The following is a post from our sponsor, Panera.
It’s right around this time of year that I begin to realize I am slipping on my perennial New Year’s Resolution: to eat healthier. I start with the best of intentions, but my job gets crazy, the kids need help with homework, and ... it’s easy to slip.
I am always on the lookout for healthy, nutritious, delicious, AND fast alternatives to keep fueled on the go. But, having tried a lot of things, I’m pretty skeptical too. I’ve had the “power bars” that promise a full belly but turn out to be little bricks of sugar, the puffed rice concoctions that taste like cardboard, and the salads advertised as a full meal that don’t even get me through 2 p.m. without me raiding the vending machine. I won’t lie: there’s a part of me that wonders if it’s possible to eat right on the go and be satisfied.
Well, let me rephrase. There is a part of me that wondered that. Because now I know that, yes, it’s possible. And that makes me happy enough to do a little dance, which can only help with these health and fitness goals of mine. Win-win!
I was happy when a Panera opened up just two blocks away from my midtown Manhattan office. Memories of yummy sandwiches floated in my head and I resolved to check it out. But I was even happier when I saw all the healthy new alternatives they have available. I grabbed a Power Chicken Hummus Bowl (from their “Hidden Menu,” which totally made it more intriguing) and brought it back to the office.
Although I’ve always loved Panera’s food, as I mentioned, I have low expectations for salads, but, boy, was I pleasantly surprised. The Power Chicken Hummus Bowl is on a bed of the crispest and tastiest spinach I’ve had in a long time and has a generous helping of diced tomatoes, although delicious and fresh. But, for me, the highlight was the hummus, which came in a convenient little container so I could dip my chicken into it. I thought, “You’ve seen one hummus, you’ve seen them all,” but this one surprised me, with a special spice to it that made it new and interesting.
So imagine how thrilled I was when, a few days later, I got a chance to go watch the Panera head chef, Dan Kish, make this very same dish on The View. Besides all the cool things about watching a TV show live, one of the best parts was getting to talk with Dan backstage.
I told him about my Power Chicken Hummus Bowl experience and how pleasantly surprised I was by it. Besides being a great chef, Dan turned out to be a really nice guy, so he asked me questions that led me to understand that he’s a serious foodie, interested in how his recipes are received by people. “Let me ask you something, how did you feel a few hours after eating it?” he asked.
I told him that, much to my surprise, a few hours after eating the salad, I still felt satisfied (not always the case with me and greens). He explained to me about the lean protein and other chef-y stuff, but honestly, all I remember is that it was delish and I would totally eat it again.
So, thanks Chef Dan for teaching me about what makes the Power Chicken Hummus Bowl both delicious AND satisfying. Perhaps there’s hope for me sticking to my healthy eating resolution after all.
What's your go-to healthy lunch that keeps you satisfied for hours?