Healthiest and Worst

The Healthiest and Worst Things to Eat at Au Bon Pain

Consider this your Au Bon Pain guide to healthy eating.


Au Bon Pain. Photograph by Flickr/Prayitno

Given that Au Bon Pain has several locations scattered around Philly’s downtown area, it’s a obvious go-to for a quick breakfast or lunch. However, the menu at this bakery cafe is extensive, which can make it challenging to scan, find something healthy, and get back on your way.

Related: The Healthiest and Worst Things to Eat at Honeygrow

To that end, we asked registered dietitian Amy von Sydow Green to help us filter through the great and not-so-great menu options. Consider this your quick-and-easy guide to eating well at Au Bon Pain.

BREAKFAST

HEALTHIEST: 2 Eggs and Turkey Sausage on a Skinny Wheat Bagel

Nutrition facts: 310 calories, 16g fat, 660mg sodium, 22g carbs, 7g fiber, 1g sugar, 23g protein

Why’s it good?  “It provides 310 calories and 23 grams of protein, enough to keep you going until lunch. Go for full eggs instead of egg whites to make sure you get all the nutrients from the yolk: fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and E and choline that is important for brain health. I always advice my clients to make sure to include a protein source in their breakfast in order to balance blood sugar and have lasting fullness. The whole wheat bagel adds fiber (7 grams, aim for 25 grams per day, at least), which adds to the satiety factor of this sandwich. For a veggie and healthy fat boost, ask for added tomato and avocado.”

Good vegetarian option: Superfood Cranberry Almond Hot Cereal with a hard-boiled egg on the side.

WORST: 2 Eggs, Sausage, and Cheddar on an Asiago Bagel

Nutrition facts: 660 calories. 35g fat, 1140mg sodium, 48g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, 36g protein

Why’s it bad?  “The 2 Eggs, Sausage, and Cheddar on Asiago Bagel packs a hefty 660 calories and 16 grams of saturated fat (10 grams more than the healthy breakfast sandwich above, which has 6 grams). The fiber content is low due to it not being made on a whole-wheat bread.”

SANDWICHES

HEALTHIEST: The Tuna Salad Sandwich on Sprouted Grain Bread

Nutrition facts: 460 calories, 10g fat, 580mg sodium, 60g carbs, 9g fiber, 7g sugar, 36g protein

Why’s it good? “The Tuna Salad Sandwich on sprouted grain is record high in protein while still very reasonable when it comes to calories and sodium. This is a great way to get your daily omega-3s in, and would be a perfect choice after a tough lunch workout. The fiber content is high as well due to the high fiber bread and veggies (celery, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes).

WORST: Black Angus Steak and Cheese

Nutrition facts: 790 calories, 38g fat, 1410mg sodium, 60g carbs, 3g fiber, 8g sugar, 49g protein

Why’s it bad? “The sodium content is through the roof at and the saturated fat content is high as well. If you can’t resist it, you could make it a little healthier by asking for half the amount of horseradish aioli and three-cheddar blend.”

SALADS

HEALTHIEST: Southwest Chicken Salad

Nutrition facts: 350 calories, 14g fat, 580mg sodium, 36g carbs, 9g fiber, 8g sugar, 24g protein

Why’s it good? “The Southwest Chicken salad is a wonderfully balanced lunch: You’ve got your protein covered (24 grams, primarily from the chicken and black beans), ten grams of fiber (from black beans and other veggies), and there is healthy monounsaturated fat from fresh avocado. Black beans contain plant compounds with an anti-inflammatory effect. This is a salad that can power you through well until your afternoon snack.”

WORST: Harvest Turkey Salad

Nutrition facts: 390 calories, 15g fat, 790mg sodium, 35g carbs, 6g fiber, 25g sugar, 30g protein

Why’s it bad? “The Harvest Turkey salad has some nice qualities: the roast turkey protein, spinach for your daily greens, and healthy fats in the walnuts. However, it also provides 25 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of sugar. This is the same amount that World Health Organization recommends you should stay under in an entire day. Add a packet of balsamic vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself an additional 6 grams.”

SOUPS

HEALTHIEST: Swiss Chard and Three Bean Soup 

Nutrition facts (for size medium): 210 calories, 4.5g fat, 710mg sodium, 35g carbs, 10g fiber, 3g sugar, 7g protein

Why’s it good? “When picking a healthy soup, generally try to steer away from the cream-based options to avoid a high level of saturated fat, and go for a veggie-packed soup labeled low-sodium. The Swiss Chard and Three Bean Soup is vegan and gluten free. It provides a wonderful ten grams of fiber (beans are a great fiber source) and seven grams of protein. While the sodium content is not super low (710 mg), you can still easily manage to stay under 2400 mg (as recommended by the American Heart Association) if you’re mindful of your choices the rest of the day.”

WORST: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Nutrition facts (for size medium): 340 calories, 24g fat, 1040mg sodium, 20g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g sugar, 10g protein

Why’s it bad? “Even though the broccoli cheddar soup technically contains some veggie, there isn’t very much of it! This choice is high in sodium and saturated fat (11 grams) but low in fiber.”

BAKERY TREATS

HEALTHIEST: Brownie Bites

Nutrition facts (for 5.1-ounce package): 600 calories, 25g fat, 290mg sodium, 82g carbs, 2g fiber, 55g sugar, 5g sugar

Why’s it good? “When it comes to that afternoon sweet treat, I’m all about it, but in a sensible portion. Craving a brownie? Go for the brownie bites, and share with 2 friends (or divide up and save for later in the week). If you divide the brownie bites by 3, they’ll be worth 200 calories and 18 grams sugar. Share a fruit cup and some mixed nuts as well, and have a fun snack break!”

WORST: Banana Walnut Muffin

Nutrition facts: 540 calories, 28g fat, 310mg sodium, 64g carbs, 3g fiber, 31g sugar, 8g protein

Why’s it bad? “Muffins are a pet peeve of mine because of their health halo. The Banana Walnut Muffin may sound like a wholesome and nutritious breakfast item, but it’s high in calories and sugar and low in fiber. It’s going to leave you with a blood sugar spike, and no lasting fullness. Craving a sweet pastry for breakfast? Go for the plain croissant (280 calories, 4 grams sugar) and add a little jam for sweetness. Add two hard-boiled eggs to cover your protein.”

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