Food News: Panera Adds Oatmeal, Egg White Sandwiches

It’s been a long time coming, but fast casual bakery and cafe Panera Bread has finally added some healthier breakfast items to their morning lineup. Steel-Cut Oatmeal made with “fresh strawberries, pecans & cinnamon crunch topping” comes in at 320 calories and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and will be served all day long.

Also joining the Steel-Cut Oatmeal (which is made with water, by the way) will be the Mediterranean Egg White Sandwich. Severed on grilled Ciabatta bread, it combines “Egg whites, a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar, roasted tomatoes, fresh spinach, & basil pesto.” At 410 calories, it also packs 21 grams of protein.

What do you think of the new menu items? I’m a little curious why the “aged Vermont Cheddar” appears of the Egg White sandwich (wouldn’t Panera’s in-house Mozzarella be a better choice?”) but commend the chain — once thought of as a ‘healthy’ industry leader — in finally getting behind recent breakfast trends of oatmeal and egg whites.

Let us know what you think, and if you’ve tried either of these new items.

10 comments on “Food News: Panera Adds Oatmeal, Egg White Sandwiches

  1. Ryan says:

    Finally nationwide? Sheesh, the Mediterranean Egg White sandwich has been at my local Panera for months. Oatmeal too. Nice to see it going wide.

    I like that Panera uses VT white cheddar… that’s one of the best parts of their breakfast sandwiches. You can actually taste the cheese… which seems to be a rarity with most other sandwiches for me. I know Vermont White Cheddar isn’t very Mediterranean… but it works well in a breakfast sandwich. I’d think some sort of feta/olive concoction would work too.

    • Keith says:

      Definitely, the Vermont Cheddar is used in their regular egg and cheese sandwiches on ciabatta, and it is excellent. I’ve found that terms like “Mediterranean” (among many others discussed here at GrubGrade) are just marketing buzzwords that have no actual meaning with these chains, even nicer ones like Panera. I guess using pesto is enough.

  2. Shannon says:

    That oatmeal sounds promising especially with the pecan cinnamon crunch topping. I’m assuming that must be where the calories are coming from. Or maybe that is a large serving of oatmeal.

  3. jessyjess says:

    This is odd because Panera in the Chicagoland area has had egg white sandwiches and oatmeal for a while (at least they used to have these items when I lived there). I remember them having a delicious egg white sandwich with VT cheddar and black forest ham awhile over two years ago when I lived around the corner from a Panera.

  4. Chefprotoss says:

    The thick slice of cheddar puzzles me too but for a different reason. Doesn’t it ruin the healthyness of the egg whites? Why not just go all the way at that point? Pesto is made with oil too. Health fail.

    • Keith says:

      I agree Chef. This is one of the reasons I’m against egg white sandwiches and other “healthy options” – are people buying this because it’s healthy, or because it tastes good? Because if you sell healthy food that tastes like crap, no one’s going to buy it no matter what it does for your colon or cholesterol.

      I’ve found that when I want to eat healthy, I eat at home or make myself something. Need a healthy breakfast to go? Grab a yogurt. Want a delicious breakfast sandwich? Then just get the egg yolk and cheese – and most certainly the bacon. These so-called healthy and delicious items popping up tend to be neither so I approach them skeptically, or not at all.

      Now Panera does have some great lunch options that I would definitely consider a healthy alternative to burgers and fries, but without pretense. Breakfast is just a little harder, since a healthy breakfast can be a piece of fruit or the aforementioned yogurt.

      • Just because it’s not a “weight-loss” sandwich, doesn’t make it unhealthy. There’s nothing wrong with cheese or oil in moderation. Your body even needs those healthy fats. Though I do think it would be fine with the yolk, I have never really bought into the egg whites thing.

        A 400 calorie sandwich that’s as full of flavor as this one is ok in my book. That leaves me with PLENTY of calories for lunch and dinner.

  5. Jen says:

    @ Chefprotoss – I’m pretty sure Panera uses olive oil in the pesto – there’s no health fail there. (For those just tuning in…fat is not the enemy, people.)
    As for the cheese – I do the same thing to my own breakfast sandwiches. I substitute the egg yolks with a little bit of cheese. This adds more flavor than the yolks would have added to the sandwich. It ends up being the same amount of calories, but has more flavor.

  6. Ellen says:

    I just tried the oatmeal this morning and loved it. The apple chips and cherries were delicious! Seems far more “Homemade” than oatmeal in other chains. Plus I like my calm oasis with nice classical music playing and sipping my coffee before going to work.

  7. Maria says:

    Not enough fruit. Panera charges $.50 or $1 to add more fruit!

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