Au Bon Pain was listed as one of America's healthiest restaurants by Health Magazine.
Au Bon Pain not only makes it a goal to provide healthy and nutritious meals but also makes it a priority for you to know what you are eating. Here are a few ways they are reaching their goals every day.
All products provide zero grams of artificial trans fat. Use all natural chicken that are free from preservatives in their salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Provide nutrition kiosks in their company-owned cafés as well as in many franchised cafés. This makes it very easy for guests to not only make informed decisions about what they select; it also outlines allergen information for those that need that information as well.
Provide an interactive computer program called My Plate that allows guests to build healthy meals and learn about the nutrients that are provided in café menus.
Has a Nutrition Advisory Board of health and nutrition experts to help guide menu decisions. Focus on providing vegetarian and reduced-sodium (defined as less than 500 mg/serving) options.
A charter member with Healthy Dining Finder online program to help people find restaurants with healthy dining options. Also works with the Cleveland Clinic to develop meal plans that meet their healthy guidelines.
Cautions to Consider
While allergen information is provided, care must be taken since all key allergens are used and the risk of cross contamination is high.
All bagels are over 300 calories with 1-10 grams of fat. Best choices would be a plain bagel with 280 calories/1 gram fat/430 mg sodium/57 grams carbohydrates/11 grams protein or the Onion Dill Bagel with 290 calories/1 gram of fat/440 mg sodium/58 grams carbohydrate/11 grams protein.
Cookies, Desserts, Danish, Scones, Strudel, Croissants, and Blasts are all high in calories and/or fat and are best left on the menu. Smoothies can be a healthier choice but do tend to be higher in calories and are better choices as a healthy snack on the run instead of with a meal.
Most muffins are high in calories and fat and typically over 400 calories and 15 -25 grams of fat. Your best muffin selection would be the Low-Fat Triple Berry Muffin with 290 calories/2 grams fat/490 mg sodium/67 grams carbohydrates/2 grams fiber/3 grams protein. Breakfast sandwiches also tend to be high in calories, fat and sodium. Your best choice would be an Egg on a Plain Bagel with 360 calories/4 grams fat/780 mg sodium/59 grams carbohydrates/21 grams protein.
Cafe', Hot Sandwiches, Melts, Wraps and Harvest Rice Bowls provide over 550 calories, 20 grams of fat and over a 1000 mg of sodium of nutrient rich ingredients and can be a great selection if you are sharing with someone else or willing to only eat half and save the other half for another meal. The Hot & Cold Lunch Bar provides a variety of healthier options such as Roasted Apple Cranberry Orzo, Salmon Provencal, Spinach and Artichoke lasagna or White bean Cacciatore. All provide about 30-50 calories and 1-3 grams of fat per 1 oz serving. Obviously the key here is portion control because open bars can allow the calories to pile up without realizing it.
The Kids menu provides a smaller sandwich and pasta choice to consider such as the Kid's Buttered Penne Pasta (3.5 oz portion size) with 260 calories/12 grams fat/95 mg sodium/31 grams carbohydrates/1 gram fiber/6 grams protein or the Smoked Turkey Sandwich (7 oz portion size) with 430 calories/11 grams fat/1400 mg sodium/60 grams carbohydrates/2 grams fiber/19 grams protein. The sodium content of the sandwich is high so caution is needed if that is something you are trying to limit.