So, apparently Panera has a HIDDEN menu…

I just heard – Panera has healthier, low-calorie menu options!  From what I can tell, there are options that are gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.   Oh, but they are on a secret menu…

For the new year, Panera started serving a “hidden menu” that has lower calorie paleo-ish items.  This is great… in theory.  Panera’s made-to-order business model certainly allows for enough customization of the menu for just about anyone to stick to their chosen diet.  However, so many of their soups and sandwiches are sneakily caloric.  Even the salads have piles of nuts and cheese, which certainly pack on the calories (they are calorie-dense, even if they ARE delicious and have some nutritional value).  I was pretty excited to learn that they are now offering these newer items – things like a Mediterranean Chicken (or turkey) Salad, Chicken Hummus Bowl, or Steak Lettuce Wraps.  Nice.

Here’s my problem with this – WHY is it a hidden menu?  At this time of year, when everyone is thinking about healthier lifestyles (whether a New Year’s Resolution or just getting back on track after the holidays), they could probably draw in a lot of business with these options.  Plus, without advertising the menu, people might not hear about it, and it won’t be profitable.  If it isn’t profitable, it won’t last.  This is sad – there aren’t many quick, healthy options out there, and I think people would embrace these items if they were on the regular menu.

So, if you want to try it (and you are in the U.S.), you have to tell the cashier that you are ordering from the hidden menu… and try not to feel silly doing so!  Next time I go to Panera, I plan to give it a whirl.  If anything, I will be voting with my wallet.

Isn’t the whole thing kind of strange, though?  Why develop a new menu concept, but then not do everything possible to make it succeed?

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“Resolved: Eat the Damn Cookie”

Resolved: Eat the Damn Cookie | Runner’s World & Running Times.

I don’t really go for New Year’s Resolutions.  I generally try to pull my eating back on track after an indulgent holiday season, but resolutions, in and of themselves, just don’t work for me.  I like Mark Remy’s take here.  It is an exercise in moderation – and not sweating the small stuff.

That being said, I do want to drop some pounds.  I have my goal race in April, and my sister is getting married in May.  I have a hell of a semester coming up, so I want to maximize this slightly quieter time in my life.

So, my plan is:

  • Track my food
  • Follow the Level 1 nutritional challenge from Girls Gone Strong (more on this later)
  • Keep on track with my running/training for my goal race
  • Remain injury free (maintain mobility, especially)
  • Do some yoga (good for mobility AND stress relief)
  • Manage my stress
  • Get plenty of sleep

If I can follow all of these principles 90% of the time, I should be in good shape by spring (pun intended).

Grateful

wonderful :)

The holidays can be a magical time of year.  For me, however, they can be so bittersweet.  This year, I am remembering two close family members who have passed one recently (my grandfather passed just before Christmas last year, and my aunt passed in October). In addition, I have (mostly) unexplained infertility.  The stress of my infertility doesn’t affect me in an overt way – except around the holidays.  From January to November, I can embrace all the other (wonderful) aspects of my life and move toward my goals.  In December, it sometimes seems like all I can feel is loss – I may never be woken by excited voices on Christmas morning, or have to come up with creative ways to hide that silly “elf-on-a-shelf.”  When I remember the magic I felt as a child, I find myself grieving that I cannot pass on that magic to children of my own.  Of course, I make the best of it – and every moment I can spend with my niece, Talia, eases the pain.

Before the holiday craziness yesterday, I took Wendy out for a short run.  It was quiet in my neighborhood, and the snow was gently falling.  My neighbors’ Christmas lights were all turned on, and I was able to be quiet with myself.  I tapped into the magic that is Christmas, and my burdens were lighter.  This wasn’t any sort of epic training run, but it gave me time to reflect before the day became crazy.  I am so lucky for my family and friends, and for all the love in my life.  I am also lucky for a few stolen moments, when I can run with my dog and remember the little things that make me happy, while letting go of the little things that drag me down.