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Lunch Break Quiz: Panera Vs. Cosi

Find out which sandwiches, salads, and soups are healthier at each chain.

This week’s Lunch Break pits two more popular lunch chains against one another: Panera Bread and Cosi. 

The two fast-casual restaurants tout their fresh breads (and for Panera, their infamous bread bowls) and sandwich-salad-soup combos. But which one offers the healthier chicken salad or hearty soup? Test your knowledge and take our quiz.

Panera

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

An 8.7-ounce bread bowl filled with broccoli and cheddar soup.

Cosi

Southwest Corn and Turkey Chili

White bean chili with turkey, green peppers, onions, green chilies, cilantro, and lime.

This soup is 330 calories on its own, but the bread bowl adds another 660 calories and 1,340 milligrams of sodium to your meal. There’s no winning this one.
A regular ten-ounce bowl contains a decent 289 calories and 16 grams of protein from the beans and turkey to keep you satiated.

Panera

Thai Chicken Salad

All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken with romaine lettuce, Thai cashews, edamame, red peppers, carrots, cilantro, wonton strips, and Thai chili vinaigrette and peanut sauce.

Cosi

Tandoori Chicken Salad

Mixed greens with red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, tandoori chicken, and peppercorn-ranch dressing.

Opt for the half salad, with 240 calories and a reasonable 550 milligrams of sodium and 19 grams of protein.
It’s much lower in calories—at just 198—but contains almost 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

Panera

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, mixed greens, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, apple chips, and white balsamic apple vinaigrette.

Cosi

Signature Salad

Mixed greens with red grapes, pears, pistachios, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola cheese, and sherry-shallot vinaigrette.

It is less in calories than Cosi’s option at 550, and contains a decent 6 grams of fiber and 32 grams of protein.
This has a huge dose of vitamin A (167 percent of your recommended daily intake), but also 45 grams of fat. It wins extra points for being vegetarian-friendly.

Panera

Smoked Turkey on Three-Cheese Panini

Smoked turkey breast, smoked bacon, smoked cheddar, and sundried tomato ale mustard on three-cheese bread.

Cosi

Chicken TBM Sandwich

All-natural grilled chicken with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and Cosi’s signature vinaigrette.

It contains less calories and fat content, but not by much, and the lack of veggies doesn’t help its case. Plus an entire sandwich will set you back a whopping 2,590 milligrams of sodium.
At 743 calories and 38 grams of fat, this sandwich isn’t perfect. But at least you have the vitamin-rich tomatoes and some greens going for you.

More Lunch Break Quizzes:

Cava Grill vs. Roti

Subway vs. Quiznos

Chipotle vs. Baja Fresh

Photographs via Panera and Cosi’s Facebook pages and Flickr users wickenden, shoshanah, and joelk75.

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