As summer approaches and the weather warms up, the first thing we want is something cold to drink. I was curious to find drinks that Panera Bread advertises as their “Summer Drinks” to be anything but nutritious, refreshing or healthy. Now, there are a few options on their menu you can choose to satisfy these requirements. Lets first look at their “Frozen Mocha”
Craving coffee and something sweet? Many people choose Frozen Chocolate drinks as their drink of choice. Besides the 540 calories in the drink, lets look deeper at whats in the drink…
Water, mediterranean blend (100% arabic coffee extract, cane sugar, natural & artificial mocha flavor, xanthan gum), half and half (milk, cream, disodium phosphate), bittersweet chocolate flavored syrup (corn syrup, sugar, water, sweetened condensed milk [pasteurized milk, sugar], alkalized cocoa powder, natural flavors, glycerin, guar gum, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate as preservative, salt, carrageenan, chocolate, citric acid), whipped cream (cream, water, sugar, non-fat dry milk, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, dextrose, natural vanilla).
Way too many gums, corn syrups and words that I can’t pronounce! This drink is anything but healthy.
Instead of choosing the Frozen Mocha, to crave your Coffee Sweet tooth, choose an “Iced Mocha”, this is still going to be high in sugar, but there’s a whole lot less artificial ingredients in this one. Now the hot version has 360 calories at Panera Bread, but I’d bet it’s a lot less over ice. A basic Iced Mocha at any Coffeehouse consists of; Espresso, chocolate syrup, Milk (soy is best option when available, if not then Whole MILK), and Ice.
Another popular Summer Drink is the Frozen Lemonade, this contains 160 calories. But there really is no nutritional content or benefits like drinking Iced Tea. It’s basically all sugar. Here’s the ingredient list of Panera Bread’s Frozen Lemonade : Water, lemonade concentrate (sugar syrup, water, concentrated lemon juice, citrus pulp, natural flavor).
I’d be wary of the “natural flavors” That could mean anything really… and we have no idea what exactly it is.
A better choice, would be the Acai Berry Iced Tea. It’s fruity and refreshing, and with 0 calories there’s nothing to worry about!
Low-Fat Strawberry Smoothie with Ginseng
Wow. This one is the most misleading overall! You see “smoothie, low-fat, and ginseng”…so you think That’s Healthy. You couldn’t be more wrong on this one! I heard from a source that Panera Smoothies are made with a powder base, and there are no FRESH fruits in ANY of the smoothies. So stay away. Here’s a look at the ingredients:
Strawberry fruit base (strawberry puree, apple puree, water, sugar, grape juice concentrate, natural flavors, vitamins [vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6 and B12], panax ginseng), organic low fat french vanilla yogurt (cultured pasteurized organic low fat milk, naturally milled organic sugar, organic natural vanilla flavor, pectin, vitamin D3, cultures including S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, Bifidus, L. casei and L. rhamanosus), water.
Strawberry fruit base? grape juice concentrate? natural flavors? All things to be wary of. It is 280 calories , just because there’s only 1.5 grams of fat does NOT make this a healthy drink.
A better option? The Iced Green tea with 90 calories or even better the Tropical Hibiscus Iced tea (which is delicious) which is a fresh brewed 0 calorie Iced Tea.
What are you drinking?
All drink ingredients can be found at Panerabread.com