Ever had the broccoli and cheddar soup at Panera? If you’ve previously stepped foot inside this popular chain restaurant joint, you know what I’m talking about! Since you’re probably on a low carb, keto diet now there’s only one question to ask – can I eat keto at Panera?
You can, but your options are quite limited. Panera menu items are very high carb and most of them are not even remotely suitable for keto. If you purposely came in to chow down the broccoli and cheddar soup because you’ve heard it’s keto friendly – it is – but not at Panera.
Some local chains offer to put your meal in a lettuce wrap, but that’s something you need to ask for and it’s not a guarantee. Overall, always do the obvious – toss any bread or bagel and most of the time, watch out for high carb dressings.
Also, all the soups are not suitable for keto, so skip on these as well. Some guides mention the Ten Vegetable soup as a low carb option, but you should avoid it since it contains sprouted brown rice and chickpeas. Does it pass the low carb test? Probably. Keto? Not so much.
Read our comprehensive post on keto fast food for more ordering guides.
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If you want to eat keto at Panera, here is what to order:
Panera Bread Keto Breakfast
Panera Bread has a few low carb breakfast options to choose from. Bacon, egg and cheese anyone? Throw a cup of black coffee into the mix or grab a bottle of water. You can also order unsweetened iced tea, but remember to avoid fruity teas filled with sugars.
Here are a few keto Panera menu items you may like:
1. Chipotle Chicken, Scrambled Egg & Avocado Wrap (no tortilla)
First things first, skip on the whole grain tortilla wrap. This breakfast menu item contains smoked, pulled chicken, scrambled eggs, smoked Gouda cheese, peppers, fresh avocado, chipotle aioli, cilantro, salt and pepper. Since we love cilantro and it doesn’t taste like soap to us (thank us later for this fun fact if you didn’t know), this is our favorite low carb breakfast option at Panera.
Nutrition info: 290 calories; 24g fat; 20g protein; 4g total carbs; 2g net carbs
2. Avocado, Egg White & Spinach (no bagel)
Any keto diet vegetarians in the house? This is definitely something you can order at Panera! It has egg whites, aged white cheddar, avocado and spinach. Of course, get it without the bread since it’s high in carbs.
Nutrition info: 160 calories; 11g fat; 13g protein; 4g total carbs; 2g net carbs
3. Sausage, Egg & Cheese (no ciabatta)
This simple and classic breakfast choice is a no brainer. Skip the ciabatta and ask for a bowl, then dig in with a fork. You can order your eggs scrambled or over easy, just ask at the counter.
Nutrition info: 340 calories; 27g fat; 23g protein; 3g total carbs; 3g net carbs
Panera Bread Keto Sandwiches
Toss the bread and most of the time, leave out tomatoes and red onions. Both of these are okay on keto, but depending on the quantity, they may actually increase your daily net carbs quite quickly. Most of these options are filled with lots of protein, so ordering a Panera sandwich without the bread in a bowl is a good idea to keep you full throughout the day.
1. Bacon Turkey Bravo Sandwich (whole, no bread, no sauce)
Grab this sandwich without the bread and the sauce. Chow down on oven roasted turkey breast, Applewood smoked bacon, smoked Gouda, emerald greens, tomatoes, salt and pepper. To make it even more keto, toss out tomatoes as well. You’ll lower your carb count that way since oftentimes they’re on a keto “gray list”.
Nutrition info: 450 calories; 29g fat; 39g protein; 9g total carbs; 8g net carbs
2. Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT Sandwich (whole, no bread, no tomatoes)
Skip the sourdough and tomatoes if you want to bring down net carbs as low as possible. Enjoy roasted turkey, Applewood smoked bacon, greens, fresh avocado (a good source of healthy fats!), mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Don’t forget to ask for a bowl and a fork!
Nutrition info: 450 calories; 34g fat; 34g protein; 6g total carbs; 2g net carbs
3. Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt Sandwich (whole, no bread)
Make it keto friendly and pass on the focaccia. This “sandwich” contains smoked, pulled chicken, smoked Gouda, avocado, cilantro, peppers and chipotle sauce. Although it has a bit more carbs than other low carb options at Panera Bread, we’ll give it extra brownie points for the taste.
Nutrition info: 490 calories; 37g fat; 29g protein; 11g total carbs; 7g net carbs
4. Steak & White Cheddar Sandwich (whole, no ciabatta, no pickled onions)
Ask for no bread and remove pickled onions to keep it extra low carb. It’s a sandwich with grass fed beef, aged white cheddar and horseradish sauce. We usually order a side of avocado and an over easy egg to make it more of a hearty meal.
