Always Be Prepared: I'm Not A Great Boy Scout Yet, But I'm Workin 'On It!

You've been there – I know you have! You get a call and someone needs to meet with you immediately. Of course we always have to meet around food. What is with that? Anyways, I rushed around and got ready to go. I was going to grab one of my Boost shakes to drink while my friend ate her breakfast. I opened the fridge and … we were out of Boost! Oh great, what now?

When I think about Panera, the only image that pops into my brain is the sinfully decadent offers that smack you in the face as you walk in the door (that's done on purpose, you know). They taunt you until you nearly go mad. I thought about stopping at Dillons to pick up a pack of Boost, but there was just no time. I had to be brave and face the pastries head-on!

A long time ago I determined to make myself focus not on the food, but on the people I was with. Focus on the conversation instead of the taste of the food. Enjoy the laughter and the emotional lift from meeting with people to discuss future possibilities and opportunities. That's where true happiness lies, not in a pastry that is full of empty promises – and empty calories!

Usually I have time to do some pre-planning . I look up the nutritional information online and decide ahead of time what I will order. The drink is a no-brainer because herbal tea is the obvious choice, and nobody has better herbal teas than Panera. The food … now that would be a little more tricky. I stand in line frantically scanning the menu board for some sign of "healthy" food. A neon sign flashing "I'm Healthy" would have been more than helpful at that point.

I chose the Spinach and Artichoke Souffle '. I thought at least the two vegetables mentioned were healthy but did not know about the rest of it. It tasted very good but again, it's not about the taste of the food in this battle, is it?

The meeting went well (thank you for asking). When I got home, of course the first thing I did run away to the computer to see how much damage I had done.

The Panera Spinach & Artichoke Souffle '

480 calories

270 calories from fat

16 g. saturated fat

30 g. total fat

0 g. trans fat (thank heaven for that!)

115 mg. cholesterol (ouch!)

810 mg. sodium (double-ouch !!)

35 g. carbohydrates (triple-ouch !!!)

2 g. fiber (why bother listing it?

8 g. sugar (Boost has 6g. so this is not that bad.)

18 g. protein

If I had been afforded the time to research the Panera website before I left my house, perhaps I could have chosen more wisely. On days we can not be prepared, we just have to do the best we can and hope for the best. I certainly think I could have chosen something worse, but I do not think I did my ABC's any favors this morning. A is for A1C, B is for blood pressure (see the sodium in that puppy?), And C is for Cholesterol (and it was not that great either). The carbohydrates are the equivalent of what I normally eat in an entire day! So, suffice to say I'm not eating any more carbs today!

Life happens and we're not always as prepared as we'd like to be. This morning has given me a great idea. I'm going to print off all the nutritional information for Panera and our other favorite restaurants. I'm going to make a quick-reference notebook that I can refer to so I will not be taken off-guard again. Where there's a will, there's a way, right?

Have a great day! I'm going to get started on that notebook.