If you are following a vegan diet and find yourself needing to find a nice, casual restaurant for a meeting or quick lunch while running errands there is no need to worry; you can choose from a wide selection of fast food options for a complete plant-based meal that will not affect your diet and exercise success. From Taco Bell to Einstein Brothers if you do some research ahead of time you can create a go to list of fast food chains that will leave you feeling full and guilt free. Panera Bread offers a variety of vegan options that you can try for breakfast or lunch with some minor tweaks for a balanced meal/snack. 

4 Healthy Vegan Choices at Panera Bread

I love that Panera has a selection of menu items that can be easily customized to fit ones vegan-friendly appetite. So, if you are looking for how to order the best vegan options at Panera Bread, here are smart choices in the four food categories:

1.Vegan Bread at Panera Bread

The vegan bagel options bagels include plain, everything, blueberry, sesame, whole grain, and sprouted grain flat.

Don’t go near the white and honey wheat (they contain dairy), but def checkout country, whole grain, rye, sourdough, French baguette, black pepper focaccia, sprouted grain roll, and ciabatta options. AND the iconic Panera bread bowl is sourdough! These are delish carb options that you can pair with a protein source such as seitan + avocado (Panera offers) for a delish sandwich option and pair with volume

/color such as a cup of fruit or side salad.

2. Vegan Salads at Panera

These salads need to be customized and here is how: Ask for no meat, cheese, or egg, and substitute these items with avocado (they’ll do it for free). You can ADD to your salad a variety of toppings such as pickled red onions, bean corn salsa, crispy carrots, apple chips, and pecans. The vegan dressings available are Balsamic, poppyseed, fuji apple, Asian, and Greek dressings. You may want to throw in there some roasted edamame and one of the breads above mentioned for a balanced meal.

3. The one Vegan Sandwich at Panera

There is one vegan sandwich option—with a little tweak. Order the Mediterranean Veggie without feta and ask for it on vegan-friendly bread (listed above). This sandwich is packed with peppadew peppers, lettuce, tomato, cumbers, hummus, and red onions. This does not offer much protein, consider pairing this with lupini beans or edamame. You may want to order a side salad or a cup of fresh fruit to pair with this sandwich for color/volume and fiber!

 4. Vegan Drinks at Panera can add a sweet component to your meal

The Peach & Blueberry with Almond Milk and the Green Passion Smoothie are both vegan. Each is made with a blend of fruit purées, juice concentrates, and ice. Consider throwing in some unflavored protein powder to help with balancing your blood sugar and to keep you satisfied! For some caffeine, pair any of the black coffees (dark roast, hazelnut, light roast) with almond milk, or try the Madagascar Vanilla Almond Cold Brew. Avoid the lattes—they contain hidden dairy that can’t be tweaked for a vegan version. 

For sweet and refreshing flavored lemonades or fruity iced teas, try Strawberry Lemon Mint Lemonade (20 oz 280 calories), Mango Yuzu Citrus Lemonade (20 oz 350 calories), and Passion Papaya Iced Green Tea (20 oz 140 calories) are all particularly interesting! Just be aware of the calories each provides.


Do you need help navigating your plant-based diet for weightloss success? Schedule a Free Consultation Call with me, a Vegan Registered Dietitian.

Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN