80% Primal… with Panera’s Broth Bowls

As we all know, it’s sometimes very difficult to choose “fast food” meals that adhere to our primal lifestyle, other than the normal chicken and vegetables combination (insert yawn here). Luckily, there’a solution that falls in the 80% primal category. My husband and I went to Panera a few days ago and discovered their new broth bowls that are very close to my primal nutrition goals. There are two different types, but only one really sounded appealing to me. I was apprehensive at first because I normally only try new dishes once I’ve seen a picture of them, but my gut told me to go for it. I’m super glad that I did because my dish was delicious!

I’ve always considered Panera to be a restaurant that is moving in the right direction when it relates to food sources. Their chicken is raised without using antibiotics, and they use cage-free eggs. They use a lot of organic products (quinoa, for example), and their food is always fresh. They even have a “Eating Well, Your Way” menu for those who are vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, vegan, etc. Plus, they always post the calories of every food on their menu, supporting their “translucent menu” campaign. Pretty impressive strides for a food chain. That’s probably why they always have a packed house throughout the entire day…and why you can’t ever find a parking spot there.

So, back to the dish… I tried out the Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Chicken. The broth made my taste buds host a dance party, and the flavor of all of the other ingredients was phenomenal. It almost had a vegetable soup taste, but with lots of extra seasonings. The chicken was sliced perfectly, too. I absolutely hate thick-cut chicken in soups or other similar dishes because it makes them becoming an overbearing ingredient, so this was definitely a pleasant surprise. No flavors or items in the soup were overbearing – they all blended flawlessly.

Broth Bowl at Panera

This particular soup is also available with a hard-boiled egg, but that did not sound appetizing to me. Maybe it will to you, though. If you try it, just don’t gag like I did when I recently re-tried beef jerky. Ugh. That stuff is disgusting.

Other than the bowl not being completely primal, there is one major drawback: sodium intake. This bowl has 1370 mg of sodium… wowzas, that’s a lot!  Plus, if you’re trying to tone down the number on the scale, the carb amount in this meal is probably the amount you’d allow for two meals. An exception every once in a while is allowed… don’t forget that.

So, if you’re running errands and can’t get back to a home-cooked meal for lunch or dinner, try this out. You’ll be glad you did!

Disclaimer: This dish would not be something you’d want to enjoy every day due to it not adhering to the primal lifestyle and having such a high sodium content. However, when you’re on the go or in a hurry, it’d definitely be a tasty alternative if you didn’t pack a lunch. It’s much better than all of that processed food thousands of Americans eat every day. Of course, the best foods to enjoy are ones you’ve prepared yourself! Just saying…

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