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July 13, 2015

Like winter with its call for warm, hearty comfort foods, summer is a time when we crave salads more than ever. Fresh and colorful, light-tasting and easy, it’s a meal that embodies the spirit of the season—while showcasing its bounty, too.

Make the most of summer’s “salad days” by indulging in salads that have the most to offer in terms of nutritional power, variety, and convenience. These five tips and specialty salad picks from Panera Bread will have you going green (and red, blue, yellow…) and feeling as good as your tastebuds.

1. Eat ALL your greens. All lettuce leaves are not created equal. And while that old standby iceberg is indeed a low-cal option, darker greens such as kale and romaine offer more nutrients per bite. That’s not to say you have to stick exclusively with one over another—just try to mix it up day by day or even within a particular salad.

2. Think brighter is be

tter. Because different food colors are linked to different nutrients, experts recommend eating a rainbow at every meal. Have fun and enjoy your favorite fruits as well as veggies! Try the Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad from Panera Bread®. With fresh strawberries, blueberries, and pineapples, plus bright mandarin oranges, it’s a whole spectrum of delicious.

3. Consider the (protein) source. Better food starts with simpler ingredients, and that includes choosing poultry raised without antibiotics at the grocery store or when you’re dining out. Fortunately, this is becoming easier to do now that popular chains such as Panera have joined the “raised without antibiotics” movement. Taste the difference for yourself in their Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken, featuring kale, romaine, and parmesan tossed with Caesar dressing and topped with handmade parmesan crisps.

4. Know how to pack a crunch.

From crunchy nuts to chewy olives, the best salads boast a variety of textures as well as colors. Why not get some grains in there, too? Try the Mediterranean Chicken & Quinoa Salad from Panera which gets a mouthwatering texture boost from toppings like organic quinoa, crisp cucumbers, and toasted almonds.

5. Dress to impress. Salad dressings can be far from simple—just look at the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a life of plain oil and vinegar. Check out Panera’s new “clean” cafe salad dressings that are made without artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Click here to learn more about Panera’s hand-tossed and made-to-order salads, and find a location near you.

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