Panera is one of my favorite fast casual spots to go, because their menu is full of colorful veggies and fresh meals. From a low FODMAP perspective, options do become limited, but thankfully Panera makes it easy to customize your order. If you get overwhelmed doing this with a store associate, you can simple order ahead on your phone, or order from a kiosk in store. You can truly make the meal your own, which is a huge bonus. Here are a few things to look out for, and a few safe options for you to choose!
Skip the pastries and bread
I know it’s hard to go to a bread-focused restaurant and not enjoy the bread, but your best low FODMAP option is to do without. All breads contain wheat, and the sourdough bread is not slow fermented so it still contains a larger amount of fructan (read more about choosing sourdough here). If you have reintroduced wheat and can tolerate small amounts, you can try one of the breads, made without any added onion or garlic, and do the pick 2 option with a half sandwich.
Remove high FODMAP ingredients
When customizing your meals, remove added ingredients like onion, avocado, and apples. Get salads without dressing since all contain onion and/or garlic, or put the dressing on the side if you know you can tolerate small amounts. For oatmeal, remove honey and granola, as it’s made with honey and wheat.
What not to choose
Soups, broth bowls, and pastas will not be possible on the low FODMAP diet. All have either onion, garlic, wheat, or lactose.
What to choose
For breakfast, you can get a breakfast sandwich without the bread, choosing either whole eggs or egg whites, proteins, and low FODMAP veggies. The summer fruit cup, or the greek yogurt without granola is a great side option! You can also get any of the oatmeals, just remove honey, granola, and apples. When I need an extra protein boost, I will add a side of peanut butter.
Salads are easy to customize and make low FODMAP, for lunch and dinner options. Bring your own low FODMAP dressing to add more flavor, or talk to the associate about getting only olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. The seasoned grilled chicken options are marinated in onion/garlic, so avoid these and ask for plain chicken, quinoa, or eggs as your protein options. These salads are easiest to customize:
Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken
Spinach, Bacon & Poppyseed Salad with Chicken (no pickled onion)
Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa (no tomato sofrito)
Seasonal Greens Salad with protein of choice (no onion)
Greek Salad with protein of choice (no onion)
For sides, potato chips are low FODMAP, or you can go for the summer fruit cup.
Drinks can be tricky. Coffee and low FODMAP teas will be fine, as long as you don’t add honey, artificial sweeteners, or lactose. You can also ask for lattes made with soymilk. You can get a unsweetened iced black tea or the iced passion papaya green tea, but avoid other flavored teas. For lemonade, your safe option is the blood orange lemonade. Avoid the agave lemonade, as agave is high FODMAP.
The smoothies may seem tempting, but each smoothie is made with a high FODMAP fruit base, so it’s best to stay away from these. Sodas and seltzer waters may be low FODMAP, but the carbonation can still lead to bloating, so ti may be best to avoid these, as well.