Nutrition info: 470 calories; 27g fat; 35g protein; 14g total carbs; 11g net carbs
Keto Panera Bread Salads
When in doubt at any chain or fast food restaurant, check out salads. However, make sure to watch out for things like croutons, raisins, and especially sugary dressings. Panera used to carry the Seasonal Greens Salad, but it was taken off their menu last year and their fans are literally in tears. So are we.
But – there are still a few salads to choose from. Check out our keto, low carb picks:
1. Greek Salad (whole)
You don’t need to skip anything with this menu item. Make sure you order the regular Greek salad instead of the modern Greek salad. The latter has quinoa, which is obviously not a part of the keto diet. It contains romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, feta, red onions, kalamata olives, keto friendly Greek dressing, salt and pepper. If you want to go extra low carb, you can skip on the red onions and tomatoes and ask for a side order of avocado to up your healthy fats for the day.
Nutrition info: 380 calories; 36g fat; 7g protein; 16g total carbs: 9g net carbs
2. Caesar Salad with Chicken (whole, no croutons)
When you’re ready to order, simply ask for the Caesar salad, no croutons. We always ask you to mostly stay away from all kinds of sauces and dressings since they’re usually packed with hidden sugars, but surprisingly the Caesar dressing from Panera Bread is low carb. Pick up a fork, ask for a bowl and enjoy this keto friendly salad with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan and Caesar dressing.
Nutrition info: 400 calories; 26g fat; 32g protein; 10g total carbs; 7g net carbs
3. Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken (whole, no pickled onions)
Full of protein to keep you full throughout the day, this low carb salad consists of grilled chicken, arugula, romaine lettuce, baby kale and red leaf blend, grape tomatoes, avocado, Applewood smoked bacon and a hard-boiled egg. To make it even more keto, you can skip tomatoes and try out a different dressing or remove it altogether.
Nutrition info: 500 calories; 30g fat; 42g protein; 17g total carbs; 10g net carbs
Keto Friendly Salad Dressings
You can order these in half or whole portions. A half is approximately 1.5 tbsp, and a whole is 3 tbsp.
Here are your low carb and keto diet options and their nutrition information per serving:
- Asian Sesame Vinaigrette (half): 45 calories; 4g fat; 0g protein; 2g total carbs; 2g net carbs
- Caesar dressing (half): 90 calories; 9g fat; 0g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Chili Lime Rojo Ranch (half): 45 calories; 4g fat; 1g protein; 2g total carbs; 2g net carbs
- Green Goddess dressing (half): 40 calories; 3.5g fat; 1g protein; 2g total carbs; 2g net carbs
- Greek dressing (half): 110 calories; 12g fat; 1g protein; 0g total carbs; 0g net carbs
- Olive oil
Keto Friendly Extras
If you want to do keto at Panera Bread the right way, you can always substitute high carb ingredients with more low carb friendly ones. For example, ask for avocado and bacon to up your fats, or add a hard boiled egg to get more protein in your diet.
Here’s a list of foods you can add to your order and their nutrition information per serving:
- Avocado (1 portion): 80 calories; 9g fat; 1g protein; 4g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Bacon (3.5 strips): 120 calories; 9g fat; 10g protein; 0g total carbs; 0g net carbs
- Pork sausage (1 patty): 160 calories; 11g fat; 13g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Scrambled egg: 100 calories; 7g fat; 8g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Egg whites (1 portion): 30 calories; 0g fat; 6g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Over Easy Egg: 70 calories; 5g fat; 6g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Pickle spear: 5 calories; 0g fat; 0g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Vermont white cheddar (1 slice): 80 calories; 7g fat; 5g protein; 0g total carbs; 0g net carbs
- Steak (1 portion): 70 calories; 2.5g fat; 11g protein; 0g total carbs; 0g net carbs
- Tomatoes (2 slices): 5 calories; 0g fat; 0g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
- Spinach (1 serving): 0 calories; 0g fat; 0g protein; 0g total carbs; 0g net carbs
Our Final Opinion
It’s not the easiest thing to stay low carb at Panera. With a whole range of bakery goods, it’s easy to get tempted and eat something high carb when you know you shouldn’t be. Stick to the options we provided you with above and you should be perfectly fine.
We always encourage everyone to prepare their own meals at home. You pick and choose your ingredients, know what’s in them and how it affects your nutrition needs. The tricky thing about eating out is that not every fast food place or chain restaurant has a comprehensive nutrition guide.
Panera Bread does have a list, but it doesn’t give you macros for ingredients separately. So, unless you’re a math wiz, it may take you a bit longer to figure out which items are low in net carbs.
Our favorite picks at Panera are the Greek salad (since you don’t have to customize anything here), the Caesar salad with chicken (hold the croutons) and the Chipotle chicken, scrambled egg and avocado wrap – without the tortilla, of course.
Not sure about Panera? Check out our guides on how to eat keto at Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts and Wendy’s.