So ladies & gentlemen let's commence the comparisons. . . .For starters I won't be doing a taste testing this until the weekend so we're going to go off of the nutritional value & ingredient lists only
WENDY'S: BERRY ALMOND CHICKEN SALAD (minus the dressing)
PANERA BREAD: STRAWBERRY POPPY SEED CHICKEN SALAD (minus the dressing)
- CALORIES: Despite Panera's salad being bigger in size it packs less of a caloric punch when you subtract the dressing (however I will say when you add it to the salad it still wins this category)
- FAT: Being that both contain nuts & chicken they should be very close in fat content and they are but what makes Wendy's salad have slightly more Fat than Panera's is that Wendy's include Asaigo Cheese. Now I'm unsure at this point if you're able to ask for this to be taken off or put to the side seeing as they they sometimes have the items like this in separate packets. So Panera wins this category too
- CARBOHYDRATES: Ahhhhhh the category that drives most people BATTY. . .this should be an easy guess as to which one has more carbs than the other based on the ingredients and that would be Panera. Wendy's salad is only packing a total 19g of carbs because there are only 2 fruits included (Strawberries & Blueberries). Where on the other hand Panera has a total of 28g of carbs due mostly to the 4 fruits included on their salad (Strawberries, Blueberries, Mandarin Oranges & Pineapple). Now obviously you can pick and choose which ones you'd like to include or exclude on your salad to alter this number to better fit into your daily nutritional needs. I'm not going to sit here and preach your head off about eating fruit and where it falls on the glycemic index. I'll just say like with anything else be mindful and eat in moderation and only on occasion. Basically don't go and OD on fruit!!
- SUGAR: I'll just glaze over this quickly but again Panera has the higher sugar content again because of all the fresh fruit included. Now if we use the basic 2000 calories a day intake then your daily sugar limit should be about 50g. So basically you'll go from there in determining what your intake would be based on how many calories you're consuming or should consume a day. With that being said this falls well within your daily allotment. Also the sugar from the fruit is so much better than that from juices or artificial additives added to most foods (high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, concentrated fruit juice sweetener, etc)
- PROTEIN: Ok again the amount of protein should be the same since they both include chicken & nuts but Wendy's slightly edges out Panera.If you look at the chart above the chicken on both salads are giving you 25-27g of protein but when you look at Wendy's you'll see you're getting an extra 8g of protein which is coming from the cheese. So if you subtract the cheese like I would then these two would be almost identical in this category.
- SODIUM: Seeing as though this is NOT a major macronutrient category I thought it was still important to include it because people ignore this a lot of times when eating out, at home, frozen items etc. Now this category is where Panera BLOWS Wendy's out of the water!! Panera's sodium total is 220mg which is very acceptable and is coming mostly from the chicken. However our friend Wendy's is packing a WHOPPING 780mg of sodium. WHEWWWW LAWD THAT IS TOO MUCH!! For starters 470mg of that comes from the chicken so its a no brainer that salt is the major component in their seasoning process. Then the almonds have been roasted and topped with sea salt but that's only giving us 50mg which is acceptable, where we tip the scales is with the Asaigo Cheese. Yet another good reason to NOT include the cheese on this salad. If I were to eat this the way its included here my body would immediately tell me there was too much sodium because I tend to limit my intake.
All in All I would say these 2 salads are kind of close in comparison on paper despite a few things that I would subtract for my personal taste. So if you find yourself in a PINCH and you've got to go out and make a quick choice this would suffice. But remember to evaluate your nutritional intake for the day and make substitutions and subtractions based on your needs for the day. Now the next thing for me to do is to give the Wendy's salad a try and report back to you. However if any of you have tried it let us know whatcha think :)