwich!

**Downfall: No healthy side items available...but if you are eating proportionate meals, you may not need a side item anyway :)


May 11th, 2013

Chipotle!!!!!!


Is there seriously anything more delicious than a burrito made with fresh veggies, meat, rice, and various toppings?!? OR...the yummy burrito filling without the carbs of the tortilla and/or rice (aka...the bowl)? ;-)

I absolutely LOVE Chipotle restaurants!!! Finally!!! A "fast-food" chain that serves healthy-ish food with a decent price!

So here is what I truly love most about Chipotle restaurants:

A) They are springing up everywhere! I don't know about outside of no man's land the Midwest, but here, there doesn't seem to be any shopping district without a Chipotle in it...and I'm totally okay with that fact!

B) The prices at Chipotle are better than great! Where else can you get a burrito the size of a baby or a delicious salad-ish bowl of goodness with a drink for under $9.00??

C) Chipotle prides itself on being a health-conscious establishment!!! If you haven't yet, you should definitely check out their web page! All the information about their goal to be healthy is listed there along with a nutrition and dietary needs tracker, which shows gluten-free and lactose free options. If you do get on the website, check out the "Food With Integrity" tab at the top of the page. There, you can find out what Chipotle is doing to ensure that only the best quality and (mostly) locally grown meat and produce is used to stock the restaurant along with what they are doing to help the environment. The chicken is raised without added growth hormones or antibiotics, the dairy comes from pasture-raised cows, the beef and the pork comes from naturally-raised animals (no antibiotics, no growth hormones, fed a vegetarian diet) and the pigs sleep in high-quality comfortable pens, and almost all the ingredients used come from farms in the U.S. within 350 miles from the store!!! Almost half of the veggies used come from organic farms as well! They are limiting the use of GMOs, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives and hoping that one day soon, they won't have to use any at all. Seriously...it does not get better than this for fast Latin-inspired food!!!

D) You can order ahead online and pick up conveniently at the counter upon arrival! Yay for speed, efficiency, and quality food and service!

So....if you haven't tried it out yet - GO TO CHIPOTLE! In no way am I here to advertise for them and they are in no way sponsoring me. This is just part of the blog. :) The only nutrition warning I would give is to watch your sodium intake when you go, as most of the food there is high in it (usual with most Latin-inspired food) and skip the carbs if you are trying to slim down (i.e. get a bowl without rice or brown rice if you absolutely have to have it :).

ENJOY!

*All nutritional information came from the www.Chipotle.com website


May 10th, 2013

Have you ever been invited to go out to eat with friends or family (or maybe even a solo meal), but you felt that there was no way you could find healthy options on the menu?  This page is here to show you that it is possible to eat at a restaurant while sticking to your healthy lifestyle.

The answer lies in ordering correctly!

I know most of us don't want to be the person causing trouble at the table, but keep in mind that the restaurant is there to serve you - the customer.  This means that you are not causing trouble at all!  As a matter of fact, you are actually supporting their business! 

If you enjoyed your meal, ordered the way you wanted it, then you will tell your friends and family about it; thus, creating more business for the restaurant.  If the restaurant cannot handle your special dietary needs, then they don't deserve your money.

This is your body we are talking about people!! Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself!

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